Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friends now ...

Lucky find on eBay - an Ashford Traditional Spinning wheel for $25 !
It had been used for display - numerous thumbtack holes around the inside drive band run, but since the drive band is now on top in the run, nobody has noticed those yet :-) I replaced the leather on the conrod and the new one still creaks a little, (like a gentleman's shoes :), but that will wear off with use.
I sold the old one speed flyer for $25 and ordered a new standard flyer with ratios for $45.(from Petlins)

I got a lovely surprise!
Several months ago, I tried out the sliding hook flyer on the Ashford Traveller. I didn't like it for silk spinning  as the textured silk - like spinning from cocoons, would get hung up in the wire clip and there was not enough space with the Traveller set up, to get the drive band past the maiden bar on the smallest ratio without having the flyer at a weird angle just to allow the drive band to move freely..I sold the sliding hook flyer again opting for a standard flyer. It came with 3 ratios, whereas the sliding hook flyer had 4 ratios.
 I wrote to Ashford and asked if the standard flyer could not also have the 4 ratios ...

Can you see it? The new standard flyer has 4 ratios! Wow! it is nice when suggestions are actually taken up!
The 4th ratio (the smallest one) is of real help when spinning silk. Silk needs lots of twist, a small ratio means not having to treadle "hell for leather" (which I wouldn't mind while riding a bicycle, but with the spinning wheel it is not really fun!).  So - here is a happy spinner!!! - and of course on the Traditional there is no problem with the drive band since it goes nowhere near the maiden bar.

I spun some left over bits of silk,

and a larger skein of brown variegated silk.

I also prepared some wool for washing -
I tend to wash wool in staples, sandwiched
into the old "onion bag" tubes. I put all the
"not so interesting"and "pulled-apart" bits
into a separate bag and found to my surprise
that it was quite alright for spinning in the grease.
 I haven't spun in the grease for years, these are rather old fleeces and contrary to people usually advising that one can only spin fresh fleeces in the grease, I really enjoyed it!
 It also reminded me that wool doesn't like drying in cold winter wind, even though the sun is shining :-) - which is why the wool got uneven as it very slightly tried to felt.

Another mini tapestry is off the loom
still has to be sewn up and mounted.
All woven with hand spun silk (except for the gold)
and weaving more runners with the rest of the Sari silk, this time on a (happy) yellow warp.
Just started runner 3 by now. More pics of those, next time.

I did not have much chance to weave in my studio. We either had such windy weather that I rather not be there, or it was soooo cold, that even my thick jumper did not help and I gave up. I can not weave tapestry with fingerless mittens :-(
Waiting for a little warmer weather (rather not catch another cold) - the Snowbells have been flowering and the Bluebells are sprouting, even my "Bird of paradise" is flowering, the Rosemary is flowering, as is the Lavender .. some of the succulents have had lovely flowers too - surely spring is coming soon?

I will know when the wind is warmer and spreads the finished almond blossom petals all over the garden and into my studio - A lovely way to start working in my studio again :-)

 And here:  Friends now!  Yeva (my RSB guide dog 2 1/2 yrs old) and Niddy (14 yrs old) enjoying the sunshine together!

Yeva had no experience with cats. She has learned that cats are "spoil sports", they don't play like dogs, - especially an experienced cat like Niddy, and maybe Yeva is getting more mature instead of "over-sized puppy dog"
But now they are friends ♥  :-)

Wishing you all happiness with your creative work!


Mary said...

Hi Vera,
Good to hear you are busy. Very busy! I felt like I was reading about the cricket with all the 'maiden' terminology! Your blog was a really good example for a reading lesson - that you have to know the context, and, in this case, the terminology, for it to be meaningful. I can read the words but I am not sure what they all mean.
You have - almost - made me interested in spinning. Almost. I don't think I have the mental space, or time, to be learning yet another textile skill.
The sunny weaving is looking good - you almost convince me to try weaving too. But I think I'll leave it to the dedicated.

Vera L Hazelgrove said...

Hi Mary,
Sorry you found my blog hard to understand. I do not attempt to write this blog to instruct, but simply to share what I am doing with other like minded people. Maidens in spinning are the two uprights which hold the spinning mechanism (flyer) between them.
Many other tapestry weavers spin their own yarns for weaving and like everybody else, get exited when things work out well :-) Please feel free to ask if you want to know something.
I wish you a nice week and that your projects go well!