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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 / 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!


3  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?
4  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Discussion and Questions / Question about dyeing roving? on: August 12, 2010 11:38:30 PM
Do you dye roving?

Where do you find yours? Do you card it from "loose" fibres (for lack of knowing a better word for it), and draft yourself? Do you purchase it already-roving? Either way, where do you find it?

And this might sound like a stupid question, but I'm curious...do different types wool (as in, from different breeds of sheep, as well as sheep vs. llama vs. cat or what have you) take dye differently? If so, which breeds do you prefer? Do different dyes take differently on various types of wool? For example, will Wilton's look different on Corriedale vs Llama or BFL? Do the same shade of different types of dye take differently on the same wool?

I haven't much experience, and I DO prefer to learn as much as I can from others with more experience than myself before attempting to do anything like this. I'd hate to murder some pretty wool by not knowing what I was doing.
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Question about Bread...? on: August 08, 2010 09:12:23 PM
I am making sourdough bread, and I accidentally forgot about it. I caught it before it rose enough to fall...but I had to punch it down and reshape it, then pop it back in the pan. Obviously, in order to get it to have any texture at all, it will need to rise again...but it is refusing to do so. Its been two hours and its just  about exactly the same size it was (maybe a quarter inch taller? Less than that.) Did I destroy it? Or am I just impatient?

I've never baked sourdough before. The first rise in this recipe was 15 hours...the second time it more-than doubled in about 8. I know the rise time is about half in the second rise...so is it half again on the third? Or is it less than that? More? Did the yeasties eat all the gluten? I am still learning and I wish I had a better understanding of the chemistry going on here.
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Llamas, a hand spindel, and a HOME MADE WHEEL! on: July 27, 2010 12:12:27 PM
Whahoo!! I just HAVE to chronicle this, and I do have some questions, they will be at the bottom in nice neat easy to find rows if you don't want to read my entire *squee* fest.

So recently I started a new job at a massage therapy clinic (nothing creepy) as a front desk associate. When I found out one of the therapists had a pair of llamas living on her little farm, I was intrigued. After talking to her a little, I convinced her to give me a little bit of their wool to play with, hoping to learn to spin.

I made a drop spindel (from a dowel, two little wooden disks glued together, and a cup hook), read and watched everything on spinning I could find, bought two dog slicker brushes and a cat comb, and set about spinning my new wool. Trial and error and two nights up until 4, and I had a cute little skein of pure llama wool. I pulled off two small bits and dyed them with food coloring just for laughs, and they took the dye better than anything else I have dyed (I have dyed white Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool before, along with a few other things, using egg dyes, Wilton Icing dye, and various other food dyes, with the help of my friends Leslie and Ben and their little tie-dye business). Thrilled, I started talking about it on Facebook.

My dear friend Patrick appears out of the blue with the information that he owns an Ashford Kiwi wheel, oodles of roving, and some hand cards, and he would be willing to bring them over to my place and teach me to spin. THRILLED!! We did that, and I popped my very first wheel spun yarn (it is a beautiful cotton candy pink Corriedale) onto a niddy noddy to set the spin. An experiment in Navajo plying, and a turn on my nostepinne, and I have my very first ball of handspun yarn--YAY!!

The next night, Karen invited me and James out to her farm to meet her llamas. We sheared and combed the llamas, Roman and Gandalf, fed the horses, chased the goats, picked eggs, drank a few beers, and had a grand ol' time. When I got home that night, I immediately set to cleaning the llama wool. It is beautiful, off white, surprisingly clean (very little VM), with a decent staple. Smells like a farm animal, but who cares? It is beautiful.

I spun some more on my drop spindel, this time a wonderful earth-tone (brown, green, orange, hints of yellow) blend of several types of wool. I spun it worsted, and when plied I think it came out to about the width of a commercial "worsted weight" yarn. I read some more of this forum, learned about carding colors together, and went about pirating commercially spun wool for it's neon pink color, carded it together with some of the cotton candy and the earth tone, and spun that up.

During this time, my boyfriend was online, looking at various spinning wheels. After several hours of this, he looked at me, and said "We should go to Home Depot tomorrow. I think I can make one of these things." So we did. And he is. Right now, he is in the middle of the floor in our tiny living room, surrounded by parts and chunks of wood, putting it together and making me a spinning wheel.


So a few questions.

1) My drop spindel never spins more than a few seconds, just about the time I get the hang of it and feel comfortable drafting, it is backspinning. Is that caused by weight distribution? I've read that a edge-heavy whorl spins longer...is that my problem? My whorl is almost weightless, really, compared to the dowel itself.

2) How to I salvage the little bits and pieces of partially-spun-then-fell-off wool? Can I just card it back out? Will that damage it?

3) We bought a length of nylon tubing for making the little flexy piece that attaches the treadle to the footman, and it occured to me that it might make a good drive band. Anyone know any reason why it might not work?

4) Is a Navajo ply yarn always so...bumpy? For lack of a better word...I read that it is sort of like a big, loose crochet chain, so that is what I made. However, the places where the loops interlock make little bumps in the yarn. Being an avid crocheter, I feel that that would annoy me, but I have not yet crocheted my Navajo plied yarn, so I have no idea. I guess it looks kinda cool, just not what I envisioned.

5) What the heck is a Scotch Tension? I see it mentioned all over the place and I can't find a definition or description that doesn't make me more confused.

I'm past the park and draft method, it is only serving to annoy me now, but with the lack of continuous spin, I'm getting frustrated with dropping it, too. I am sure that the experienced spinners out here can help me. I'm learning extremely fast...I started this less than a week ago and I'm already past the little help the books I have offer. Save me, Spinning Super Heroines!
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