TdF 2017 final

I spun a few extra days and then plied for about a week to finish up all my TdF yarn.  It’s pretty impressive now that I see it all together and done.


  1. 144 yards of super bulky brown CVM
  2. 535 yards sportweight Polwarth
  3. 127 yards of sportweight Hampshire. Spindle spun but only half of it during TdF. I never got to the darker purple that’s in the pic.
  4. 527 yards of sportweight Merino. The carded waste in the pic got tossed. It was horrible when spun.
  5. 240 yards of sportweight Cormo. There’s a lot more of this fiber to spin. I just didn’t get any more than this prepped before TdF.
  6. 48 yards of super bulky Corriedale combing waste.
  7. 215 yards sportweight Corriedale, plus another 310 yards spun pre-TdF and plied during my massive plying session after TdF. I have more of this fiber already spun for a total of 1504 yards. And that’s not even half of this fleece.
  8. 642 yards of sportweight Shetland/Corriedale lamb.





The last 3 of Corriedale skeins were also solar dyed. They started out that paler purple and I tossed them in a big pickle jar with more purple dye and left it out in the sun for a day. Easiest dyeing I’ve ever done. When the jar was finally in the shade I brought it in, rinsed and finished the skeins. The dye did break and/or dye unevenly but I like it. These skeins are different than the rest so I may use them in different projects or maybe use the uneven skeins to spice up an edging on something made using the more uniform skeins. I have much to ponder about using this yarn.

I’m thinking of dyeing 3 skeins or the Shetland/Corriedale lamb teal and 1 skein brown (leaving the last skein to be dyed later for whichever color I may need more of) and knitting a Hap style shawl. I haven’t found a pattern I like so I’ll probably design it myself.

My wheel has been in use for all but two of 32 days straight and on those two days I spindle spun/plied. I hadn’t touched my knitting in two months until yesterday (because of prepping in the month before TdF).

It’s definitely time to knit.  And ponder what to do with all my new yarn.

Looking back over the list.  It seems that my default weight is sport, no matter how hard I try to get it thinner to make fingering weight.  I think it’s part me and part that my wheel just won’t let me go thinner.  I can’t adjust the uptake enough to go thinner.  Part of that is the warped wheel and part is that it’s double drive.  It’s a fine line between too much uptake to spin thinner and not enough tension on the band (which causes the wheel to throw the band off every 10 seconds and I’m not exaggerating.)



Plying on antique spinning wheels

I have only one working wheel, an antique double drive.  She’s got her quirks but she spins what I want to spin.  One of her quirks is that she absolutely despises spinning counter clockwise.  She will throw the drive band every 5 seconds and that’s not an exaggeration. This makes plying….difficult, if not impossible.

I can’t take credit for this solution.  I first saw it on the Ravelry group Antique Spinning Wheels.

I have a special longer plying drive band.  It’s longer, because I have to add twists at the bobbin and whorl to allow them to turn counter clockwise while the wheel spins clockwise.

The first picture is my normal spinning drive band.  The next two are different angles of the plying drive band.  Notice that it is twisted so that the parts that come up and over the top of the wheel are away from me as I sit at the wheel, while the parts that go under the wheel are closer to me. This is how it works for me and the alignment of the whorl/bobbin to the wheel (which is slightly off and the wheel is slightly warped too.)  I don’t think it really matters which way it’s twisted as long as the twist is there.

I use cotton yarn as a drive band, nothing special.  This just happens to be some I dyed and didn’t like the colors.

I do advise moving the MOA as close to the wheel as possible while you put on the drive band.  It’s pretty fiddly to get to sit just right, at least for me.

The drive band that is not in use is just tied up and left to hang from the upright, out of the way but handy for when I want to switch.

Spinning Wheel Spa Day


Today was spa day for my wheels.  I took them out in the backyard and took them apart as much as possible.  Then I applied a generous amount of boiled linseed oil.  The boiled part is very important.  Let them sit at least an hour and wipe off the excess oil and put them back together.

The dark wheel is my working wheel. It’s an antique from the 1850’s (I think), bought at an estate sale. This is the second time I oiled it (I first did it in the Spring) and I actually applied two coats.  It was so dry when I got it that it was grey.  I lemon oiled it then (Summer of 2015) and used it over the Winter before I learned about boiled linseed oil.  Today’s first coat was nearly soaked in after an hour so I did another one.  I’ll probably need to oil this one twice a year for the foreseeable future.

The other two are the broken flyer wheel (Also an antique from the 1850’s , bought on Craigslist) and the baby wheel (Vintage, perhaps 1960-70’s, and another estate sale.)  They both have decent finishes and I’ll probably never oil them again, just dusting with a damp cloth when needed.  My husband swears he can fix the broken flyer and it also needs a few other minor fixes.  The baby wheel is for display only.  It could work if I added hooks to the flyer but I’d have to treadle like mad to get any twist.

I like to do this out in the backyard so I don’t have to be careful with the oil.  I can just slop it on and wipe it over everything and who cares if it drips on the grass.  And I can also throw the rags right in the firepit when I’m done.  I’ve read warnings that the rags are prone to spontaneous combustion so I figure that’s the safest place for them.

Also be aware that the wheels will smell like the oil for awhile and will also be oily to the touch.  Generally it takes a week for both the smell and the oily feeling to go away.  I won’t spin on the working wheel til then.

I have one other wheel, from Craigslist but I don’t count it.  It’s vintage, at best, and very likely someone’s shop class project.  But it’s got parts that my husband can use for one of the wheels he’s promised to build for me. One of these days I need to take it apart so it’s easier to store.  I’ve already got 2 wheel that live in the living room (broken and baby) and I’m going to need room soon for the Christmas tree.  The working wheel lives in my workroom upstairs.

In case anyone’s wondering, I’ve thought about naming my wheels with human names as so many spinners do but nothing’s come to me yet. So descriptive names it is.  Although Baby wheel might just keep that as it’s name.  It’s so adorable.