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1  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Frustrated with new wheel... on: February 21, 2013 04:04:29 AM
Hi! So, I'm developing an intense frustration with my new Hitchhiker single-treadle. No matter what I do, no matter which direction I am trying to spin, it wants to spin in the opposite direction, and my yarn jumps the whirl hooks and I get a mess. I have tried every possible position for my foot on the treadle, I have tried every imaginable tension. I usually just kick start it with my other foot, but that means I have to spin faster than my hands can keep up with because if I so much as slow down it stalls at the top or bottom of the rotation. Is it possible to just BUY a second treadle? Looking at the pictures the second treadle assembly just pops on there, there is no visible difference in the wheels when the second treadle is off, but I can't find a place to buy the second one. Anyone know what I should do?
2  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Spinning Rope...on purpose! on: May 17, 2012 12:53:00 PM
Its a small bed apparently. He measured it, he says he will need a little less than 100ft.

Here's the issue with that doodad...I don't have the money, or the source, to acquire one of those. I don't have the slightest idea where to find one in this short of a chunk of time...nor do I have the space to use one if I did! I understand how they work and have even seen one in action, but I can't get my hands on one.
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Spinning Rope...on purpose! on: May 17, 2012 08:47:41 AM
I have been given a challenge: spin 100 feet of 1/2 inch rope (for a reenactor's rope bed) in two weeks!!

I only have lace weight spindles, and my spinning wheel does not have an orifice large enough to accommodate this. Does anyone have any ideas for a quick way to throw together a spindle heavy enough to do this? I imagine it'd have to weigh about half a pound to handle what I'm trying to do here...I heard about someone using a broom handle, but I don't understand how that would work. What do I use for the whorl? I have access to a blacksmith and a wood shop, and I imagine I would need a heavier duty niddy and some bobbins as well...I feel as lost as I did when I started spinning!


4  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sheep to Shawl Challenge! on: June 10, 2011 06:50:19 PM
I would LOVE to participate! I've got some raw llama wool I'm trying to force myself to process...this might push me enough. I've never participated in a challenge or even a CAL so maybe it'll be good. Just need to REMEMBER to do it!
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: bread - what am i doing wrong?!?! on: February 16, 2011 12:14:15 AM
My first truly edible loaf of bread was a lot "wetter" to start with than I thought it should be, but a friend suggested I was using too much flour, so I tried her way. It worked.

Proof your yeast. Anything hotter than about 135 degrees Fahrenheit will kill it. It seems to like about 115 degrees F the best, in my experience.

Don't add the salt directly to the yeast, it makes the yeast angry. Sift together the dry ingredients, onto a flat surface covered with parchment paper. If you sift into a bowl, the flour will make static electricity with itself, and you will have a different result. Pick up the parchment and gently, slowly slide the flour into your working bowl, and make a "well" or divot in the top of dry ingredients. I don't know WHY the static changes it, I just know it does. Mix the other wet ingredients and the proofed yeast, then slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well. I pour some, then mix a little, them pour the rest, and mix to that shaggy-flour-y goo texture. (My grandmother's instructions, there, and that woman could make fluffy, soft white bread out of water and air, I swear it. I think she had a secret magic wand that she didn't tell me about. Her instructions worked for me, though.)

Also, (and I am deeply sorry for not being able to quote my source, but this tidbit appeared amid HOURS of frustrated, angry research on the subject, the one secret I did not "earn" and therefore did not learn from my Grandmother before she died...she would be proud to know I kept trying and eventually learned it, though) try the stretch-and-fold method. Here's how it works:

Mix the flour to that "shaggy" stage and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Scrape it out of the bowl onto a lightly oiled surface (I usually pour a few drops of oil on a paper towel and wipe my "kneading board" with it). The dough will be soft and pliable, but less sticky than it was before you walked away. Knead it together a teeny bit, until it holds to itself, then stretch it out using your fingers into a roughly flat-ish shape. Use the heel of your hand to break up any lumps of flour still remaining. You want to make sure you get them all, the first round, because this process is damaging to the gluten formation. Fold the bottom-third of your dough up, then the top third down. Fold the left third over, then the right. You will have a ball of dough. Put it back in it's bowl, seam down. Cover it, return it to its warm place, and walk away again, for 45 more minutes.

When you return, use a dough scraper or a wide, flat spatula under the dough, and your fingers on top of it, to gently stretch the dough back into that wide, flat-ish, vaguely rectangular shape and fold again. Make sure the scraper gets deep under there, you want to make sure you are stretching all of it, not just the top.

Repeat this stretch, fold, and sit process 3-4 times total. Each time the dough will be more and more developed, but still surprisingly wet (unlike kneading and adding flour until it is dryish and thick) and soft. After the final rest, the dough should be well-risen, too. Shape your dough, use a pan or make a boule or whatever you like, and bake.

It is easier by far than kneading, takes less actual work time (albeit more waiting), and results in a BETTER developed dough. Gentler on the hands/wrists, and in my experience, simply works better.

