October 22, 2009

The Wheel Restored

Wheel restoration

This wheel has done its fair share of traveling. According to Dave (who restored it) it was probably originally made between 1780 and 1820. All I know is that a friend of my mother's found it in the 1970s and had it restored and gave it to her as a gift. After that, it came across the ocean with us, and last year it made the flight across the US and the drive up to NY. Hopefully it'll be settled down for a while now.

So! First things first.
Wheel restoration
You'll notice that there's no flyer/bobbin unit on the wheel. Well, as it turns out this is a quill wheel! Dave made an adorable tiny flyer bobbin that fits on the wheel, but I'm hoping I can learn to spin on the quill. You know how I love a new challenge.

The maidens (the things holding up the quill (that's the pointy thing)) are from another old wheel. The originals were damaged beyond repair and Dave did a wonderful job of finding these replacements and then painting them with the black stripes like the rest of the wheel has.

Wheel restoration
After a good cleaning, the old painting shows through beautifully.

Wheel restoration
Here you can see how people have futzed with the wheel over the years to keep it spinning. The deep, blackened groove is where the axle used to go, but now it sits higher up. Someone at some point put metal supports into the wood.

The wheel alignment is suuuuuper finicky, and I'm going to be fussing with it quite a lot over the coming weeks, but I'm hoping that pretty soon I'll be spinning up a storm on this old beautiful wheel!

Thanks to my Mom for letting me fix it up, and thanks to Dave at The Merlin Tree for doing such a fantastic job on the restoration! I love the wheel and feel so lucky to have it in the house.

October 20, 2009

Rhinebeck 2009!

Yes, we made the trek north again for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. And what a year it was! It was such a good time that I hardly took any pictures, but I have plenty of haul shots to share, not to worry.

It's always a big treat to get to wander among the sheep who grow all the wool for us. Thank you, sheepies! (and shepherds!!)
Big sheep!
(this photo doesn't begin to capture the enormity of this Rambouillet ram. He's HUGE!)

The Ravelry meetups are also a blast.
Ravelry meetup
(thanks for this photo, E!)

And it is was great to catch up (in the rain and frrrreezing cold) with Ysolda. (Her Vivian design from fall 2008 Twist Collective was a very popular sweater at this year's fest!)

And that's where my actual Rhinebeck shots end. Sad, no? Next year I'll try to take more pictures. The knitwear spotting was fabulous and I wish I had caught more (any??) of the beautiful sweaters in photos.

I came home with everything I wanted, and stuck well to the shopping plan. Hurray!!

Briar rose lace
Braving the early Saturday morning crowds in the Briar Rose tent rewarded me with this beautiful slate green merino/tencel laceweight.

Ruit farm yarn
And holy Coopworth. This pile of yarn comes from two farms in Maine that shared a booth at the festival, and both farms raise the longwool breed Coopworth. I wish you could feel this yarn! It counts as next-to-skin soft in my family!
The naturally dark brown yarn comes from Hatchtown Farm (4 skeins) and the natural silver/pewter comes from Ruit Farm North (10 skeins!). Lots and lots of 2 ply dk weight fun in my future!!

I decided that I was allowed to buy one really special fleece for myself, and so parked myself in line for the opening of the fleece sale. I knew it would be crowded, but I wasn't quite prepared for the Filene's Basement style of the opening moments of the sale.
Fleece sale
Phew! But everyone was courteous and even kind. People seemed genuinely happy for one another when they found what they wanted!
And boy did I ever find what I wanted.
Rhinebeck 2009 fleece
Check out that beauty. Four pounds of merino, dark dark dark brown (almost black in sections), cleanest fleece I've seen in a long time, and with an incredible staple that ranges from 2 to just over 3 inches! AMAZING. Not a hint of tipping or matting, almost zero VM, thoroughly skirted, and did I mention the staple length??
fleece staple
Swoon. And that isn't even one of the longer locks.
Sadly I forgot to write down the name of the farm before checking out, and they collect the tags with the farm names for the sale records, so I'll never know where this beauty came from. (Unless one of the ladies hovering behind me eyeing the fleece at the sale stumbles across the this post and happens to remember!)

The real highlight of the weekend for me was picking up the spinning wheel I dropped off for restoration at LAST year's Rhinebeck.
Wheel restoration
I am so thrilled and can't wait to tell the whole story of this wheel, but really - she deserves her own post. Check back for the saga of this late 18th century Norwegian wheel and her wonderful restorer, Dave of The Merlin Tree.