Friday, June 16, 2017

Double Flyer Wheel and Hungarian flax wheel

I posted a little bit about the Double Flyer wheel on the Tuesday Weavers blog a couple of weeks ago, because I had just picked it up at the post office while I was on my way to weaving.



I unpacked the wheel as soon as I got to the Center, and I began to put it together.  I do not know anything about the history of this particular wheel, and I hope to find out if it is an antique or if it is vintage, when my wheel repair guru "Bobbin Boy" takes a look at it next week.





















This wheel needs a tune up, I do not believe it has ever been used, so along with getting the rest of the distaff made it needs a good going over to get into spinning shape.

This wheel and the Irish Flax wheel will be going next Friday and I will probably be taking the third "new" wheel that recently made it to the Studio.




The next wheel, is an itty bitty Hungarian Flax wheel, and I mean itty bitty!

The hub on this wheel is well below knee level, and while I have not measured the wheel, it can't be more than 10 inches!



A tiny painted wheel that has seen lots of use!



A distaff full of really old flax!








Small worm holes, long inactive.   The flyer has hooks on one arm and holes for a moveable spring or peg, on the other arm.




This wheel will be making the trip to the wheel doctor as well, so that I can get a peg put in the distaff so that it doesn't swivel/topple while it is in use.  It is a willing spinning wheel and I am a willing spinner, a good match!

That is it for now, until next time, Happy Spinning, Tina

Friday, June 9, 2017

Irish Castle Wheel




Thanks to the wonderful researchers that are in the "Antique Spinning Wheels" group on Ravelry, I recently came across an Irish Castle wheel in Colorado, on Craigslist.  This wheel was very reasonably priced because it needs some TLC.

 The interesting thing about these wheels is the position of the flyer in relationship to the wheel.  Normally you would find the flyer to the left of the drive wheel on "Saxony" wheels or above the drive wheel on "Upright" wheels.  On an "Irish Castle wheel"  The flyer is actually below the drive wheel, the flyer for this wheel is in the box on the floor for safe keeping.

I didn't even know I wanted one (not on my bucket list of wheels) until I saw this poor thing in the Craigslist listing.








Like I said it needs some TLC.  The drive wheel is loose and coming apart a little bit in a couple of places, the lower horizontal supports have broken and need to be drilled out and  reattached.  If I want an onboard distaff, I will have to have one made.




The flyer itself is in really good condition, but the bobbin and the whorl have seen better days.  Amazingly enough, my daughter found 2 antique bobbins in a local thrift store last week, and I bought them thinking that they might fit one of the antique wheels that I have recently picked up, and while they are not exactly the same, they may work on this wheel or another new wheel that I will write about next.










I love how the treadle hugs the back leg, oh yes there is no footman to attach it to the drive wheel, I need to have one of those made as well.

It is going to be a couple of weeks before I can take this wheel to the Wheelwright for repairs, but I can't wait to see her back in working order.
I hope to be able to get an idea about this wheels age and origin.  Irish castle wheels were originally made in Ireland from 1760 until the mid 1800's, but they were also made here in the states.  Inquiring minds want to know!

These wheels will spin anything you want to spin, but they were traditionally used to spin flax into linen thread, and that is what I plan to do, for weaving on the floor loom.

I will post again soon about that other new wheel, (there is a third, but that will be a whole other post)


Until next time, happy Spinning, Tina










Friday, January 27, 2017

Silk Brick

I recently ordered Silk Bombyx brick so that I could learn how to spin it this year.  Last year I learned how to spin cotton, and I think what I learned last year has really helped me as I make my first attempts at silk.  You wouldn't think so, silk has really long fibers and cotton has really short fibers, but the trick is they both need a ton of twist.  Since silk is slippery, it drafts apart very easily until enough twist gets in there to hold it together.