I hope this helps.
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: fiber stash storage on: February 15, 2011 02:00:43 PM
I have more craft supplies than any human being could ever use in a life time, and a teeeeny little apartment with two bedrooms and three people. I recently re-organized, and this is what I ended up with:

I had a large cedar chest taking up space in my bedroom, and a pretty vanity hanging out downstairs under the window, collecting stuff and dust. I switched them, so now the vanity is in my room, where it will be useful, and the cedar chest is under the window downstairs. (There is a space about 5 feet wide between the couch and the wall that mostly, again, collects stuff and dust, with a large window and a bookshelf) I stashed all my wool in the cedar chest, using small square cardboard boxes as partitions. The roving is in plastic bags in the spaces between the boxes, and the yarn is divided sort-of-by-color in the boxes. On top of the chest, I put a couple pretty baskets with cotton, acrylic, and immediate-use-wool fiber, in balls and rolls. Next to the chest, I put several (admittedly ugly) plastic drawers, the kind you get at Wal-Mart, beside the chest. These I filled with fabric, notions, crochet hooks, spindles, knitting needles, more acrylic yarn, and half-finished projects, again sort-of-sorted (I am famously bad at organizing. Just getting it where it is took me four hours.) In a large plastic storage tub upstairs in my closet, on the top shelf, I have even MORE acrylic yarn (I can't believe how much money I wasted on acrylic before I learned about wool). My wheel and my spinning chair sit between the bookshelf and the couch, which are at a 90-degree angle to the chest. Of course, the bookshelf is filled with craft books. The Boyfriend's guitar is tucked away behind my spinning chair, and a large basket in an empty spot on the shelf holds my in-progress roving while I am not spinning. I am so proud of the way it looks...finally, a place for everything! Huzzah!

I like the chest because we actually found it at a second hand store for about $50. It needed a good coat of Old English and some sanding on the inside, but other than that, it is beautiful. I could climb inside it!  The plastic drawers I re-purposed. They used to hold my clothes, but then I got real bedroom furniture (yay). I like that they are clear, meaning it is easy to see what is inside, and they are stackable. The pretty colors of the fabrics and yarns showing through make them marginally(!) less ugly.  The baskets were about $.75 a piece from a second hand store, and again, most just needed to be taken care of a little to make them look nice. All in all, my entire stash takes up a space about 5 feet by 6 feet, and as high as I can reach, giving it a significantly smaller footprint than it had. The chest is even sturdy enough to sit on, and I think I am going to make a cushion to put on top of it, so I can curl up in the sunlight from the window and read. If I do that, though, I'll have to find something else to do with the little baskets on top of it. Maybe I will hang them from the wall next to the window.

I hope this helped you with some ideas...
7  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Core spinning questions *TOTAL BEGINNER* on: February 04, 2011 11:33:17 PM
Thank you! I am going to go to A.C. Moore TOMORROW to get some wire to try this! I really really appreciate your help!
8  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Core spinning questions *TOTAL BEGINNER* on: February 02, 2011 08:23:36 PM
I saw on a Fiber Friday thread recently (I was reading/drooling at them recently, I have NO idea WHICH Fiber Friday it was) someone had core-spun around a metal wire of some sort, making thread that sort of looked like bangle bracelets.

I. Must. Learn. To. Do. This. Immediately. Because. It. Is. Cool.

What type of wire should I use? Is there a specific type that works better than other types? Gauge? Type of metal?

This is going to sound stupid, but how does it work? I can't seem to imagine how it all fits together...should I use a spinning wheel or a spindle? (Is one easier than the other? Does it matter?) Should I sort of dual-wrist-distaff, one wrist with the roving, one with the wire? Or does the unspun wire need to be free to rotate, since wire won't take twist like fibers do? If thats the case, how does one manage that? I'm confused.

Should I start with another type of core? I reeeeeaaally want to do the wire-core but I do understand the need for learning to walk before trying to run. If I should start with something else, is there an ideal material for starting? Is a thicker core or a thinner core easier to manage as a beginner?

How do you join the core to the roving? Just a knot?

Any other tips and tricks I should be aware of?
9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Llamas, a hand spindel, and a HOME MADE WHEEL! on: February 01, 2011 01:22:49 AM
Photos post one:

10  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Llamas, a hand spindel, and a HOME MADE WHEEL! on: February 01, 2011 12:39:51 AM
Wheel How-To:

a large, round medallion (it is not perfectly round and we DO need to fix that but it suffices),
2x4 about 3 feet tall
one 1x2 about 6 feet long
dowels both round and square, the square about .75 inches to an inch
2 1x4's about 4 feet long each
two or three packages of those little wooden disks about 3 inches wide from the wood working section of the craft store (I missed the center, cracked them drilling too fast, made the hole in the center too big...get extra for mistakes. Use the remainder and a dowel to make a spindle!) and two packages of the 2.75 inch ones that are a little thicker

wood screws
2 heavy-duty hinges
large washers...we ended up needing a total of 9.
Two weird bolts that I don't know the name for...it is about 6.5 inches long, and it is smooth to maybe the last inch, where it is threaded. It is about as thick as my pinkie finger (one about...5/16 inch? the other about 1/4 inch) We had to file these smooth...they will be used as an axle, so be sure you have VERY straight ones with very very few bumpy bits and file and polish them as smooth as you can. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
a bearing stolen from a skateboard wheel
cup hooks and other small hooks
another smaller, shorter bolt, only needs to be long enough to go through the footman and into the wheel and maybe a couple of washers for spacing
some nylon tubing
fishing wire
drive band (I found it best to just buy a real spinning wheel drive band)

