Last time we spoke I was going to start refurbishing my newer Ashford Traditional wheel.  On Sunday I took her to pieces:


I covered the leather strip (that connects the treadle to the footman) in a thick layer of beeswax furniture polish and popped it into a plastic bag to soak it in and hopefully recondition the leather. Spares are easily obtainable, but I’d like to use the one that’s on for as long as possible.  Other small pieces I’ve popped away for safe keeping (I hope I can remember where later).

This evening I created a lot of dust:


And made the wood look much better:


I aim to get the wood clean, but not to be too perfectionist, good enough is fine.  I plan to put the wheel back together in order to oil it.  I had thought about doing it while it’s in pieces, but that makes it hard to manage parts that need finishing on all sides.  I’ll use the original bolts (that don’t tighten too well) while I’m oiling it and when it’s all dry I’ll replace them with the new ones.

I’m glad I took the wheel to pieces.  Even though it was put together pretty well, I discovered that a couple of screws had been swapped over.  This hadn’t caused any problems, but it’ll be nice to get it back together correctly and with the new lace flyer installed!

And about time!

So, young lady, what are we going to do with you then?


Yes I know I bought you, oiled your moving parts, gave you a new flyer and drive band, and replaced your bolts so that you weren’t wobbly any more.  But I haven’t cleaned up or polished your wood at all!!!  Yes, I know my children like to use your drive wheel as a ship’s wheel.  I would be feeling a little neglected too!

I’ve got a nice new lace flyer for you, see:


The wood’s not finished yet.  Would you like a new finish to match?  You would?  I was wondering about some decoration?  Perhaps painted flowers?  You’re not sure?  I’m not sure either.  Shall we stick with a couple of coats of the oil I use on the kitchen worktops?  OK then.


Yes I’m a bit worried about the screw/bolt/pin thingy through your hub too.    Shall we just see if we can work around it?  Hmmm, I’ve also spotted that yarn wrapped around your wheel axel.  You’ll have to stop joining in the children’s games and pretending to be a pirate ship!  They haven’t realised you’re a pirate ship?  Well I won’t tell them, we’ll let them work it out for themselves.

Beaded knitting

I’ve started to add the beads to the cowl.  It was quite difficult to know where to start and how to place them.  Should I place them randomly or in a pattern?  I’ve decided to place them in regular pattern because it’s very difficult to create a truly random design.  As I’ve not added the beads onto the yarn already I’m adding them by using a very fine crochet hook to slide the bead onto the live stitch.

Beyond this current round I’ve not made any further decisions.  I’m designing this as I’m knitting it, making it up as I go along.  I’m enjoying the freedom.  There is however one catch: if I make a mistake it’s likely to remain as the yarn doesn’t really like being unravelled.


Finish, start, start!

Sometime ago I dyed some Blue Faced Leicester, hung it up to dry, made the tops into a chain and then started to spin it.  It’s finally finished.  I decided to Navaho ply this and created two skeins.  In total there are about 490 yards:


As I’ve finished lots of projects recently, it’s time to start some new ones.  First I’ve started to spin the last batch of BFL I dyed – this is the pinky-orange tops as a single:


I’ve also started to knit a Moebius cowl:


This final project is being knitted in some Rico Poems yarn.  I bought the yarn because it was in a lovely range of colours and then put it in my stash until I found a project worthy of the lovely yarn.  At least I thought the yarn was lovely until I got it out and tried to use it.

I tried Tunisian crochet with it, worked a few stitches and noticed that the yarn was twisting up, so decided that knitting it would be best.  I rewound the ball and put it into my work-basket. 

A few days later I realised that this was a mistake, the ball was starting to come apart.  I tried to rewind it, then put it into a plastic zip bag for sorting out later.  Later came while staying at my Mum’s.  I fished the yarn out and asked to borrow the ball winder. 

At this stage the ball decided it was going to be two balls, with random loops of yarn in between and twisting around.  It took two knitter’s about half an hour to tame the run-away ball into two neat re-wound balls.

I decided that the new project would be a Moebius cowl.  I found the instructions and a long cord for my needles and cast on (and on).  The cast on was lovely and easy, but the next row was hard work.  However, after a very long time I got through it (though noticed that the yarn was fluffing up from the work, which was surprising for a sock yarn).  Undaunted I’ve carried on and now it’s starting to look rather lovely However, I did notice I had managed to knit two stitches together at one stage, now fixed by dropping the stitches down a few rows and re-working them back up.  The yarn is also still twisting up really badly and periodically I hang the loop of knitting down and gently untwist it (one time I untwisted a little too far and the yarn drafted apart).

I’ve decided after all these problems that this cowl is going to have to look gorgeous.  In addition to the colour I think it needs something glittery, so I’m going to add beads.  What could possibly go wrong (it’s the first time I’ve added beads to knitting)?

Work in progress

Having started January with completed projects, I thought it was time to share things that are on the wheel, spindle, needles or loom.


Clockwise from top left (more or less) are:

  • An alteration to a jumper to make it more suitable for my daughter.  So far I’ve taken most of the blue bands off and repaired the moth holes.
  • Blue BFL singles on the bobbins.  The singles are completed but it’s not yet plied.
  • Shetland and soya fibre drum carded batts and three bobbins of singles.
  • A project to convert some soft-spun chunky singles into three-ply yarn.  I’ve lightly unspun the commercial chunky yarn and turned it into pencil roving that can be drafted and spun finely.  In hind-sight I should possibly have given the chunky yarn to a knitter who would have enjoyed it and bought myself some more top.
  • Soay-cross fibre.  Processed from the raw fleece by me.  I’ve got about 10 oz drum carded.  It needs carding into rolags and can then be spun.  The final destination of this may be a shawl.
  • Jacob yarn.  This is an early yarn of mine – it’s currently being knitted into a shawl (not shown).
  • Chunky orange, blue and red Pie-R-Square shawl.  I seem to have endless balls of this yarn.
  • Pair of socks.  All I need to do is finish off the toes.
  • Spindle spun blue Shetland.
  • (Not shown) Cambridge Beauty overshot weaving that’s currently on my 4-shaft loom.

I think that’s everything.  But there may be another project or two lurking in the bottom of a box.

I’ve got lots to finish off then!