Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sometimes It's Good to be a Woodworker

When I got to borrow the Sleeping Beauty wheel, it had been used for a long time by several different owners. The wheel itself is at least as old as I am, perhaps more--this model was made only during the early 1970s before it was redesigned. I got it with two bobbins, and there were some worn parts. So I decided to spruce it up a bit (with the permission of the owner, of course!).

First, the brake on the maiden was simply worn out. I just needed to cut a new piece that was 1/16" larger than the old one.

A more complicated fix was the broken bobbin. While not completely necessary for normal spinning, the section that had broken off the whorl rendered the bobbin too short to fill completely. I sanded the broken edge smooth, cut a new piece from a thin scrap of wood (poplar, I think) and glued it on, then sanded it all smooth. This removed some of the old finish, sadly, but it's worth it to have a better working bobbin. Apparently, this also cured an issue with balance, as it seems to spin better now than it did. I also filed out the bushings (the interior liners for the openings) a bit, as the wood had compressed them over time. It's still noisier than the other original bobbin, but MUCH better than it was.

And yes, that's the beginning of my work on the Sock Hop yarn. :D Colorway: Great Balls of Fire! :D

Last, and most complicated, was the reproduction of a new bobbin. Bobbins (and frankly, any parts) for this particular wheel are extremely rare and hard to come by. My dad and I got out the lathe and designed a replacement whorl and head out of Spanish cedar. The shaft is just a normal 3/4" dowel, drilled through. It's pictured here before I polished it with steel wool, to get rid of any tiny roughness raised by the tung oil used to finish it. For reference, the bobbin with blue singles on it is the old one, while the empty one is the new one. :)

The hardest part was reproducing the drive whorl--it had to be at least ALMOST exact if not perfect, so this bobbin would turn at the same rate the other bobbins do.

After giving it a whirl (hurr hurr), it looks like the bobbin is just right! The brake works beautifully on the maiden, and the broken bobbin doesn't act up as much as it did. All in all, not a bad day in the shop. :)

Back to spinning!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


See this?

Yeah, this?

Look a little closer...

That got me a job.

Spinning this.

...I am a very, very happy little bird right now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Periodic Updates

1. New Online Portfolio Here. Nothing you guys haven't seen before, but I love the interface and how nice the images look on the page.

2. Nearly done with my current knitting commission; I encountered a snag when I had to change the size from adult to child on part of it, but now it's smooth sailing. I am aiming for the end of the week to be finished.

3. Received a box of Wensleydale locks in a yellow orange and a pink orange, as well as some more Zwartble roving and a darling wrist-style yarn holder--for the yarny types, it's like a distaff for spinning but you can use it to hold a ball of yarn to help facilitate knitting while walking. :D

4. Getting rid of the van. Husband got a raise, a bonus, and a nice tax return--and so we got a new (for us) car. Hey, look, we have two cars that are decently reliable!

5. Reinventing myself as a spinner & textile artist. Will it work? Stay tuned.

6. Teaching two classes through Adult Ed: Basic Knitting (on Monday nights) and Basic Crochet (on Wednesday nights). Both are fun, though hard work, and totally worth it. Thursday nights are now taken up with SnB at Starbucks. I taught my husband and a male friend to knit. :D

7. At this rate, I will never have to buy coffee at Starbucks EVER AGAIN. :D

8. I got the spinning job. :D I will be spinning sock yarn for Crown Mountain Farm's Sock Hop line. :D Can not wait. :D

9. Experimenting with Limonata-can crochet. This should be amusing.

10. Godzilla movies rule. I just watched three of them with my husband, and we are so hooked. Again.

No pics this time around, sorry. :) 'Night!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Small Yarns

Working through my stash some more--today I've got just a few small skeins to show off. Some of these were spun a couple of weeks ago but the weather hasn't cooperated to give me good light lately. It's a bit on the bright side today, but still MUCH better for photos than dull grey!

First, here's the purple contrast for the Tiger Lily yarn, also displayed against the striped skein to show how they'll look together. It's the same blend of colors only MORE blended, with an emphasis on the purple.

And this is a little collage of three different sock yarns. Yardage is noted on the collage.

