Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

So back in February my Daughter in-law, found me this cool little antique spinning wheel. So now I've been closely watching places like eBay and Craigslist for spinning wheel parts that might work in the restoration of my great little wheel.  So I'm still trying to find the parts I need, but instead in June I found this wheel:
It's a wonderful working antique probably originally from Quebec. It seems to be more unusual than I thought, as the wheel is bigger than an average Saxony style wheel, but does not have enough of the right characteristics to be a "Canadian Production wheel" She is quite a bit larger than the little black wheel.

She is intact, and spins like a dream!  One of things I think is really cool is the way the hooks are half worn through with use:

I love this new wheel too.  But I continued to search for parts for the old black wheel, and I tripped over this cool little Spanish Wheel:
 This wheel is quite unusual, as there is very little lathe work. The only really round pieces on the wheel are the bobbin and the large wheel.  The rest is cut wood. And I've never seen a flyer constructed this way:
 It looks as if it's been steamed and bent into a curve, rather than cut in the U shape as most flyers are.  If you look closely at the grain you can see how it bends around the U!  I love this wheel for it's rusticness, and unusual qualities.  I also love that it may be tied to early California history, which is my history, going back to some early Spanish settlers!
       I really do not have space in my home for any more spinning wheels.  I hope I can find the parts I need before the wheels take over my home, and push me into the street!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Car Fell Down!

A couple of days ago, I was driving in the car with my 4 year old Granddaughter, Emma, when I spotted a person in a large heart costume, near a church.  I’m guessing she was promoting the “Love Modesto” campaign that is becoming an annual thing in April.  So I pointed out to Emma, “see Emma, a giant walking heart” It had a smile face on it an everything.  I was committed a left turn, and so we turned away from the heart.
    Well, Emma REALLY, REALLY, wanted to meet the heart, and take it home with her.  She thought having a Giant walking heart to play with would be very cool.  I tried to explain that we could not take the heart home, but we could go and meet it, and maybe take a picture with it. 
    So I turn the car around and went back to find the heart.  By then it was all the way to and around the corner of a busier road.  So I made a right onto that road, and luckily there was a turnout right there that looked like a safe place to park, and talk to the Heart.
    No sooner did I get stopped, than I heard a noise, sort of a dull thud, and looked up front to see the undercarriage of a minivan, across the sidewalk, about 100 ft. in front of me. I did not see how it came to be there, just watched it settle to the ground.  OK, this is NOT good...  The Heart was running to the van, to help, and pealed off her costume.  Emma was heartbroken that it was a girl in a heart costume.  She was more indignant about it not being a real heart, than she was disturbed by the wreck in front of us.  Not wanting to leave Emma alone in the car, and seeing that there were plenty of people going to the van to help, I chose to stay in my car with Emma and call 911.  It sounded like I may have been the first to call, and the operator said she would send all emergency vehicles, police, ambulance, and fire. 
    So after sitting and watching until a tow truck arrived, I realized that I was going to be in the way, and so we left.  After all, I had not seen how it had  happened, and would be of no use as a witness, or anything else, since I did not want to risk frightening Emma by leaving her alone in my car.  By the time I got around the block again, all emergency vehicles were there. 

    So later I was telling the story to my Hubby, and Emma's parents. I let Emma help me tell the story.     Emma’s version was cute.  She said we saw a giant walking heart, and that a car “fell down” in front of us, and the heart was really a girl in a fake heart costume.  "and I wanted her to be a REAL walking Heart"  She also told that Grandma had called 9-1-1.  And now she knows that if a car “falls down” front of her, she should call 9-1-1.  Also would Mommy please make her a giant walking heart to play with?

Friday, February 17, 2012


My daughter in-law called me last night, saying she'd found a spinning wheel at the local thrift shop.  It had seen some use, did I want it?  The Price $50.  A Couple of camera phone photos and quick conversations later, (as it was closing time) and  I am now the proud owner of an old spinning wheel.  I had some doubts, but the price was right, and I've often hoped to find such a wheel.

Then when I saw it for the first time, I wondered if this was a mistake, No treadle or footman, no flyer, the bobbin is in really rough shape, and the end of the shaft on the wheel is bent.  I doubt she will ever spin without some expensive restoration, that I just cannot afford right now.

Bent axle extension

bobbin and bobbin shaft

Then in the process of cleaning and inspecting her, I found stamped into the base, a date. 1797!

Well, no wonder the girl was in rough shape!  I'd be lucky to look this good at  215 years old!!  She's seen some rough days, but I think she merits a place in my home.  Wow, never ever thought I'd find something this cool.

