We will be there with kits, yarn, patterns and fiber in hand. There should be food, spinning wheels, knitting needles and from what I hear a huge selection of Rowan Kidsilk Aura, ahem, you will know where to find me.
I like that this was a quick and simple pattern, knitted flat, and seamed along the back with mattress stitch. I made a few small changes for sizing really. After finishing the thumb tip you are instructed to pick up and knit the cast on stitches at the base of the thumb to close the gap. I picked up fewer stitches than required as I wanted the circumference of the palm to be a bit more narrow than the pattern called for.
The mittens seemed sized a bit large for a 2-3 toddlers hand to me and I was knitting at gauge. Who knows wee may have tiny hands? Who is to say what is average.
As for finishing the tip of the mitten, I wanted it to match the bind-off for the tip of the thumb. Instead of binding-off all the remaining stitches, I worked a few extra decrease rows, k2tog, ssk across, then breaking the yarn, drawing it through the remaining stitches and pulling to gather the tip, creating a star-point.
(What is the proper name for this type of bind-off? Anyone?)
I like the result and it seems to be holding up to wee's rejection quite well.
The only problem? Getting the wee one to keep them on!
The turkey is thawing and the bread is baking in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I scurried around like a mouse this morning cleaning, vacuuming and otherwise disposing of, you know the stuff, the bits that just seem to accrue in the oddest of places.
Family comes in tomorrow and a super clean house is always so much more relaxing when welcoming visitors. I actually put a few things away when I have a full house, as it seems so much more clean, roomy and relaxing. Am I the only one that does this? Maybe it is owning a little house syndrome.
And the pumpkin pie mix, not for a pie, but a mix that I make each year that is darned delicious. Throw 1 can of pie mix in with 2 boxes of cream cheese, whip and dip fresh cut apples in and you have a mind blowing, lick the bowl clean, dessert to pick at all day long.
Victor/Victoria has been in good use this morning. Goodness that wheel really wants to spin fine yarn, so I am feeding it some hand-dyed Lincoln, a longwool breed somewhat similar to mohair.
I love grabbing the wee fresh from his crib, throwing a down comforter (now that is actually COLD) on the couch and watching his expressions change as different balloons pass by. And of course the finale - Mr. Claus waving hello.
So tomorrow = Macy's followed by a feast and then off to finish this:
Creating the vintage snow scene and decorating the tree. I was allowed to keep some of the vintage animals from my mother's 50's Christmas display she had as a child in Japan this year. Oh, did you know flickr has a vintage christmas group, yeah me neither.
Weight: a little over 7 pounds on my scale :: 11.5 pounds packed inside the carrying case with all of the attachments tucked in.
Orifice: two choices - a 1/2 inch orifice is fitted with a nylon bushing that if left in place gives you a 5/16" orifice. you can chose between the two by using or not using the nylon bushing.
Color: Birch (also available in Oak finish)
Includes: carry-case, 1 lazy kate, 3 wooden bobbins and guide outlining how to set-up the wheel and get started.
This is my first experience spinning on Louet wheel and the advantages of such a simple and functional system really sing to me. Everything is minimalist, functional and easy to use mechanically.
The wheel takes little set-up, attach the bobbin and flyer and pop on the footman rod to the drive wheel and you are ready to spin right out of the bag. And no oiling, the ball-bearings are ret to go, it easily folds completely in half and is easy to carry about by the leather strap attached above the flyer assembly.
Going for a spin:
I spun and plyed about 70 yards of a domestic wool blend roving for a test run. The orifice was easy to maneuver around given the lack of a flyer hook and the treadling was even and smooth but best operated on a smooth floor (no shag carpets for this baby).
The scotch tension was very touchy and needed little adjustment. With the bobbin half-full I did not need to increase the tension as I often do on the Gem, it just held steady with a nice taught pull to the yarn from the flyer.
I filled two bobbins and placed them over the threaded shafts on the lazy kate. I have never plied on a upright lazy kate before and must say I enjoyed it. The uprights provided just enough drag to prevent tangles and the like when plying at quick speeds.
