Friday, March 14, 2014


The Spinning wheel I brought home last Friday has had a few upgrades.  I had found that it was missing a secondary support for one of the wheel uprights.   Since I don't have woodworking skills, I went to the local hardware store and looked around until I found something that I thought might work.  I found a turnbuckle that was just about the perfect width.  I brought it home and marked it for length, then took it back the next day to see if there was someone who could cut it for me.  (There was!)  I brought it home, took the wheel off and turned the base on it's nose, to let gravity give me a hand, and I screwed it in place, I won't apply the second screw until I am sure it is in the right place.

What this little support does is realign the direction of the wheel to match up with the pulley on the flyer assembly.  Otherwise, it is lined up about 2 inches off to the side, and throws the drive band at the slightest turn of the wheel.

Next, I noticed that the front leg is a couple of inches too short.  I looked at the leg and realized that the toe of the "foot" that is present on the other legs was missing.  Who knows if it was sawn off or just worn off.  Anyway, I went to my tool box and found a foot protector to give it a little boost, plus protect the foot from further damage.  Ideally I would like to find a leg to replace this one,  (I have my sources!)  But for now this will do.

The main drivewheel supports did not have anything but wood for the axle to sit on, so I cut a couple of pieces of leather to fill that need,  I oiled them really good, and they seem to be doing the job.

The flyer repair is going to be a different story however.  I have smoothed the mandrel, that the bobbin rides upon, until there is no corrosion, and still, the bobbin will not turn as easily as it should.  There is also a small crack in the flyer that will have to be addressed before I can do any spinning on this wheel. I already have a bobbin in for repairs with my Canadian wheel guy, (for the other wheel), so once that is finished, I will be sending this flyer up to him to work his magic.

Now to the weaving studio, that's right, the weaving studio.  A couple of weeks/months ago, I posted about changing the sett of my baby blankets from 12 epi, to 12/11/11 epi.  It was one of the first things I did when I got back from my overseas trip.  I still had a really hard time getting into the studio to do anything that resembled "work".  Plus, let's face it, I have been doing the same blankets for ages!  I still have a lot of warp on the loom, (cause that is what I do), so I began to look thru my books to see if there was another pattern that I wanted to use.  I love overshot, but weaving with 2 shuttles is time consuming, and fiddley, at best.  I looked at the many one shuttle weaves, and I was not inspired.  I looked at some other overshot patterns, and was equally uninspired, plus there was the 2 shuttle thing as well.  

Same old blanket!

I noticed that in one of the books I was using they used small parts of the overshot design to decorate a towel, and the lightbulb went on!  I was already on my way out the door to go to the center on Tuesday, So I grabbed my colored pencils and paper, and I went to a local coffee shop, for breakfast.  I drew lots of squares on the page, and I began to color.  I was there for 30 minutes or so, but I ended up with a page full of colorful blankets that I could weave.

I could barely wait to get home, Dear One was out of town, so I had the place and my time to myself.  I had an order for 2 blankets already started, and the first blanket was almost done.  I emailed the customer, and asked her if I could play with the second blanket.  She responded "absolutely, let the creative juices flow!"

I lit into that first blanket and finished it in record time.  As I advanced the warp for the second blanket I took a deep breath, and I started.  I had worked out the design on paper, and now that I knew how long the blanket should be, I divided up my design by inches.  I wanted it to look planned, but totally different than anything I had done before.

This is where I started.  I did small bands of color in plain weave, then I did 1 1/2 repeats of the threaded pattern, "Cat Tracks and Snail Trails" in a natural background.  Then I continued on in plain weave, mirroring the small bands of color.  (You can see my warp spacing in the plain weave sections, but I think it adds to the design.)  I continued on to the other end, where I did 5 repeats of the Snail Trail in the natural background, repeating the same bands of color on that end as well.

The fabric was much looser than what I had always had straight off the loom, but I had expected that.  With the new warp spacing and the switch to plain weave for most of the blanket, was going to give me the lighter weight blanket I was hoping for.

I washed this blanket first, cause I couldn't stand the suspense!  In fact I forgot totally to measure it before I washed it!  It came out of the washer in wonderful condition!  I spread it out over the back of the couch to dry.  The shrinkage was exactly what I had hoped for!
Whew, I won't have to do another one right away to replace it for this order.  I think the customer is really going to like it!  I took it over to show my daughter and she loved it, commenting on how gender neutral it was.  Yay!  That is exactly what the customer asked for!

So there you have it!  I have a template for a whole new set of blankets.  I can change the colors to suit a client, or to just play with to boost my inventory of baby gifts!

I do hope that your week has been as good as mine has been.  With the upgrade in wheels and weaving projects, there is a new energy about the place!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina


LA said...

I think you have hit on a solution to your baby blanket challenge: just have fun with that warp! That worked out nicely!

Bonnie said...

Very nice, Tina.