Check this out, the bobbin shaft has this tiny orifice carved into it:,
and it is made of wood!  it is also broken, about half the length it should be.  I feel it speaks to the ingenuity of our pioneer ancestors that it was ever created. 

I think she bears more research. The name stamped on her is illegible.  It looks something like this
 S_ _ MFS, The F may also be an E.  and the 1797 on the other side of the tension knob.
If anyone out there knows something more about this wheel and would like to share, I'm all ears!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Hat Recipiant

I added an airplane button last minute.
My Grandson, likes the hat!

That makes a Happy Grandma too!
You know, once in a while there is a project that tickles me more than I would expect. This is one of those.  It was fast and easy, not a heavy duty lace or cable or weird construction, and yet it tickles me more than some of those large complicated projects I've done.  Go figure. I've written up the pattern here,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Julie's Highway Hat

I heard this hat described on a Savvy Girls podcast(episode 59).  I thought it sounded both very cute and easy to do.  After searching Ravelry, and a little experimenting, I have come up with my interpretation of the "Highway Hat".    

Materials needed:

Cascade 220 superwash, or other light worsted weight, in small amounts of green, black yellow and sky blue.
One skein of each will make two or three hats, possibly more, I haven't tried to measure that closely.

US size 7 dpns or circulars, according to your preference (dpns, two circ's or magic loop)

a couple of race car buttons.  (I found mine on clearance at my local,  Jo-Ann  fabric and craft store.) or other car or truck buttons or pins, according to your preference.

Size: child, I made it for my grandson,  finished measurements were about 18 inches around and 8 inches tall.

Gauge: 5 stitches and 6 rows to the inch, measured over St St.

Using green, loosely Cast-on 92 stitches, join into a circle, being careful not to twist, and work in k2, p2, for 10 rounds.

Change to St St, increasing 3 sts evenly spaced around (95 sts)
Work 4 more rounds St St, and break green yarn

Change to yellow and knit 1 round, break yarn

Change to black and knit 5 rounds, do not break yarn

Add yellow, and work round as follows: (k2 black, k3 yellow) around, break yellow yarn

Knit 5 more rounds in black, break yarn

Change to yellow and knit 1 round, break yarn

Change to light blue, and knit 11 roounds, do not break yarn

Add yellow, and knit 2 rounds as follows: k3 blue (k1 yellow, k4 blue) around to last 4 stitches, end with k1 yellow, k1 blue. Be sure to carry unused yarn LOOSELY on the wrong side

Next 2 rounds: k2 blue, (k3 yellow, k2 blue) around to last 3 st, end with k3 yellow. break blue yarn

1st dec round: using yellow, (ssk, k3) around (76 sts)
 Work 2 rounds even

2nd dec round: ssk, k2 around (57 sts)
Work 1 round even

3rd dec round: ssk, k1 around (38 sts)
Work 1 round even

4th dec round: ssk around (19 sts)
5th dec round: ssk around, end round k1 (10 sts remain)

Break yarn, and draw  through remaining stitches to finish off.

Weave in remaining ends, and sew buttons onto roadway.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thank You Lucy!

As I've been working on getting a written pattern together for my favorite Pinwheel Baby Blanket, and one of the things I am struggling with is how to write instructions for my favorite version of the "provisional crochet cast on".

The original way I learned the crochet cast on, you chain the number of stitches you wish to cast on, and then pick up those stitches trough the back loops with your knitting needle.  It works, but there is always the chance I need to chain a few more at the end, because things tighten up as I pick up the stitches, and that I will split the yarn as I pick up my stitches.

In my favorite version of the crochet cast on, you make your loops around your knitting needle as you go, and when you are finished, you are ready to knit your first row. No extra counting, and no split yarn when you pick up the stitches.

So I did a search on YouTube, and I found that Lucy Neatby, (knitter and teacher extraordinaire) has already done a video for me!  So check it out.
Thank You Lucy!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I drove up to Eureka yesterday to attend a workshop at the North Coast Knittery with Franklin Habit The Panopticon, on  "Photographing Your Fiber".   It was a lovely drive and the workshop well worth while. I took with me a couple of projects that have given me a hard time, one way and another, and came home with great new knowledge and some photographs I'm happy with!  

 We learned basic photography skills, and some cool inexpensive ways to maximize whatever lighting conditions we have to work with.   

See!  beads!  you can actually see the beads on my shawl!  I was a little discouraged as I practiced photographing this shawl, but when I got my photos home, and could look at them on the larger display of my computer, there they were....Beads! 

If you get an opportunity to take this class with Franklin, I recommend taking it!  Franklin is both fun and informative, not to mention nice.