Carding Wool

This week I sat down to watch my DVD on Carding Wool. The DVD has four professional individuals with many years of experience between all of them carding fiber. While watching the DVD I spent some time working on my carding skills. Trying the different ways these four individuals performed their carding routines. I finally tried doing rolling the rollags of the carders as was demonstrated in the DVD with some success. Practice is going to be the main objective here. It is still easier for me to just roll it off the carder with both hands.

In August 2014 I also volunteered and participated in the Sheep to Shawl demonstration at the Ohio State Fair in the sheep barn. This was to be my first time carding in public before many spectators who also came to watch the sheep shearing contest in the same ring. It was a little intimidating at first; however, once everyone who was spinning, weaving, winding bobbins, and carding got going everything lightened up. Thanks to Kathleen, one of our guild members, for helping me learn to be a better carder. There was a lot of spinning, weaving, and shearing going on that day and everyone had a lot of fun. Even the individuals that stopped by for the shearing competition and spinning/weaving demonstration seemed to have a lot of fun watching and learning the process of from Sheep to Shawl. Sure it is a lot of work; but it is also a lot of fun to do something you love doing and learning at the same time.

Now I need to get going and get the eight sheep fleeces that are scoured (washed) carded and spun into some wonderful yarn to make some wonderful knit and woven items.

Carding Wool

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Gearhart Circular Sock Knitting Machine

Last year at the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio I saw a friend of mine, Toya of VonStrohm Woolen Mill & Fiber Arts Studio/Von Strohm Quilting and Fiber Studio, was actively using her circular sock knitting machine in her vendor area. It was really cool looking not to mention the great looking socks that she was making on this machine.

I was able to find not one but two Gearhart Circular Knitting Machines online and purchased both. Did I mention that they were both made of cast iron from back in the day!! Woohoo. Well, I traded one machine for a Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom and a Ribber to go on my Studio Knitting Machine. More to come on those items later. With a lot of guidance and encouragement from Toya, I have the second machine restored and ready to use. It is so exciting to have one of these historical machines up and ready to make some socks. From what I understand, these machines were used back around WWI and/or WWII to make socks for our military men fighting over in Europe to keep their feet warm. It is so exciting to have one of these machines restored and ready to use to create some gorgeous socks. Keep watching as I continue my journey on learning to make socks on this Gearhart Circular Sock Knitting Machine.

Cast Iron Gearhart Sock Knitting Machine

Spinning Wheels Part II

My two other spinning wheels include the Lendrum Original (Double Treadle) and the Blue Bonnet Honey Bee (Double Treadle). I initially started out with the Honey Bee.

Blue Bonnet Honey Bee (Double Treadle)

Then a friend from our local spinning and weaver’s guild was telling me about her Lendrum Original and how much she liked spinning on it. Next thing I know there was a Lendrum at my house.

Lendrum Original (Double Treadle)

Then came my ultimate favorite my Aunt Caroline’s Ashford Traditional spinning wheel.

Aunt Caroline's Ashford Traditional (Single Treadle)

Spinning Wheels

Well I now have three spinning wheels. My most prized one is the Ashford Traditional which belonged to my fabulous, funny, and always loving Aunt Caroline. While we were talking about it last year, she mentioned that it had a piece broken on it. I had said it wouldn’t be too hard to get it back up and running. Unfortunately Aunt Caroline passed away earlier this year. After talking with my cousins, Kathleen and Dean, I was able to get the spinning wheel. It has been fixed, spit shined, and works wonderfully. I have been using it more than my other two wheels. My Aunt Caroline would be so tickled to see the fiber that I have been spinning and so glad to see the wheel up and running. Come to think of it, her favorite color was Red. So the hunt will be on to find the special Red fiber to spin on this wheel to make something special in her honor.

Aunt Caroline's Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel

My Lendrum Spinning Wheel

It is so exciting to finally be learning to spin fiber on both a drop spindle and now on an actual spinning wheel. I am hoping to start spinning on my Lendrum Spinning Wheel so that I can get enough fiber spun to learn to ply. It is exciting to know that soon I will be able to finally make a project from my first batch of homespun yarn. My hopes are to make a scarf and hat set with my first batch. Then there is also my weaving loom which I want to make weave something fabulous on in the near future. I do have several balls of single ply yarn that I have made on my drop spindle. I may use that as a start to learning to ply.

Although one of my female dogs loves to roll in all the fiber when mom isn’t looking. I think she likes the smell of the fiber. Now if I could just convince her to work the treadles on my spinning wheel for me.

Hopefully I will have photos up tomorrow of the wheel, spindle, and some of the single plys that I have made on the drop spindle.

Stay tuned for further adventures on my road to learning to spin various types of fibers.

Nancy B.