One-of-a-kind Spinning Wheels

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning , Techniques 
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I am writing an article for Fall 2014 Spin-Off Magazine on One-of-a-Kind spinning wheels. I am soliciting photos. I am posting a guide for photo taking and a photo release which need to be returned with any photos.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO GUIDELINES

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO RELEASE

The wheel below is a OOAK spinning wheel I created from a foot powered dental drill and an antique Victorian door knob and back plates.

Foot Powered Dental Drill Spinning Wheel

CLICK HERE to see Foot Powered Dental Drill Spinning Wheel Video.

 

Spinning Roving for Sale

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Dying , Spinning , Techniques 
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I’ve been playing with commercial dyes and home dye techniques and I think I’ve nailed it.  I have several combinations which will soon be available on Etsy.

Carnival

 

Seagrass

 

Carabean

 

Jelly

 

Sand & Surf

 

Muted Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Sheep, Wool & Herding Dog Festival 2014

Posted by Tropical Twister under Spinning , Techniques 
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The Florida Sheep, Wool & Herding Dog Festival 2014 is being held April 25, 26, & 27 in Ocala, Florida.  I’ll be teaching two classes (Saturday & Sunday).

(1) Wheel Mechanics 101 … spinning wheel tune-up; if it’s not broken or missing parts, we’ll get it spinning. Will include instruction re:wheel mechanics, i.e. double drive, direct drive and Scotch tension AND minor repairs i.e. new leather bearings, tightening joints. In addition, we’ll provide hints for evaluating a garage sale or Craig’s list wheel and the feeding of old wood. There will be a small materials fee to cover the cost printing and supplies.

(2) Spinning 101 … introduction to wheel spinning. Will include survey of fiber prep techniques and prepared fiber available to hand spinner, i.e. hand carding, drum carder, roving and batts, also learn about yarn composition, i.e. z vs s twist, plying and fulling. Lots of hands on time to learn or refine basic spinning skills to turn out small gauge knitable/weavable yarns, not “art yarn”. Spinners may bring their own wheels or “rent” a wheel for the session (by pre-arrangement). There will be a small materials fee to cover the cost printing and of fiber.

These will be small classes with lots of one-on-one assistance. I have elicited the aid of my DH (engineer by training, wheel fixer by conscription) and look forward to a great weekend. My order from the Sheep Shed Studio just arrived so we’ll have lots of fiber to play with.

I plan to bring an assortment of wheels to demonstrate including Victoria (the foot powered dental drill wheel), and whatever antique and vintage wheels will fit in the back of my SUV, and we’ll have a free spin time for spindle and wheel spinners to hang out and spin just for the sheer joy of it.

(Photo is of Lacy my 15 year old Aussie mix.  She’s been struggling with age related issues the past few weeks.  We love her sweet soul and biddable temperament and will miss her when she is no longer with us.)

 

 

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Spinning , Weaving 
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I’m delighted, an article I wrote was accepted for Spin-Off Magazine Spring 2014, “Fibonacci Colors“.

The article provides guides to “Using leftovers purposely”. I describe training ones eyes to identify what Laura Bryant describes as a “river of light” in her video “A Fiber Artists Guide to Color”. I also included a tip I’ve learned to build on her training ones eyes. By taking a digital photo and converting the photo to black and white you can assess the “weight” of a colored yarn without being distracted by the colors. Those that are too intense/too “heavy”, can be easily identified; those that are too subtle/”light”, can easily be sorted out. Colors that are the same weight can be used in the same project, even if they don’t fit color wheel guidelines.

