Over the weekend, I began spinning a part of my Tailfeathers subscription from last year from Unplanned Peacock. It was a generous 100 grams (actually more like 125 grams) of pure silk top. The gorgeous colorway was called Sequoia, greens, a little yellow, some white. I took my time spinning it, I wanted a thin, even, well balanced yarn.
I started by dividing the top in half, hoping to get fairly equal bobbins of singles to ply.
Once it was all spun, I was concerned that it wasn’t going to ply onto only one bobbin, but I spent the afternoon plying. It was a soft as butter as it spun, a delight to handle.
It was a full bobbin, very full and this is a truer representation of the color. It is very even, fingering to baby weight and so soft.
I ended up with 335 yards of delightful yarn. It doesn’t have a plan, maybe it will go in the shop, maybe knit into a small shawl or cowl. This was the second time I have spun silk, the first time was totally on one of my drop spindles. Another lovely skein of yarn.
Each day in the fiber arts brings new challenges. Some of these challenges I can tackle on my own. Some I can toss out to local friends and be rewarded with answers. Sometimes, the challenge requires me to cast the net farther out into the world for advice and solutions.
My knitting guru moved back to Ohio, but she taught many of us in this area tricks we didn’t know and introduced me to many others in this area that are in the know. My knitting needs are always met, if I can’t work it out on my own.
The spinning group members are all far better spinners than I and I am never wanting for help in that area either. They each have their own styles and their own equipment preferences. This group is further expanded through the 3 retreats that I attend each year. It was one of those retreats that I learned to card fiber, thus allowing me to start blending my own colors and fibers. One of the members of this group is also a spinning wheel dealer and can get the equipment for us, or help us with minor repairs.
One of the challenges that I have had to cast out into the world is help with the antique Amable Paradis spinning wheel that I purchased just before Christmas. As I have mentioned in prior posts, it arrived Christmas eve and eldest son was here. He and I tackled trying to put it back together based on the photo that was on Ebay as it came shipped in pieces. We figured it out, but there were some problems. The legs were loose, solved by using the waxed hemp and the video from Bobbin Boy. The chips in the whorl and bobbin that would affect it’s ability to spin. That is also being handled by Bobbin Boy and a second bobbin being made so I will be able to spin two bobbins and then ply them on my Louet. Once the wheel was put together and stable, I realized that the footman, the peddle assembly that makes the wheel turn, hit the ground and prevented the wheel from continuing to turn. This assembly is in two pieces, the horizontal part that the foot treadles on that pivots on two metal pins inserted into the front two legs, and the vertical rod that attached to the treadle by leather and to the wheel on a forged metal piece with a pin.
The leather that held the vertical rod to the treadle was huge loose loop. The leather was pretty dried out, but with some effort, I was able to work the knot free breaking off one end that was very dry and retying it as tightly as the two pieces of wood could be together. This improved, but did not cure the problem. It looked to me, that I needed about an inch or inch and a half more clearance for the mechanism to work properly. I toyed with various ideas on how to raise the legs of the wheel that much without doing any damage or permanent change to the wheel and finally today, tossed the problem out to two forums on Ravelry, an international online social network of other fiber lovers. I quickly got several responses to just cut off as much of the bottom of the rod as needed, redrill the hole, retie the leather and voila, it worked. But . . . Isn’t there always a but? This lead to me realize another problem with this wheel, but one that I felt that I could manage a solution for myself. When I treadled and the wheel turned as it was supposed to, the top of the rod would fall off of the pin in the forged metal part.
This piece had a warp in it that causes the pin on which the rod rides to point slightly upward at the top and slightly downward at the bottom of its rotation. Being forged, it isn’t going to bend, so a solution was needed to keep the rod in place. The rod has a piece of leather tacked to the back side that may have taken care of this problem at some point, but the wear has caused the hole in the leather to become too large to hold on to the pin. I have a thick leather belt that was a bit too long for me, so I cut the end off, drilled a hole a bit smaller than the pin and forced it on as a leather washer. Problem solved for now.
Next up, the wheel is going to get a good cleaning and some lubrication and await the return of the parts from Bobbin Boy. Each challenge gets me closer to thinking that I made a good purchase to use for spinning at the 17th century home or just for my own use here when I want something different. I still need to get a handle on tying on the double drive belt and learning to spin with a double drive wheel. Always something new to learn.
Farm life, knitting and spinning, cooking and family