Friday, August 29, 2014

"Home Dyeing with Natural Dyes" 1935

Here's an interesting pamphlet from the 30's. There's lots of stuff about plants and mordants and etc. It is a good resource even now. Just click on the link below:

It's a dog's life...........

And even more yarn...


Mohair single. Ombre dyed

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Flick Carding Mat

I got a hold of some nice leather. It's white with a gray suede background. I'm offering it in my Etsy Shop. It sure does make flicking locks a lot more fun!

Gardner Street

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Super Coil Handspun

I love spinning this kind of yarn. It is time consuming but is enough of a challenge to keep my interest.

super coiled handspun yarn

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Am I Alone?

Cadorette CPW treadle
Just kidding. I know that I'm not alone but, at least in my circle, I'm the only one that prefers a single treadle spinning wheel. Someone even asked me why I had "downgraded" to a single treadle! I learned to spin on an Ashford Kiwi, a castle style double treadle.  My dream wheel from the beginning was a Schacht Reeves 30 inch wheel.  After spinning on the Kiwi for a couple of years, I bought an Aura(another double treadle and perfect for spinning bulky yarns)  because most of the yarn that sold in my Etsy shop was art yarn, I finally decided that I needed to take the plunge with a single treadle Saxony because I couldn't stop thinking about owning one. I imagined that a single treadle would be way more comfortable for me. 

I bought a Country Craftsman wheel and fell in love. I was able sit more comfortably and spin for much longer. Long draw spinning became so much easier.  I kept the CC for about a year and finally ordered the SR with a single treadle. The Schacht- Reeves is magical; I had an emotional attachment to it immediately (I know, I is a thing). Now I have a lovely Cadorette CPW too.  It has all worked out well;I use the Aura, the SR and the CPW most days and like/use each for different reasons. 

In summary, if you like the idea of a single treadle, seek one out and try it. You may find, as I did that a single treadle is your preferred method of spinning. If you do, there's a'll spend a lot less money!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More Yarns

Merino plied with silver thread
Mohair Locks
Another plied Merino

Joining a Driveband

Don't be afraid to make your own drive bands and belts for your fiber equipment. Drum carders and many spinning wheels use a poly cord. These stretch over time and can become brittle from exposure to light and airborne pollutants. (When not in use, it's a good idea to store these bands in zip bags and in somewhere dark.) These bands can pretty expensive so buying a length of cord and joining it yourself can save you money.

How to? It's easy. First, get a accurate measure of the drive band you need to replace. Then, cut the band to the desired length. I don't leave extra because these bands do stretch.

Next, hold the two cut ends side by side and heat with a candle or a lighter until you get a good bead of melted material on each end.

Now, press the two ends together. I rest the ends on the kitchen counter so that I can be sure that they ends meet evenly. Hold tight for about one minute. If the join is uneven, pull it apart and try again. Let the join cure for at least an hour or two.

Finally, trim around the join with some nail scissors and all done. And, if you do a little creative searching, you can find various kinds of belting material for very little money.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fresh Tomato Sauce

It's that wonderful time of year here in New England. FRESH TOMATOES...everywhere. Here's a super quick, super easy sauce recipe. It is great over pasta, as bruschetta, on rice, as a salad and etc.:

About 6 large, ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
salt/ pepper.

10 or so torn fresh basil leaves (add right before serving)
1 cup diced (small) cubed or shredded mozzarella (add when preparing)
Romano or Parmesan cheese

Mince the garlic and add it along with the salt, pepper and oil to a large bowl. Rough chop the tomatoes and add them (seed if you wish). Stir well and cover. Leave at room temperature for at least two hours and up to about four hours, stirring occasionally. Serve as desired.

The Dental Pick...a drum carder's best friend.

I adore processing my own wool. I meet the most wonderful shepherds; I get to hand select a fleece. Washing a fleece is a joy to me; I love seeing dingy, dirty wool change into glowing white wool. I love the smell....yep, I love it all.

Preparing the cleaned fleece can be a time consuming process. I have hand cards and wool combs and adore using them but most of the time I rely on my drum carder. Getting the wool ready for the carder is super hard on my hands because they have arthritis and protest loudly to pulling and picking apart fiber by hand. I have wool picker and it is a huge help. Even though I'm really careful, I still find neps and noils in my fiber. 

(Neps are the little bumps that form around second cuts and the like. Noils are little coils that happen when fiber is stretched and bounces back. You can tell the difference by examining one. If you can pull it apart into staple length fiber, it is a noil and if it comes apart into bits, it is a nep, generally speaking. These can be saved and used in spinning either an art yarn or a tweed yarn. Also, as you spin, they kind of rise to the surface of the yarn and can be plucked off.)

I'm spinning a lavender Jacob's fleece for a sweater and so I'd prefer a smoother yarn. As you can see on the carder drum...a little nep is lurking. Enter the dental pick. It is really easy to just grab the offending mass and remove it. I stop the carder after every couple of additions of fiber and remove what I can. The pick works equally as well at removing any leftover VM. And even is a huge help in removing fiber that escapes and wraps itself around the carder's axles. A pick came with my drum carder (Fancy Kitty) but it grew feet; I got this one for a very few dollars from Amazon.