I’m a beginning weaver so I choose a simple Undulating  Twill:  Straight Draft; 2/2 Twill from Anne Dixon’s the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory page 198 for the pattern.  Because as the warp advanced and completed work would be hidden, I was concerned that the “random” colors might not blend or the stripes might not balance.  To blend the colors and assure balanced stripes, I used the Fibonacci number sequence as a guide.  The numbers follow a progressive sequence, with each new number being the sum of the two previous numbers.  The sequence is   0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, … Fearing one pass would get lost, I used the formula 1 = 4, that is for each Fibonacci number, I would make four passes.   Where the number was “1”, I would make 4 passes; “2”, I would make 8 passes; “3”, I would make 12 passes, and so on.  While the yarn from one skien was woven into the weft in stripes with increasing width, I decreased the width of the adjacent yarn stripes.  One transition of weft passes would be as follows: 52 cream (13) 4 blue (1) 32 cream (8) 4 blue (1) 20 cream (5) 8 blue (2) 12 cream (3) 12 blue (3)  – 8 cream (2) 20 blue (5) 4 cream (1) - 32 blue (8)  4 cream (1) 52 blue (13) 4 salmon (1) 32 blue (8)4 salmon (1) 20 blue (5) 8 salmon (2) 12 blue (3) 12 salmon (3) 8 blue (2) - 20 salmon (5)4 blue (1) 32 salmon (8) - 4 blue (1) - 52 salmon (13) 

 

 

Debbi by C. Norman Hicks

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning , Techniques 
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Debbi spinning wheel front

“Debbi”, 1980′s solid brass wheeled spinning wheel from builder C. Norman Hicks rescued from a storeage unit in California has made it’s way to Florida.  Solid oak castle wheel has scotch tension and inovative system for tensioning.

eBay wheel arrived at her new home yesterday (8/15/2013). Little “Debbi” was rescued from a storage unit and seller had no information about her. She was numbered (49) and signed by her builder (C. Norman Hicks). A brown envelop which arrived with her included a Polaroid snapshot (I remember those) labeled Christmas 1981. A receipt for purchase was dated Nov 30, 1981 and signed by the builder. Interestingly both the receipt and the notations on the outside of the envelop number her #50.

The notations (likely by the builder) on the envelop are as follows:

Debbi # 50

Finished 20Nov1981

Brass wheel

Red Oak wood

Clear Lacquer finish

Designed & made by C. Norman Hicks

Yes, that wheel’s not painted gold, it’s solid brass!

I was in contact with a member of the San Diego Creative Weaver’s Guild who was able to supply a copy of a magazine article from Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Fall 1974) which pictures Mr Hicks. He was reported to have been an active member of their guild and she’s promised to do a bit of research for me.

There are two sets of roller bearings for the drive wheel and two sets for the flyer. The flyer bearings were frozen. The wheel bearings were stiff. I soaked all the bearings in penetrating oil and removed the old crusted oil and repacked the bearings with white grease. The rubber band providing flexible tension on the bobbin brake was crystallized and was replaced with a spring. I didn’t have a rubber band in the house so I used the spring. Seems to work but may go back to a rubber band for authenticity of design after a trip to the Staples. The flyer rod was slightly corroded and was cleaned and buffed. The flyer itself is bent copper tubing. It appears brass cup hooks were soldered to one arm of the flyer.

The design is interesting. The flyer rod with it’s huge orifice is pressure fitted through two sets of bearings and the pressed board whorls (3) is locked on to the flyer with set screws and an allen wrench. It came with a single bobbin and it would be complicated to change bobbins. I’m thinking the plan was for the spinner to wind off the bobbin. I slathered WoodBeams all over the lacquered wood to clean and feed the wood. There are places where the finished has given way to time but no evidence of water damage or abuse.

The bobbin ends are pressed board and the glue holding them have given in to time as well. I re-glued the separated ends with epoxy glue and clamped to dry. Had to wait to this morning (8/16/2013) to try the wheel. It was a bit stiff at first but the yarn built up in a hurry to my surprise; very fast with little effort. I spun both with my right foot alone and with both. Best effort with the two feet working in tandem. The wheel loosened up and we worked well together.

