Saturday, March 5, 2016

Another one down

I wrote a beautiful long post this morning and with a swipe of the finger, I managed to delete it before publishing. Hmmmm… So I'll try to recreate it knowing it's never as good the second time around. 

I finished a skein of milk chocolate brown silk that I started a couple of years ago. 
In the process of the plying, I learned something new. 

While looking for a video to help a friend of mine with her new spinning wheel, I found one by Tim from New Voyager Trading who distributes Kromski spinning wheels. In the video, he makes the point that when you spin with a Z twist, you use the brake band strung from right to left. That's how they come. 
However, his point was that when you have spun your singles with Z twist, you ply using an S twist. For this, reversing the direction of the break band, stringing it from left to right makes the scotch tension much more efficient. 
You can see that I've strung the cord over the mother of all, then through the left hook and over the bobbin to the right-side hook. I'd never thought about it befor but it makes sense. It uses the action of the spring and improves the draw in while plying. 

It was like a Festivus miracle!  It made a real difference. I do have a project in mind for this yarn, which I'll share more about later. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Beading Your Purse

The other night I was looking for something in my home office and found this little beaded coin purse that I'd made about 10 years ago.
After posting it on Facebook, I had a request for the pattern.  It's a really basic beaded purse pattern that you can adapt to fit whatever size purse frame you have.  These purse frames can usually be found at chain craft stores, although you can also find them online.

You can also find kits to made this type of coin purse at some craft and/or knitting stores or online but it's just as easy to buy a spool of perle cotton and some strands of pre-strung seed beads.

So here's how I made mine.  This is a "down and dirty" pattern, written out from looking at my purse. Make, do, change to your heart's content and to fit your own purse frame.  And, most of all, enjoy!

Beaded Coin Purse
  • Size 8 perlé cotton (with beads loaded – load as many beads as you can manage since you’ll have to cut the thread to load another set of beads and then make a join.)
  • Size 10 or 11 seed beads (pre-strung strands of bead make it easy to transfer the beads onto the perlé cotton.  You’ll use approximately 3,000 beads. The easiest way to transfer the seed beads to the perlé cotton is to make a loop at the end of the sewing thread holding the beads and rest the end of the perlé cotton through the loop.  This will allow you to slide the beads from the sewing thread onto the perlé cotton.)
  • Size 0 or 1 knitting needles
  • Lining material
  • Purse frame

Piece is worked flat and then stitched together when attached to the purse frame.  This may not be the best project for working on the move. 

For the smaller coin purse frame, I cast on 28 stitches. Knit 2 rows without beads.  This will give you an edge to attach to the purse frame.

Basic row: K2, *slip 1 bead, K3* (repeat across to last 2 stitches), K2

Every row will be knit in this manner, the only difference being the number of beads you slip.

Work the basic row 2 times slipping 1 bead.
Work the basic row 4 times slipping 2 beads.
Work the basic row 4 times slipping 3 beads.
Work the basic row 90 times slipping 4 beads.
Work the basic row 4 times slipping 3 beads.
Work the basic row 4 times slipping 2 beads.
Work the basic row 2 times slipping 1 beads.

Knit 2 rows.  Bind off.

Using the lining material, cut a piece a little larger than the purse.  Shape the ends to match the curve of the purse frame.  Sew the lining, making sure to leave enough of the side open to accommodate the purse frame. 

Sew the sides of the knitted purse together, leaving enough of the side open to accommodate the purse frame.

With the wrong side of the lining facing the wrong side of the knitted purse, fold in the lining to hide the edge of the material and stitch the pieces together.

Attach the purse and lining to the purse frame, making sure there is room for the frame to open and close.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Antique Spinning Wheels

I get asked by new spinners or those who would like to learn to spin and are looking for a wheel that is affordable whether they should buy a used or antique spinning wheel.  To be honest, my answer 99.9% of the time is no.  Even for more experienced spinners, my answer would be a very reluctant maybe (with a lot of grimacing and shrugging of shoulders).  The vast majority of the used/antique wheels are not functional.  I came across this video by the always wonderful Abby Franquemont where she discusses what specifically to look for when considering a wheel you might find on the internet or in an antique shop.

I particularly like her comment near the end that if you're shopping for your first wheel or your only wheel, you should go for one that is a "newer" used wheel, i.e. one that is still being manufactured so you can easily get any missing parts, and that you should buy it from a spinner who can assure you that it is in working order.

So, thanks Abby for making your video so I don't have to and providing a practical guide for this important question.

I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who have dreamed of learning to spin only to waste their money on a wheel that isn't functional.  This is to keep you from being such a person.  I know you don't have money to waste because you need to buy fiber to spin!