Spinning was pretty effortless, I was able to do short and long draws and the double treadle made for consistent rotation of the flyer - read no dead spots which might be the case if this little girl where a single treadle.
Upsides to the Victoria:
- Truly portable - seriously.... carrying through an airline terminal and stowing away above your cabin seat kinda portable.
- The flyer and flyer orifice are tilted up towards the spinner making feeding the bobbin a comfortable one for such a petite wheel.
- The flyer shaft is held in place by a small magnet inside the pulley system, which unlike my Gem makes for really quick and easy bobbin changes - read pop-on and pop-off.
- The sliding yarn guides, no pinching or pulling, just push with the tip of your finger to wind the bobbin. The easiest yarn guide system I have run into - Woolee Winder not included of course.
- The bag! - it is truly functional, wear it as a backpack, nap-sack, or carry it like a briefcase it just plain works, plus real pockets for fiber, accessories, zines etc. And better yet, it looks like a pretty decent bag - read not made out of bright metallic post NASA reject material.
Downsides to Victor/Victoria:
- This is an honestly portable wheel and one you will not mind taking with you to spin on as it is a pleasurable and smooth spin for its size, BUT this is not a heavy production wheel or a wheel you want to spend 2 days plying a heavy aran/worsted yarn for that Starmore cable sweater you plan to knit next year.
- Medium to fine yarns are what the ratio's on this wheel are set for - fantastical, slubby, novelty yarns? - not so much.
- The foot treadles are quite small - not conducive to man feet (ahem i refer to mine here), but admittedly i really did not have a problem slipping of the treadles.
Better than a Majacraft Gem?
- Given the small circumference of the Gem's drive wheel, I often feel like a hamster on speed trying to treadle fast enough, even set at the highest ratio, to produce the yarn I want make.
- The delta flyer on the Majacraft wheels have their perks, ease of threading being the greatest, but if you do not sit completely horizontal to the flyer assembly and feed directly into the delta flyer the yarn gives off an annoying vibration in your hand as it passes onto the bobbin.
- I actually found the Victoria much, much lighter and easier to transport both in and out of the bag.
- In order to ply on the Gem you must first reach down and flip the drive wheel band reversing the peddling motion for plying mode, a minor annoyance for some, as the band is hard to pop on and off, but big enough to be listed here for me.
So who would I keep. Tough decision. I am actually still shopping around for a full-sized production wheel and leaning towards double-drive set-ups, so honestly the verdict is still out. BUT - for a portable, public spinning, show friendly wheel, honestly, I would have to go with the Victoria.
This is what happens when a rummage sale takes place and you walk away with a beautiful and otherworldly find for next to nothing.
Can you say, "I just acquired a Schacttable loom, Wolf Pup loom and two warping boards for a pithy little sum of money", three time really fast without letting your voice get to high and squeaky like mine did? If so you are a far calmer and nobler person than I am.
table loom : castle
table loom : metal heedles and fabric beam
table loom : overhead shot of castle
A weaving class has been on my short list of things to do for quite a while now. Our local Fort Worth Weavers Guild is very active and meets quite often offering classes and the like.
Now might just be the time to run and attend a class/meeting or two.
The stars seem to be aligning lately. I had just ordered flax top for spinning in an attempt to educate myself on the process. Now it seems I might be able to spin flax for the weft to weave homespun fabric??
Madelinetosh will now be retailing dyed and un-dyed spinning fibers, spinning wheels and accessories.
I am very excited about being able to share more of my love for spinning with everyone and hope to post a few tutorials on what I have learned by using hand carders, combs and the ungainly niddy noddy soon.
As for fiber, these have popped out of the dyepot here recently:
Wildflower Alpaca Top
Ring of Fire MerinoTop
Cool Hand Luke Merino Top
And a few batts have been blended in the drum carder:
I Want Candy
So, maybe I will find more of an opportunity now to use these lonely little friends more often:
And a big thanks to everyone who came out to visit at the Jenning Street Yarns Trunk Show. It was great to sit, chat and knit with old and new faces alike. I think I see a Fort Worth spinning group in the works soon!