Half-moon slot and bolt with wind nut on the front are for adjusting belt tension. When you want to change whorls the top section is tilted and thereby the tension is adjusted. For the largest whorl, the top section is parallel to the table.

It’s diminutive size would make it a good traveler, but it’s weight (brass drive wheel) would discourage me from backpacking with it. Very sturdy on its tripod. Well designed and engineered.

 

Debbi from back

 

 

Spinning Wool Singles Inspired by Coral

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Dying , Hand Spun Yarn , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning , Techniques 
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Seabreeze Spinners’ Inspiration

Beautiful handspun singles spun on vintage Timbertops double flyer chair wheel inspired by colours of the sea and Mushroom Soft Coral.

Deepwater mushroom soft coral (Anthomastus ritteri) off the coast of California, in the Pacific Ocean — Mark Conlin/Photolibrary © (Bing United Kingdom)

 

 

Dying Hand Spun Yarn

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Dying , Hand Spun Yarn , Projects , Spinning 
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(click on images for larger view)
Used Gaywool Dye to dye hand spun 2 ply wool. Dyed natural wool hand spun yellow & pumpkin but then over-dyed grey hand spun for rich tones of chocolate , blue and cinnamon. Attempted to hand paint grey roving but didn’t like the results. Colors didn’t work. Over-dyed hand painted roving with purple and magenta with less success; it matted. But after going through the hand carder several times and adding a little bling … the roving was lovely and spun up beautifully.

Tropical Twister

 

Recycled Thrift Store Yarn

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Hand Spun Yarn , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning , Techniques 
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(double click on photos for larger image) I took Spin-In magazine’s challenge to recycle outdated knitted items from your closet or thrift store finds. The sweater I choose was a closet find … “What was I thinking” … shoulder pads and all. The sweater was a wool, mohair, nylon blend. I’m thinking sock yarn. First, look for a sweater that has chain stitch holding the seams; the type seams that seal potato sacks and dog food bags. Once the seams were separated, I unraveled the knit and balled up the yarn. You’ll notice in the photo a mix of beads. I threaded one stand of fiber with mixed beads which would later be spun into the yarn. I’m thinking a little bit a beads on the sock tops. Then I spun a two ply yarn on my Timbertops chair wheel. The first yarn was skeined onto a sample niddy noddy. The first spun will be mailed off to Spin-In in answer to the challenge, the rest, socks ….

Found a detailed tutorial on-line HERE at craftsylish blog.

Tropical Twister

 

Newly Stocked Etsy site

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Hand Spun Yarn , Spinning 
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I’ve had inquires regarding my homespun yarn so I’ve begun listing it on Etsy HERE along with Rick Reeves orifice hooks/threaders.

Tropical Twister

 

Launching Ravelry Seabreeze Spinners Group

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Hand Spun Yarn , Knitting , Rigid Heddle , Spinning 
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This is the logo for the new Ravelry Group, Seabreeze Spinners.

The new group takes a fresh look at spinning, knitting and weaving with a tropical twist. We’ll explore exotic and classic fibers which lend themselves to warmer climes . . . bamboo, silk, llama, linen, and cotton. Our focus is hand spinning, and hand knitting and weaving on small looms. (You need to do something with all that yarn.) Novice and experienced spinner alike are welcome whether planning to buy a wheel or looking for ideas for your next project.

Individuals who wish to sell off any of their personal stash or yarn, needles, magazines, books are encouraged to list it here. This is not a group for business owners to sell same or for selling stuff you make, but for individuals to sell their used stuff. You may post links to Ebay if you are selling your stash stuff there.

All who have an interest in fiber are welcome to join. This is a drama free zone. No adult content. “Disagree” is for “I disgree with someone’s stated opinion”. “Disagree” is not for expressing “I think they’re asking too much for their item”. Advice and suggestions are always welcome, but please, keep it positive and helpful. Please stay on topic. This is a place to chat and share with others who share your obsession with fiber.

Tropical Twister

 

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