My husband and son gave me a Fancy Kitty fiber blending board for my birthday, and today was the first time I tried it out. I took every little greenish scrap of wool I could find in my stash and blended them. It's mostly merino and corriedale but also a bit of mohair. I like how it turned out! I will have to finish up the yarn I'm currently spinning so I can see how this spins up! A drum carder was really out of my budget range, and I think this board will be great for my blending purposes, and it's so portable too!
*Update* I finished the yarn -- here it is! 101 yards. I named it Green Giant because it's a big, bulky corespun. It's a bit overspun, but very soft. I know I should run the core yarn through in the opposite direction before corespinning in order to get a really balanced yarn, but I was WAY too impatient to see how the colors would turn out to do that!
I have had a fear of commercial sewing patterns for years. I have several patterns, but every time I pull them out with the idea of sewing something, I become overwhelmed by all the symbols, nitpicky details, etc., and put it back in the envelope. This dress is the first time I've really played by the rules with a pattern, following the instructions completely, rather than using a pattern as a rough jumping-off point for winging it. It's also the first big project I've made on my recently-acquired antique treadle sewing machine. I enjoyed using the treadle machine so much more than my electric one! On to the pics:
The first photo I took of it. I laughed when I realized the dress was camouflaged against the tree, like any good leopard would be:
And a photo of my dear treadle sewing machine, "Meg":
What a pretty wheel! Love it!! And I'm loving the cast iron wheel. Is that a leather drive belt? Is the wheel an antique?
I ask, because just a couple of weeks ago I bought a new treadle-driven sweetie. Not a spinning wheel, but a treadle sewing machine, and the cast iron wheel and leather drive belt are very similar to what's on my sewing machine! Whoever built your wheel must've been very familiar with treadle sewing machines and used their mechanism as a model -- and maybe the parts, too!
eta: (and forgive me for slightly hijacking your post, but seeing your wheel inspired me) I thought I'd throw in a photo of my sewing machine (cabinet currently closed) to show the treadle. The wheel is off to the right, so a different orientation than on your wheel. But gets me to thinking, those sewing machine treadle bases can often be found easily on Craigslist, etc., without the sewing machine head installed. People sometimes make those into tables, but I'll bet a very clever person could take a treadle sewing machine base and somehow make themselves a spinning wheel, if they looked at your wheel as an example. Those old treadle bases are often not expensive. I paid only $25 for my entire sewing machine. Also, if it's a leather belt and you ever need advice about replacing it, let me know. I had to replace the leather belt on my sewing machine. Wasn't too hard but helps to have someone talk you through it.
Mmmm...lovely photos! That alpaca looks amazing!! I love alpaca.
I have one yarn this week. "Sweet corn" , 180 yards, plied with sewing thread. All I could think while I was spinning it was, "niblets, niblets, niblets."
That yarn gave me so much trouble! It was the very last dregs of some mystery fiber from Sheep Shed. I dyed it with Wiltons. I don't know what happened, but it came out of the dye bath so felted! I couldn't spin it from rovings, even pre-drafted. So I made it into faux rolags and spun it woolen. It's very uneven, but very soft. There are bits and bobs of mohair in there. I must have left it for last to use b/c it was the least appealing bits of roving in the bag.
This week I have a yarn called "Summer Fun", 152 yards spun from a mixed batt from Sue's Luxury Fiber, plied with yellow sewing thread. There were so many different fun different textures in the batt. It really woke up my fingers as I was spinning it. I'm showing it pictured on my new squirrel cage yarn swift I found at a thrift store for $6.99. Nobody knew what it was! Of course, I thought it was a lazy kate and used it as such until a visit to the local weaver's guild taught me that it's actually a yarn swift.
I spin yarn, and as I was treadling my wheel last week, thinking about how relaxing treadling is, I realized I would probably like sewing on an antique treadle machine better than on my electric machine. I had never looked into treadle sewing machines before, but found there are plenty available on Craig's List.
Look at this beauty I got for only $25! A 1905 White Family Rotary sewing machine in the original cabinet, with tools, accessories, warranty, original manual, etc. At 108 years old, she is 6 years older than my house. She hadn't been used for sewing in decades, but I knew the woman who I bought her from had used it at one point.
I had to replace the leather belt, and basically take apart most of the components, clean them with liquid wrench and re-oil them, but now "Meg" sews like a champ! (I named her Meg, like Meg White of the White Stripes, because she is a White machine.) I was really proud I got her up and running by myself, because I was almost ready to bring her into a sewing machine repair shop and pay them whatever they wanted to bring her back to life.
The best part is my son, age 6, is very interested in sewing now! He was always curious about my electric sewing machine, but also a little scared of it. The treadle machine is slower, and quieter, so he really wanted to try it! He did a little practice stitching on a piece of scrap cloth yesterday and is so proud of his work he insisted I take his photo. He even brought it with him on a picnic with his grandma today, because he wanted to make sure to show her. How cool is that?!
Here's my April Showers yarn. It's raining yet again here. At least we haven't had to water the lawn this spring...
It's mohair and wool, dyed with Wilton's, plied with blue sewing thread that was threaded with irridescent sequin "raindrops." The mohair is kind of making the thread ply float above it, which is really pretty.
So I'm clearly not spinning May Flowers (for May anyway) but maybe we don't necessarily have to spin the yarns in the month itself, but keep the inspiration for later if we don't get to it. We should think of some more themes. I was thinking "Here Comes The Bride" for June, since June weddings are so common. Or maybe "Dog Days of Summer." Or "A Day At The Beach." Any one of those speak to you?
We had a fortunate break in the rainy weather we've had lately which allowed me to set the twist on my April Shower yarn for the spin-a-long. (I know it's no longer April. We'll pretend it is.)
My yarn is a wool and mohair blend from Sheep Shed. I dyed it with Wilton's in a low-water immersion. It varies from sport weight to almost worsted weight and is 178 yards. I plied it with blue sewing thread which I'd threaded with irridescent sequins to represent the raindrops. Does anyone know how to really capture sparkles in yarns? No photos of sparkly yarns ever seem to do them justice.