You do the alternating color ribbing just as you'll do the rest of the mitten, except every other stitch is a purl, where the rest of the mitten is all in stockinette stitch. For the knits in the ribbing, knit the stitch in your contrast color. For the purls, bring your main color to the front, between the needles (just like for any purl) and purl with it, then bring it to the back again. Now knit with your contrast color and repeat. It's just like regular ribbing, but you're stranding at the same time.
It sounds like you might be catching the white strand but not actually knitting a stitch with it.
I've never done a lining, and I was wondering about these instructions. It says to knit the lining, and without binding off, to take each stitch to the inside to the hat with a sharp needle, making sure stithces don't show on right side. What is tacking? Sewing with thread? Can someone show a picture of the finished lining? Thanks!
"Tack" just means to sew it down. When you finish knitting the lining and cut the yarn, leave a very long tail (say, 3x longer than the length of the part you need to sew down) and thread it through a tapestry needle. Take each individual stitch and sew it down to the inside of the hat, just catching a bit of an outside stitch, not going all the way through to the outside of the hat, so your stitches don't show. You can see the inside of my hat here- http://www.helloyarn.com/wp/?p=251. It produces a nice, elastic edge.
The provisional cast-on doesn't have to be hard! I crochet a chain (using a different color yarn) with a few extra stitches than I need for the pattern, then pick up as many stitches along the chain as I need for the pattern, using the yarn called for in the pattern, join into a round, then knit away. You can undo that crochet chain and "zip" it away, like the top of a rice or dog food bag.
Not true! There's superwash yarn, which is made not to felt on purpose, but some pale colors of non-superwash wool yarn are bleached, which messes with the wool's scales and makes it not felt properly. Some of the pale colors of Lamb's Pride don't felt, for instance. It's best to do a test.
As for dyeing before or after felting, that is up to personal taste.
I've felted yarn a couple of ways. If I'm felting quite a bit, I fill one big pot with ice cold water and one with super hot and some shampoo/dish soap. Put on rubber gloves and really smash the yarn around in the hot, then cold, then hot, until it looks like you want. You might have to refill the water if you splash a lot (I put the pots in the bathtub).
I've done single skeins under running water in the sink.
I've also felted yarn in the washing machine. I find that starting the felting process in the sink helps keep the yarn from felting to itself in the washer. Then I put each skein in its own mesh lingerie bag and put them through a short hot cycle in the machine with detergent. It REALLY felts the yarn, creating a great texture.
The Woolery carries the Kromski quick change flyer set which could be just the ticket. They carry it for the various Kromski wheels, which might mean it comes in different lengths, so if you measure yours tip to tip, you might find a perfect match. Are those leather loops (bearings) holding each end of the flyer? If they are, they can probably be adjusted/replaced to accomodate a flyer with a larger/smaller orifice.
That is a great way to dye without much chance of felting. Soak the wool without moving it in the water AT ALL. Drain water and then gently push down on the wool with your hands to get more water out. Lift the wool into the pan an arrange as you see fit.
After heating in the oven, let it cool all the way in the pan and then fill the sink with cool water. Tip the pan into the water and gently push the wool down. If the water is clear, drain and remove. If the water is colored, drain and remove wool, refill with water, and repeat.
This method has so little movement of the wool that I have never felted anything, even the finest Merino. I find the most felting happens on the stovetop, where the wool is more able to move around in hot water.
Besides the flyer, it looks pretty good. The main thing to worry about is the wheel itself. Is it warped? A little warped is okay, but a lot warped will throw the driveband. If you have some thick cotton string or hemp twine-type stuff, make one and see what happens. Tie a tight square knot and trim closely so you don't have much of a bump in the string. Oil the hell out of every moving part and give it a treadle. Some spinning wheels have a flyer with only one arm, but then I've heard someone who was in a similar situation as you say that they tried to use their wheel with a broken flyer and it didn't work. It's worth a shot to try it, certainly. It can be replaced if need be, but the piece might need to be handmade.
It's a double drive wheel so you'll need a drive band that goes around the wheel twice and around each groove in the bobbin. http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/wheel-drives.html Check the second photo down for a photo of how it should be on the whorls. It just goes around the big wheel twice.
Don't worry about tension and twist per inch until you get it working. For reference, though, you add tension by moving the mother-of-all (the part with the bobbin on it) away from the wheel, thus tightening the driveband.
There's one thing to consider with quills- they are FAST. I bought a quill wheel without really thinking about the ratio (it was cheap and I jumped) and it's really too fast to do what I wanted it to do, which was novelty yarn. I can see by the photo of the Ashford that it has a really small whorl, which leads me to believe that it's really fast, as well. You might want to investigate the ratio. Mine just resulted in a snarling mess of yarn and I hate it.
Louet doesn't make a quill and I very much doubt the Ashford would fit on a Louet, since Louet's bobbins are much longer and Louets have a different tensioning system.