Friday, September 25, 2009

New Spinning Wheel "Little Lamb"

I've been wanting a new spinning wheel for a while. It's not that I don't love my Babe, but I wanted one with a more traditional look that I could possibly take to Renaissance Fairs. I also wanted a second wheel so I could teach others how to spin even when they didn't have a wheel.

With all the types and brands of spinning wheels available today, I was overwhelmed with the choices. I narrowed it down to a castle wheel with a large orifice. That still left me with half a dozen choices from the Majacrafts to the Country Spinner. One being too expensive, and the other not very pretty.

Luckily, I had gone to a fiber festival and saw a neat little wheel that a woman was using. I had never seen it before and asked her what it was. Yes, I know a spinning wheel, but what brand is what I meant. She kindly told me that it was handmade by a gentleman in Missouri and proceeded to give me a brochure. Since he's such a small producer, he didn't even have a website. I didn't think much about the little wheel for a couple of weeks until I saw the flyer again when I was cleaning and took a closer look. It was a castle, check. It's orifice is larger for bulky yarns, check. Hmm. . .

My mother-in-law kindly emailed the gentleman to get more information. You see, she wanted it to be a Christmas/birthday gift for me. It was to my great surprise that this wheel is not only $100 cheaper than other big brands, but comes with several excellent accessories such as a lazy Kate and an orifice hook. Safe to say, I was ensnared.

As soon as I got the wheel in my house, I broke her down to stain. I immediately noticed that since it was oak, it was considerably heavier than most other wheels. In my mind, this is a bonus with the kiddos running into it. It also won't slide around easily on my wood floors.

I also found out that he adds little acorn details to the knobs. This dates backs to English as a sigh for good luck. A good part of my heritage dates to England, so this was a wonderful surprise. Unfortunately, I had to completely change how I was going to stain the wheel. I originally wanted a red and black theme, but the acorns had me hooked.

The wood took the stain wonderfully. I used three different colors to obtain a aged look. It took two days to stain, dry, seal, dry, oil/grease, and reassemble the whole thing back together.

Spinning is very easy with a heal to toe pressure. The orifice is huge and accommodates my art yarns well. It has four hooks to change between rather than eight. My only complaint would be that the bobbin doesn't hold as much as my Babe wheel. It's a small sacrifice for such a beauty.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Local County Fair Fun

I recently entered many items into the county fair here in my home town. I haven't had anything in a fair since I was in 3rd grade. Back then, I had drawn a ghost mansion with ghosts and black cats poking around the corners. My mother still has it framed in the kids room at her house.

I finally decided to try it out and enter a few things that I had lying around. Funny that I would have these things just strung out throughout the house, but that is the life of a fiber artist. I downloaded the application and found out that there weren't very many categories specifically realted to knit/crochet and none what so ever for handspun. Basically there was handmade baby afghan, knit clothing, crochet clothing, and regular afghan. Well, I don't regularly make full size afghans, but I have the other categories. So, I blindly took my children and articles up to the building where I thought I was suppose to drop them off and labeled them accordingly, then I handed off my precious treasures to an unknown woman hoping that it wouldn't be the last time I saw them.

The next weekend, my family and I toured all the exhibits and I surprisingly found out that my baby bonnet and hair pin lace tank won forst and my shawl pin and baby afghan won second! I was overjoyed. It was nice to know that my work was appreciated in some way.

After picking up all my treasures, plus a $5 winning check I happily brought my goodies home. The baby afghan I wrapped up for my former teacher who had recently had her first baby girl. I also gave her the ribbon as a reminder.

While it was intimidating to enter all the goodies, I really felt that it helped my feel good about the things I had made. We all get frustrated sometimes while making something especially when we drop a stitch or loose count. The beauty of the garment is that we make it with love and with our own to hands.

I can't wait until next year when I'll get to enter more things and hopefully talk my friends to entering some items as well.