Monthly Archives: May 2012

The wonder of tools

It always amazes me what you can do, or how much you can get done when you have the right tools. I have owned my wool combs for at least seven years now and I have finally purchased a wool comb clamp.

What on earth is a wool comb clamp? It is a simple tool that holds your wool comb in place so you can pull the fibre off the comb using two hands, and not one. It’s a luxury item if you comb fibre once a year.  It’s a necessity if combed fibre is an essential aspect of your workshop materials — and you are doing it weekly.

Duh.

This is a specially made clamp for my wonderful, hard wearing Forsyth mini wool combs.

In addition to the clamp, I have also added the diz to my repertoire of necessary tools.

In the past I have dissed the diz, thinking it a finicky and unnecessary tool for pulling wool off the end of a comb. But with my hands freed by the wool comb clamp, I suddenly saw the benefit of having a tool that helped to determine the amount of fibre that came off with each tug. And really, why not?

A diz is neither a high-tech or expensive tool. In fact, in my case it’s a large button.

I use that dental floss looped stuff to help feed the sliver of wool through one of the four holes. And man oh man, it makes life so much easier.

What was I thinking? Some kind of Puritan I-don’t-need-fancy-tools, I-can-do-it-the-primitive-way approach.

Well bollocks to that.  It’s nearly magic. I was able to comb up three times the amount I usually do in a sitting, and I wasn’t tired and sore.  When you have the right tools you can get the job done efficiently and effectively.  In so doing you can also minimize wear and tear on your body.  What’s not to like about that?

More photos from workshop in Tlell

This truly is a beautiful part of the world. I took this photo on Saturday morning at about 7am.  The skies were grey, there was a strong wind, and rough seas.  Something about standing on a shoreline with waves crashing in, soothes my soul.  Maybe it’s all the negative ions in the air.

This lovely gal is Elizabeth’s horse, I can’t remember her name.  She’s an absolute flirt. Will run right up to the fence line to say hi, and just as you’re getting ready to take a photo, she coyly turns around.  I was ready for her this time, and got this shot of her on my way back to the guesthouse.

These are newly dyed silk caps drying on my back porch.  I did this low-tech space dying and steamed them in roll-ups.  Silk loves dye so you don’t need too much effort to get a lovely result like above.  Each cap has several layers that get peeled apart and stretched out before spinning.  The multiple colours adds to the spinning pleasure.

Here is my present fleet of spindles.  Most of the ones along the top row are mine, the bottom row and a few on top are the unsold ones.  They will all sell before the summer is out; I am sure of that.  If you want to buy one, just let me know.

Indian Wedding Socks: Complete

Here they are — and I never struggled with SSS (second-sock syndrome).  They were fun and easy to knit.  I like the way the yarn striped throughout.  I couldn’t have planned it better if I had wanted to.

The yarn is from the July 2011 Fibre Club — called Indian Wedding.  I not longer have the tag which describes the fibre content, but it’s merino, silk and bamboo — I think.  It’s amazingly soft, strong and has a terrific sheen.  I blogged about them in earlier posts.  That’s was when I had finished spinning the yarn.  And here’s the post where I started the socks themselves.  Here’s the first one in progress:

And here they are finished:

I like everything about these socks.  The only thing I’d do differently is I’d make them a bit longer.  I had a enough yarn left over, that I could have added another 1 inch on the cuff.  That’s why I am learning how to make socks from the toe-up — so I can be a better judge of how much yarn is left.

They certainly aren’t identical, but they definitely are a matching pair.