Here is one brick in a glass vase my Son in law made me a few years ago.  It is as soft as it seems to be, even more really, and can you see the shine!
First faltering steps, I had to make some adjustments to my antique wheel to improve the uptake cause this silk likes to be spun over the fold, and you need a little extra umph when you want the thread to wind onto the bobbin.

This is as far as I have gotten on it this week, there have been a lot of catching up on unfinished projects going on here in the studio, and I have a few more yet to do.

My hope is to be able to spin fine enough 2 ply to weave with on my floor looms and also on the band looms as well.  I have started a silk project today with commercial silk thread and yarn, I posted about that over on the Tuesday Weavers blog, "Loomy Tunes".

I love learning new things, and expanding my horizons in the crafts that I already know. I am trying to figure out a way to be able to give all my favorite crafts the time they deserve.  If I come up with a good plan, I will let you know!

Until next time,  Happy Spinning and
Weaving, Tina

Friday, January 13, 2017

New to Me

Monday thru Wednesday this week was CRAZY!  LouAnn and I finally got to do the road trips we had scheduled for last week.  Monday we drove to Crossville, TN to meet a buyer for one of my wheels that I had decided needed a new home where it will be used more
Tuesday,  I drove to Elizabethton, TN to pick up a Great Wheel that has the accelerator head on it. (more on that later) I will be using it to spin cotton and probably silk.


Then on Wednesday, LouAnn and I made a trip to R&M yarns in Georgetown, TN.  They had a set of sectional rakes that I wanted to put on one of my looms.  We did the usual look at the yarns available and I might have purchased a some of that as well.  I will have to wait to put the rakes on the loom, until I finish the warp that is currently on the back beam, it is really going to make warping this loom easier.



The thing that made this Great Wheel so desirable was the accelerator head that increases the twist insertion per rotation of the drive wheel.  For example, on the wheel  that I got from LouAnn, that does not have the "speed it up" head, it would take up to 7 or 8 rotations of the drive wheel to make cotton yarn strong enough to wind onto the spindle.  With the new wheel, I can do a complete length in 4 rotations max, that is really good news!


Just a bit of cotton on the new wheel.




I promised LouAnn that I would still be using the Great Wheel I got from her to spin wool, an today I did a bunch of it!







In fact I did 2 whole spindles full, and I found a cone in the box of this same shetland wool that I had spun ages ago, so that once I spin up one more spindle full, I will have enough done to ply a good sized skein of soft yarn to use in some of my upcoming weaving projects.

You can never have too much yarn!

Until next time, keep on Crafting, Tina

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow Day

I had big plans for today, LouAnn and I were going on a big "wheeling and dealing" road adventure, but  the weather forecast got in our way, we postponed the road trip, and as I look out the studio window, I am glad we did.  There are a couple of inches of the white stuff on the ground and the road looks quite slushy.  ( I would have been disappointed if we had called the trip off for nothing!)   Somehow unexpected time makes for a great studio day! 

This week, I have done many things that have been on my list for organizing for awhile.  I found a place for my Bosworth spindle collection,

I managed to get a fleece washed that had been hanging around since spring. (There are a couple more in bags and ready to wash. ) I also was able to sort through some of my fiber stash and pass on to others what did not make me smile.

 I have sold a spinning wheel that was not being used and I am in the process of buying a different kind of wheel that I think will be quite useful. (that postponed road trip!)

I have sold a rug loom  that needed more restoring than I am willing to do, (why do I do that to myself?)  and I am looking for a "ready to weave" rug loom. (I may have located it!)

Each year I try to learn something new.  Last year it was cotton spinning, this year it is going to be silk spinning.  With that in mind I  have found all the silk I had on hand, most of it was blended with wool, or even some silk mawata (hankies) and I have ordered a couple of different presentations of silk, some tussah roving which is a lovely honey colored silk, and I bought some hand dyed bombyx brick from a shop on Etsy.  There was another listing on Etsy that caught my eye several times but because of the price tag I hesitated to splurg.  Last month I had a birthday, and for that special day my son got me an Etsy gift card and my first thought was that listing that had caught my eye!