I may be posting more later--I am spinning up some mystery fiber in a beautiful range of light blues and greens, among other things. :D

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spinner-friendly SnB in Connecticut!

Come one, come all--now, every Thursday night from 7-10, drop in at the Starbucks on Rt 75 in Windsor Locks, CT for a brand new Stitch N Bitch group! Our little twist (see what I did there?) is that we invite spinners, too--so bring your spindles and come hang out! Turns out the manager is a she's happy to have us yarny types around!

You don't need to be a Connecticut resident, either--since the Starbucks is located RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from Bradley International Airport, feel free to drop in if you're passing through our fine state!

There's a yahoo group set up just for the SnB; go here:

...and sign up. :)

x-posted to some other fibery communities and my personal LJ.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I'm always pleasantly surprised by how different the final product looks after spinning. On the right, you see the fiber before spinning, and on the left, 200+yards of perle-cotton-thin yarn. I haven't done the actual WPI yet, but it's pretty fine. :) I love silk. :D

I kept out the rest of the fiber because I have thoughts of plying it with something else. Not positive yet, but there's also no rush on it.

There are a couple of other yarns to show off, too, but it's been SO GREY and dreary outside whenever I've been home with the camera, so I don't have any good pics yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sale on Yarn! Buy Stuff! And a funny story.

First off, check out the March Sale at my Etsy shop! All GREEN items are 10% off until the 31st. This includes my Mardi Gras yarns, the Iris Garden yarns, and the Dragonfly scarf. I have some other green things coming soon; mostly yarn, but we'll see if I can get my butt in gear to post some other fun things too! Also, I have a signed print of the Mermaid from last year's Merchant Road series up for auction on Ebay. Please consider placing a bid, or spread the word! :D

OK so, funny story.

I signed up to teach 3 classes in my town's Adult Ed program: Basic Knitting, Intermediate Knitting, and Basic Sewing. The second two were cancelled due to not enough people signing up, which was too bad, but I'm ok with it. The first one started last night and was GREAT, but that's not what this story is about.

So I'm home tonight, plying some pretty pink self-striping yarn when I get a phone call from the secretary of Adult Ed. What follows is pretty much word-for-word.

Her: Jenny, do you crochet?

Me: ...uh, yes? A little?

Her: Would you like to teach a course?

Me: ...I, uh, well, I don't know, I, er...

Her: It's just Basic Crochet. *cheerfully* I'm sure you could do it.

Me: ...Jule, I don't know...I crochet, but not a lot...I've never taught it before...

Her: *reading the pamphlet* Oh, it says "Fun with Granny Squares"! See, that's really easy.

Me: I've never done a granny square in my life!

Her: It's only for six weeks. It starts tomorrow night.

Me: O_O (I'm sure she could hear it, too)

Her: See, the problem is that our usual teacher thought the class was going to be cancelled, but at the last minute we got eight students. But the teacher went to visit her family in Norway, so she's not here...

NOTE: I would like to mention that I am not making this up at all. This is pretty much how it went down.

Her: *continuing* ...and I know your Wednesday classes were cancelled, so you could teach this one instead...

Me: ...ok. But...this is not enough time. I need to learn how to make granny squares and work out a curriculum before the class, and I can't with less than 24 hours' notice. Can we start next week instead? Since it's only six weeks anyway?

Her: *thrilled* Of course! I'll call the students. See you next Wednesday!

*end call*

*cue Jenny freaking out, with husband LOLing at her*

So yeah, now I have a Basic Crochet class to teach. I have never taught crochet to anyone, nor have I ever actually crocheted a granny square. Ever. I need to learn how, preferably right-handed. I'm a lefty. *facepalm* And then, slightly less pressing, I need to come up with 'fun projects' that use granny squares. Please don't tell me--I know I'm screwed.

Actually, I'm not, but MAN I am feeling like I am at the moment. I'm gonna get some sleep, then tomorrow I'll grab my crochet hooks and see what I can do. I at least have a week, thank the gods.

And remember--this is on top of my knitting commission, my artwork, and my spinning. Oh, and babysitting. *diez*

So, anyone got any good sources for ambidextrous crocheting of granny squares? :D