He cut the 1x4s into two pieces about 18 inches long, and three about 12 inches...was not reeeeaaally scientific about it, just made sure that matching pieces were the same. These he assembled into a shape like this: |_| 
He put the second 1x4x12 on the back, top of this base, as a place to put the back post, supporting it with two small pieces of the 2x4 (reinforcing yay!).

He put this in front of me and measured the back post to a height I liked and cut it there.

I found the approximate center of the wheel, and he drilled a big hole in it and stuck the bearing from the skateboard wheel inside. Drilled a hole in the back post, and stuck the long bolt through with washers: bolt, washer, wheel, washer, washer, post, washer, washer, nut.
At this point comes the first tricky part: We used a dremel to cut a groove in the side of the wheel, wide and deep enough to seat the drive band. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH THIS PART. If it isn't perfect, your band will throw.

The mother-of-all was hard, too. It is a |__| shape with the far side a little taller than the other, with a little divot carved into the short side (the orifice sits here) and a hole drilled in the taller side (the back of the flyer axle rests in this hole and needs to spin freely). Mount this on top of the back post. It is fiddly...we had to adjust and fidget and remake the mother of all and the flyer about six times. I will take pictures and post them, I can NOT explain it well enough. This is pretty exacting and complicated and it took us almost 3 weeks to get it right.

We used a Bic pen with the ends cut off (remove the ink FIRST! Haha) and the little wooden disks to make the bobbin. Make sure it rotates freely on the "axle" bolt for the flyer assembly. I also used a straw, to make a second bobbin. VERY VERY CAREFULLY dremel a tiiiiny groove in the side of one of the disks on the end. This will be for the tension band. IT MUST BE PERFECT; again, it will throw if it is not. We used a little spring attached to a little eye bolt on the left hand side of the mother-of-all, and tied fishing wire to this. Another eye bolt attaches to either side of the mother-of-all further back, under the end of the bobbin, so it lines up with the groove, and the fishing wire goes through the first, over the bobbin, and through the second. Wrap it around a cup hook for tension.

To make the flyer whorl, we drilled a hole in the center of one of the 2.75 inch disks, and shoved a nut in the hole, then sandwiched that between two of the 3 inch disks with super glue (looks sort of like a wooden Oreo). That way it screws onto the end of the flyer, and the drive band sits in the groove created by the smaller disk in the center.

The flyer itself is a little strip of wood with two dowels shoved in, and the axle (glued!) through the center so it looks like a trident. Little hooks (make sure there are no snaggy bits on them) screwed into one of the dowel-arms guide the yarn onto the bobbin. MAKE SURE THE DOWELS ARE SHORTER THAN THE AXLE and slightly shorter than the bobbin. Makes a mess if it isn't. Big mess. Much cussing happened. Ha. The orifice is a little piece of PVC pipe, about an inch long, with a hole drilled in the side of it. This is attached to the head of the bolt you are using for the axle...just wedge it on there and glue it in place. Bent paper clips (straighten them out then bend them into a u) hold it down on the shorter end of the mother-of-all, in the divot, so the hole in the side is BEHIND the post. Oil evvvvvrrrrryyyyythhiiinnngg that moves. Then oil it again.

The treadle assembly was pretty easy. Cut the 1x1 square dowel to fit inside the base, so that it sort of wedges in there...use it to complete the fourth side of the base, so it makes a rectangle. Reinforce with extra little pieces so it is sturdy. Use a piece of the 1x2 to make the footman...needs to be about 12-inches-ish. Mount the third 1x4x12 on this with the hinges (open ends facing INTO the wheel). Attach a little piece of the nylon tubing to this, and join it with the footman. Screw the footman off-center on the wheel, so it moves the wheel when you push the treadle down!

Did I miss anything? Pictures to come as soon as I find the stupid cord for the stupid camera...stupid ferrets keep stealing stuff. It only HAPPILY spins one direction (clockwise), but it can be talked into spinning the other way. It isn't perfect, and it makes a "whoosh-brush-squeak" noise when it is spinning, but the sound is somehow reminiscent of the noise my Mom's sewing machine used to make and it is soothing to me. Everything took lots of fiddling and adjusting and every piece on it has been redone at least twice. The basic instructions are easy, and the initial build time was about 9 hours including the hardware store trip. Finished product, capable of making yarn, took us...not kidding...SIX WEEKS of working on it ALL of our spare time, which admittedly was not much spare time...probably total 100 hours of work? give or take a little.
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