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11  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Acid Dyes in a Crock Pot? on: August 22, 2008 07:50:03 AM
Black plastic (or boxes etc) work best as they help to absorb the sun's heat and will "cook" your dye bath faster.

All my previous investigations have just started on google, searching for solar cooker designs.
12  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: Fiber Friday - August 22, 2008 on: August 22, 2008 07:47:11 AM
I LOVE the colours in this yarn!  How come when I ply multicolours it never turns out like that? :s lol
13  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: First yarn on my wheel! on: August 22, 2008 06:44:44 AM
That is a wonderful first effort for wheel spinning!  I'm extremely impressed.  I just posted my first yarn on my new wheel (although I've owned other wheels for a while) in the Fibre Friday post.

Hooray for spinning wheels!  Oh wait, that's the whole point of this board, right?  Cool
14  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: Fiber Friday - August 22, 2008 on: August 22, 2008 06:42:17 AM
Yupp, it's an addition . . . Cheesy  My third.  Although to be honest, I wouldn't have bought the second one if I'd known I was going to buy this one!  My first was my 21st present from mum, my second I bought for the double treadle and this one is definitely the last wheel I will ever need to buy.  Mostly because I no longer have room and, eventually, I will inherit my mother's 8  Shocked

Anyway, on to the pics (I worked out how to download them, yes!):

The newest wheel (ain't she purdy? Cheesy):

Sorry it's sideways!

Side view:

The light in our house is crap, sorry folks.

Action shot:

First skein of handspun on new wheel:
  The coin is AU$0.05, slightly larger than a dime and slightly smaller than a nickel.  The round thing is my sugar bowl Cheesy  Just for some perspective, ya know?
The skein is navajo plied (3 ply) lace weight and about 30g and 160ish metres.  I haven't measured the wraps per inch yet but it's LOVELY.  Really soft Cheesy  I was worried that it would be harsh because it's so fine, but not a problem.

And the current bobbin is being used for camel hair tops which I will be plying with some moorat fleece I have I think.  Or maybe some superfine (17 micron!) tops that I have as well.  See how super soft I can make that skein!
15  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: Fiber Friday - August 22, 2008 on: August 21, 2008 09:34:42 PM
I see you're getting in early Jane!  I will have some to post from my most recent experimenting with my new wheel when I get home from work Cheesy  It's beautiful!  The yarn.  Oh, and the wheel Cheesy
16  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Acid Dyes in a Crock Pot? on: August 20, 2008 07:05:05 PM
I know it's probably the wrong season to be suggesting this, but have you all thought about solar cookers to dye fibres?  Dead simple to make (plenty of free online instructions for simple boxes painted black to fancy wood and glass designs) and free to run because of the sunlight!  I haven't tried it myself yet, but it's certainly on my to do list as the weather warms up Down Under Cheesy
17  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Finding an appropriate chair for spinning on: August 20, 2008 07:00:33 PM
Sometimes I spin lounging on the couch.  And when I say lounging, I mean *lounging*, with one leg dangling off the side doing the treadling.  Watch out, folks...laziness has just been taken to a whole new level!   Cheesy

I gotta try this sometime! lol  Does it work with a double treadle wheel, though? :p
18  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Fulled Yarn? on: August 19, 2008 08:06:57 PM
I was wondering if anyone could explain to me how to create a fulled yarn/how that kind of yarn behaves.
I've never made a fulled yarn before but I would suggest:
Single - wind your single into a skein and dunk it in a bucket of boiling water to set the twist.  Wring it out and dunk it in a bucket of cold water.  You might need to repeat a couple of times.  This should set the twist as well as shocking the fibres enough to felt them together.  I think a thicker, loosely spun yarn would work better than a fine yarn.  Also, be careful that the strands of your skein don't end up felting together too!
Plied - again, make a skein and basically do the same as above, but I would add some detergent to the hot water as this should increase the agitation between the fibres and help them to lock together better.

The fulling of the yarn will cause it to be less stretchy because the fibres will have shrunk together and locked, but if you knit it (for example), you will still get a stretchy fabric because the stitches will behave in the usual manner (and e able to "slide" against each other), depending on your tension etc.  If you want to felt the fabric that you've created with the yarn, it won't work as well as normal knitting (again, as an example) because the fibres are already felted together and there will be less loose fibres to lock the stitches to each other.  If you were to weave the fulled yarn, you would end up with an openweave fabric, again because the normal fulling process of the material wouldn't work as the yarn has already been treated.

I kind of assumed that fulling a yarn might make a single stronger since the fibers are all felting together. Is that right?
  Yupp, reckon so.  However, I don't think that attempting to full a fine single would have much effect as the finer you spin, the most twist you require for yarn strength, which means that there's less space between the fibres, so less agitation between fibres would be possible.

