Thursday, 14 February 2013

Play Time!

The mandatory coursework for the Master Spinner course I took last spring is in the mail.  I can now only trust that I did enough work to at least pass.  Hopefully, I did better than just a pass though.   After taking a few days off, I felt like I was missing something.  So.....  I picked up some sock yarn and proceeded to try to knit a pair of socks.  It took 4 tries and finally I changed my pattern and grabbed some slightly thicker sock yarn than I normally use, just to get something on the needles.  I prefer lighterweight sock yarn as it is more enjoyable to knit with and makes a nicer sock.  These ones feel a bit like boot socks, however they flew off the needles, which I needed right about then.  They are comfortable enough but not so much so that they'd ever be my favourites.   The pattern is a simple 2/2 rib, with a cable running down both sides of the foot, simple enough to just wing without a written pattern.

Then I took apart my travel wheel.  It's a Kromski Mazurka and a very pretty little thing.  It weighs only about 9 lbs so it's really light and easy to haul around.  I got it unfinished.  I stained it and finished it with a Scandinavian Tung Oil.  I used several coats the first time and it was nice and shiney.  However, a couple of years of hauling it around, general use and of course winter with a woodstove had left it looking a bit dull and dusty.     Most of it just pegs together, but I didn't bother to glue the legs in so that I could disassemble it almost completely should I need to.  So I took the poor old gal apart.  I rubbed down all the pieces with fine steel wool.  Then I wiped them down with damp linen to remove the dust and Kevin hair as most of the time I was working on it, he was unsuccessfully hiding under the wheel.  Then I put a fresh coat of Scandinavian Tung Oil on it and after a difficult 24 hour wait, I put her back together.  With a nice bit of oil on the axles and leathers, she runs as smooth and as quiet as ever.   She is a sweet little wheel.

I might mention too, that I'd left the tin of oil in the garage from the cupboard project.  With the really cold weather, I'd worried that it might have frozen.  I called the company's tech line - Behr and had quick, friendly advice telling me basically, it can stand being frozen a few times but try it on a scrap to make sure.   I hadn't want to waste the time experimenting if getting cold would ruin it.  It is obviously a flexible product because it worked perfectly. 

While I was waiting for things to dry, I started spinning some white Falkland fibre on the Minstrel.
I'm anticipating needing over 200 yards of white for a dye project later in the spring.  Better to spin it now, before I forget about it and have to rush it, two days before the event.  This is the first bobbin - short forward draw , which I'll ply to get about 4 tpi.  There is no rush on it though, so I'm taking my time and enjoying the process.

Then of course I needed to try out the Mazurka, because I'd not have known it was running as smooth and quiet as ever, if I'd not tried it out. 

This is the roving I dyed as extras for the shawl.  The roving was a little bit compacted so it took several tries to figure out how best to use it.  I tried just loosening the fibres, but it was still difficult to draft.  Then I pulled it apart and hand carded it into rolags.  This worked okay, but the staple length is approaching 5 inches long and that made it a bit difficult to card.  Finally I walked by the diningroom table, which I noticed that I'd left the drum carder set up.  It's not like I don't go right by it 10 times a day, but I guess somethings become invisible after a while.   The drum carded batts drafted best of all.  It's also less work than rolags.   I'm half through the second bobbin and will ply them together.   It's still a lovely shade of blue.


Shortly after the socks were done, I started to knit my daughter a pair of fingerless mitts.  However the Shetland yarn I had spun some time ago, albeit nice yarn, was too thick for the intended pattern.  Instead, I made myself a pair since during the cold spell, our house was rather chilly and my hands were periodically a bit cold.  These are thicker than I'd normally make, but flexible and I spun in them last night, despite my hands not actually being cold.  They'll be useful, should the temperatures drop outside again. 

2 comments:

Leigh said...

My Kromski Minstrel is badly neglected! I need to take a page from your book. I know you'll do really well with the Master Spinner course.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Wow! I'm impressed. With all of it!