Monday, November 26, 2012

Update: What's been up?

Hi everyone!

I'm happy to be getting back onto the blog. It's been a very busy past four/five weeks. A lot has happened that I'm excited to show, so let's get on with it!

1) Elli, came to visit from Germany for three weeks in October so when I wasn't working, we were out exploring the area. We went to the state fair, thrift stores galore, a used book store (more on this next week), had a Halloween get-together, and generally just hung out. Not a ton of knitting got done in this time, which was absolutely appropriate.

That said, no progress was made on the Blue Sweater or the peach wool on the Schacht spindle, and the Emerald sweater is currently on my body and I totally forgot to take the pictures of it.

2) The Houndstooth socks were worked on during knit nights and I cast off the week before last.

Knit in Knit Picks Palette on 2.5mm (US 1?) double points. I don't remember the name of the brand of needles. I bought a bunch of them in Germany, but immediately tossed the packaging.

I decided to do an afterthought heel because I went a little too long on the sole stripes. I'm starting on the second before I place both heels.

The same night I cast off the first, Beth came in with some really cute project bags she was working on and gave them out to us to test. I got this one with what look like falcons on it.

She also sent me the pattern for the bags, which inspired me to take out the sewing machine that my grandmother gave me years ago and which I have never touched. I'll see if I have time this week to set it up and play with it a bit.

3) I was itching for some stranded knitting and wanted to use up my Noro so I started a fair isle cowl.

Knit in Noro Kureyon (crayon) and Knit Picks Palette on a 2.5mm (US 1) circular Addi Turbos needle.

I hand-wound that ball of Kureyon and it shows off most of the colors in the yarn. I'm using up three different greens from my stash of Palette. I really just wanted to use up the yarn that I have.

Using charts from Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting

It's been in another new project bag that I bought at Downtown Knits.

Apparently by Della Q, whom I have not previously heard of but who makes nice bags. It's a simple drawstring closure with a little pocket on the inside. It's done well so far. I'll let you know if it falls apart or anything.

4) The biggest thing that happened concerns the wheel, or more accurately, wheels.

That's right, folks. I have not one, but TWO DODEC spinning wheels. I've taken to calling them The Twins.

The older twin is the one I put together and is the shorter (and wobblier) of the two.

The younger twin is prettier and taller.

I am not generally a namer of inanimate objects, but these are begging to be named. 

Elli took these on as her project while I was at work. We made tons of trips back and forth to hardware store between other errands and outings troubleshooting little problems that arose here and there in the making of the wheels. I am happy to say they are now both (mostly) in working order.

They were both made to the specs and then tweaked to allow smoother spinning. Some of the holes are slightly larger than the instructions specify, and I used longer carriage bolts to get the cog spinning directly above the wheel so that the drive band doesn't slip off.

The wheel is meant to be portable and easily taken apart, which is such a smart feature, as traveling wheels can be quite expensive. That's where I made what I think is the most clever and useful tweak to the specifications.


I replaced the regular nuts on the back of the spindle assembly with wing nuts that I stole from the clamps of my Bond USM. That way, rather than needing a wrench to remove and replace the nuts, I can just use my fingers. I'm forgetful and can just see taking the wheel apart and transporting it to knit night, thinking I can get some spinning in, only to realize that I forgot a wrench and having the parts too loose to spin properly on or getting the nuts too tight and not being able to take it back apart after.

Here's how the wheel looks taken apart.

It's really simple to use and pretty simple to make. Making these (or helping to make these) made it much easier to solve the little problems that arose.

Elli is interested in making more of these, which I'm sure many many young spinners would love to purchase. There are so few options for travel wheels under $300. I'm still working out the kinks as I spin with it and need to ask for permission before we go forward with that. Let me know if you're interested in knowing more about that venture.

5) Yes, I said "... as I spin with it..." which means there is some spinning.

That's a Loop Bullseye batt that I bought last year and have been spinning on another Schacht spindle. The spindle is about full and although I hate to use this batt for practice on the wheel after getting a pretty consistent single on the spindle, but I don't have any other fiber with me except a bamboo/silk blend. I didn't want to fry my brain trying to capture new fiber on a new wheel at once, so I'm holding off on that for now.

I'm still getting the hang of controlling the wheel with the foot pedal and getting a feel for the way the wheel spins. Still, I haven't practiced as much as I probably should to get really comfortable with it.

6) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a convert. I took Elli to a knit night and she had so much fun that she decided to learn to knit too. Mind you, her mother has knit her whole life and she's seen me knitting the whole 2 1/2 years she's known me and we couldn't convince her before now, but she's on a roll.

I started her with a hat as her first project. It was a little frustrating for her at first because it began with ribbing, but she caught on to the decreases really easily, started her second immediately after the first, and took off like wildfire. You can find her and her projects at insomnie on Ravelry.

*phew* That was long. I'm excited for more progress next time! Yay!

1 comment:

Luke SwissalpS Zimmermann said...

Hi, nice wheels.

I've made a similar wheel myself and have found it very much better when I replaced the string footman with a solid rod.
To get the most from a solid footman, the pedal needs to be hinged further toward the wheel so you can use your heel to help push up.

Parafin is probably the most important ingredient on these types of wheels.

I almost envy you for the wing nuts. Had the same idea but couldn't find any yet. Adding some washers will keep the wood in better shape.

Cheers - Luke