Also, I was wondering if it's possible to full a yarn that's predominantly wool but has some sparkly bits in it.
  Yupp.  So long as whatever you want to full is predominantly a natural animal fibre, it should felt.  A good general rule for natural fibres is that the shinier the fibre, the less likely it is to felt (ie, silk won't felt without using glue, pretty much).  This is because the felting process causes the scales on the fibre to open up (in the hot water), the agitation then smooshes the fibres together and the shock of the cold water causes the scales to close again, locking the fibres into their new position.

  No worries Cheesy

To mullerslanefarm:  I'm picky about language too, but I reckon you could argue that yarn could be fulled, rather than felted because it's been processed in the spinning?  That is, loose fibres are laid out to be felted but processed fibres are fulled (woven, knitted, spun?).  Not that it matters, we all know what was meant by the question Cheesy

19  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Finding an appropriate chair for spinning on: August 19, 2008 07:41:59 PM
I find that using a chair that let's your legs rest on the treadle(s) so that your thighs are horizontal when you're treadling comfortably works well.  I find it easier to adjust where my hands and arms are in relation to the orifice, rather than squishing my legs.  Also, when I'm spinning, I tend to sit more on the front edge of the chair, but I think that's just my preference as it allows a bit more freedom of leg movement.

My mother had a stool that my grandfather made for her which was a comfortable sitting height and she's used this with all her spinning wheels over the years.

I don't know if this will help at all, I'm 5'11" and my wheel is quite tall . . . lol

Good luck at the fair!

20  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Recommend Spinning Wheel? on: August 19, 2008 07:33:32 PM
For my take on another couple of brands:

I was given a second hand Tara (Australian Brand I think) for my 21st present from my mother.  It's an upright, double drive, single treadle wheel that spins well, although being second hand and kind of old, it's a bit wobbly if you want to spin fine yarn.  It doesn't have the range of ratios that some do (so you have to treadle fast to spin fine, hence the wobble!), but as a good, solid (ie, doesn't scoot across the floor as you treadle!) wheel, it was a good beginner wheel.  I don't spin on it much now, but that's more because of time restraints and my latest purchase (which I will review in a moment!).

My second wheel is an Ashford Traditional which I purchased second hand about 12 months ago for the sole reason that it had been converted to a double treadle action.  I had been looking for a double treadle wheel for a while.  My Traditional is a single drive, scotch tension wheel and if it wasn't double treadle, I probably wouldn't have bought it.  I don't like the fact that it's horizontal, although this doesn't affect the spinning action or anything, it's just a personal preference.  The treadling action is smooth and easy but that's pretty standard of double treadles.  I definitely have a preferane for double treadle wheels.  I don't have any attachments for my Ashford such as laceweight or bulky kits, and I don't like that you have to purchase them all separately.  I think some ratio variation should be included with all spinning wheels!  Having said that, I have spun from sockweight to bulky on it without too much trouble and it's a good basic wheel that youprobably wouldn't outgrow too fast as youcan always purchase the extra "bits" that you'd need as your spinning prowess improves.

And my most recent purchase from mid July, which I haven't stopped spinning on yet (!) is a Majacraft Rose.  I would like to point out that I'd never purchase a wheel without first having had the opportunity to spin on it so, while I'd admired Majacraft wheels before, I had never indulged.  When I went to the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show last July, there was a Majacraft distributor there from Sydney and I had the opportunity to try the Rose and the Suzie (standard).  With a plying kit (ie, jumbo flyer and bobbin), the Rose cost me an extra AU$200 than the Suzie (with plying kit), but I will never have to buy another wheel as long as I live and spin (which will hopefully be a while yet!).  The Rose is sturdy without being heavy, portable (with carry handle!), beautiful double treadle action, easy flyer changes for plying or spinning.  It is designed for fine spinning and has a large range of ratios (comes with two whorls for a highest ratio of 19:1, I think).  It's a single dive band with scotch tension and the only drawback that I can see which is not a true drawback in terms of spinning technique, more aesthetics) is that it has plastic bobbins, not wood.  It's a little thing and doesn't affect the operation of the wheel, but it did wrankle a little to begin with.  I'm over it now though and it certainly didn't stop me purchasing or using the wheel!

Good luck with your purchase.  It's a big investment and I think it's great that you're after advice before jumping into it.  May you have many happy years of spinning ahead of you.


I did struggle with the price of the Rose and plying kit, so I also tried out an Ashford Traveller but I don't recall whether it was a single or double drive.  While it was a nice wheel and would have done everything I required of it, the treadling action wasn't as smooth and for me, that's a big deal.  If you couldn't justif the price of a new Majacraft (or possibly even a 2nd hand one), then I recommend having a look at the Ashford, but I don't think the construction is as sturdy on them, even though parts are easily accessible all over the globe.
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