Yup, I did it, I ordered that kilo of bombyx brick straight from China.  As I eagerly tracked the package, it seemed like it was stuck on the dock in China for days, but I figured it hadn't been scanned when it left the dock.  Sure enough it showed up on my doorstep on Wednesday, and it is all I can do to not drop everything and dive right in!


 As promised there were 8 silk bricks in the package, more lovely than anything I have seen in the fiber world to date.

I have plenty to develop my silk spinning skills don't you think?


I have taken off just a tiny bit and spun it up on a supported spindle, but I am holding off on the rest until I finish up a few projects in the studio, because I know that once I get started on this silk, it is going to be difficult to stop!

This weeks weaving news will be posted on the Tuesday Weavers blog  "Loomy Tunes" that you can find on my blog list.

Happy snow day, Tina

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Looking Forwards Not Backwards

I was looking back over the last couple of posts, and I realize that I am  a distracted and disorganized crafter.  I have so many irons in the fire that the fires are all about to go out from neglect.  The rug loom that I saved from the elements is standing in the corner waiting, the Nigora fleeces are still unwashed, and there is many looms and spinning wheels that have been under utilized this year.   In my defense, this has not been a good crafting year, surgeries and family life have kept me from the Studio all year long.

I decided last week to mentally go through all the things that I like to do, to see if I can cull anything. Here is my list of crafts with the tools:
Spinning (5 spinning wheels + various spindles)
  Fiber prep (combs, carders, etc)
Knitting (Knitting needles galore)
Weaving (4 floor looms, 1 table top and 2 converted band loom)
and the new arrival,
Bobbin lace ( 2 lacemaking pillow, and lots of bobbins)

This list does not include the books, yarns and fleeces that go along with these crafts.  You may notice that I have not taken up Dye(ing), I just do not have the time or room to go into that sport. (Though I do have an indigo dye kit from Dharma that is awaiting next summers warm weather)  I can't bear to give any of it up just yet.

Just recently I have been able to get to some spinning, weaving and a bit of lace, but I am hoping to be able to do even better in 2017.  In the past I have found that a good Studio reorganization day or two does wonders for my creative energies, (a custom baby blanket order doesn't hurt either), I usually find things I had forgotten about,  yarns, old project ideas,  and new inspiration. So as my thoughts turn towards the new year,  I think that is what I will do, and  I may not wait until January!

Parting shot, new bobbin lace project, just getting ready:



Until next time, Keep on Crafting, Tina


Friday, August 5, 2016

Bert 2016

Bert is one of my Nigora boys, he is the only white one that I have, and he is also one of the first to shed out in the spring.  I finished getting fleeces of the goats months ago, but I am just now getting around to washing them.

Part of the hold up is that unlike wool, which you wash and then lay out to dry undisturbed, you have to fluff Nigora as it drys or you end up with a lump that stays that way.  Monday I decided that it was time to do at least one of the fleeces.  I picked the first one I came to, and that would be Bert.  It was a big fleece as Nigoras go, and I separated it out into 3 laundry mesh bags and set to work washing it, it isn't hard to do, I use my spin dryer between all the washes (2) and rinses (2) and it is quickly time to lay the fleece onto the drying rack.  About then I realized that I had washed way too much fleece for my time constraints!  What to do?





I ended up fluffing for several hours that day, leaving the bags in the last rinse water to stay wet.  I continued in this manner until over a period of 3 days, I was able to get all the fleece fluffed up to finish drying.

Then last afternoon evening, I went through the fleece again, making sure I had all or most of the vegetable matter out of it, then I put it all into a pillow case.  Would you believe the pillow case is only half full?

It really packs down into a seemingly small amount!  I am hoping to have enough fleece to send off to be de-haired this year, I have tried doing it by hand but even though it is easy, even pleasant to do, it takes a really long time!







I think I will wash a sheep fleece today!

Keep on Crafting. Tina