Older and Better – antique sock machine and revisiting projects

By far, the biggest thing to happen in August was this Circular Sock Machine.  I’d been looking casually for one for a year or so but finally put the word out that I was in the market. The goal being to use up some handspun because I spin much more and faster than I knit or weave.

Within hours, an acquaintance said she had been thinking of selling hers. We talked it over for a couple of weeks while she finished up one more project and then on Aug 13th, we went and picked it up.  I’d never laid hands on a CSM in my life but I have used a flatbed knitting machine that I had to refurbish before I used it and already hand knit.   I also enjoy a challenge – which most people warned me this would be.  Everyone kept saying “there’s a big learning curve!” and there is but it’s no more difficult than learning to service vintage sewing machines. In fact, a lot of the logic process transfers across especially when troubleshooting tension or dropped stitches. Continue reading Older and Better – antique sock machine and revisiting projects

My Own Way to Roll – spinning hacks and the 2022 TdF

Part of July and sometimes August of most years in this house is dedicated to the Tour de Fleece.  It’s a 23 day annual event where we spinners sort of mirror the Tour de France.  We spin the same days, take the same rest days and have challenge days.  It’s a great chance to dedicate some time to spinning and other related crafting.  This year, there was the regular race and the women’s race so we spun from July 1 to the 31st. It’s a great opportunity to try to clear a few UFOs.

I also thought I’d post a few of my new “spinning hacks” and my new favourite tool off the lathe in this post.

A cotton sweater about half knitted. Some white, green and purple rolags and some silver and red cotton sliver and punis share a photo with some hand cards and a book charkha.
A cotton sweater about half knitted. Some white, green and purple rolags and some silver and red cotton sliver and punis share a photo with some hand cards and a book charkha.

Here’s what I committed to working on for this year’s TdF.

From the top:

  • A cotton sweater with yarn I over-dyed last year.  The original colorway was “Desert” and I added a Jeans blue to get this much more comfortable for me colour.  It changes a lot in various lights.  This is outside and relatively true to colour here.  It was an unofficial goal but I’d had it on the needles for a year. It was time.
  • Some Merino/Tencel rolags in white/green/purple. I began calling this one “Grape Vines” somewhere along the way.  These are the only rolags I’ve ever bought – usually I make my own but this was a few years ago and a great experience in spinning other people’s preparations.
  • Then the last fibre is cotton. Continue reading My Own Way to Roll – spinning hacks and the 2022 TdF

Cross arm spindle care tips

Back at the end of June, I was contacted by the Edmonton Fibre Frolic asking if I would like to provide 3D printed cross arm (AKA Turkish) spindles for their first Fibre Soiree. I contributed to the Curated Spinner’s box.  This is the colourway I had to work with.

It’s an event going on as this post publishes.  So hello to all of the Fibre Soiree’s new spindlers/spinners!

On the tags I attached to the spindles, I said the following:

In case the image is too hard to read, here it is: Continue reading Cross arm spindle care tips

Pushing Forward Back – or something like that

Some of you may have noticed I have updated Archaic Arcane’s banner at the top of the site. I’ve put it on a rotation with the old banner, so here it is again if you see the old one above.

This came about finally due to a project I’m working on right now but realistically, I’ve been wanting an actual logo for almost 10 years.

I let it marinate in my mind and would periodically think about it but nothing really spoke to me.  Then at the beginning of July, I began a collaboration project.  I can’t say much about it until later in the month but one of the things they asked for was a copy of my logo in PNG format and a transparent background.

Whoops! I guess I better make one? They’re going to want business cards too, aren’t they?  Oh boy. Nothing like a little pressure to spur some action! Continue reading Pushing Forward Back – or something like that

Known Unknowns – Learning what we can from unlabelled skeins of yarn with a little math

A couple of months ago, I attended a Fibre Mart at the local weaver’s guild.  As always seems to happen, I came home with way more than I’d planned on but I also came home with a couple of unlabelled skeins of things.

A basket full of Spinning and weaving books, weaving cottons, linen, silk brick, quivit, cashgora and other fibres
A basket full of goodies! Spinning and weaving books, weaving cottons, linen yarn, silk brick, qiviut (Muskox down), cashmere, cashgora and other fibres. All of it – including the basket – cost me less than the price of 7 cones of 8/2 weaving cotton and I came home with way more than 7 cones worth!

Like these ones.

I can tell based on the feel, shininess,  drape, “squeakiness” and how it sticks to my dry hands that it’s likely a silk yarn but I can’t use it before I know how much yardage I have. In general, a wraps per inch (WPI) measurement and more specifically maybe even a grist would also be helpful.

A friend has started referring to me as a technical spinner and a technical knitter, so what the heck – let’s embrace this just for a moment.

No wait!  Come back! Continue reading Known Unknowns – Learning what we can from unlabelled skeins of yarn with a little math

Ember: wood and fi(b)re

Late March already? How did that happen? Tonight, another spring storm is set to roll in. The forecast is for 10-20cm (4 – 8″) of snow. There are already snow piles in our yard that are taller than me. It’s been a long winter. As usual when the pressure is changing, I’m restless and achy at the same time – which is why I’m writing a post at 3:46am. Winters like this, it’s hard to feel guilty about spending your time inside on comfort projects.

Continue reading Ember: wood and fi(b)re

Just This Side of Sane – 2021 Wrap Up

Happy 2022 everyone!

For the second year in a row, I think most of us were pretty happy to see the back end of the past year.  It was a challenging year here.

I do like these year in review posts – even if they don’t tend to be that popular.  They help me to see that I wasn’t idle after all.  It seems like the winter can be a hard time to change years.  It’s dark and cold (up here anyway!) and what the heck did I even accomplish anyway?

What indeed.

There were more blog posts than usual Continue reading Just This Side of Sane – 2021 Wrap Up

Reader Mail – January 2022 edition – Slant-o-matic spring gone rogue

Probably every couple of years, I get this question.  It goes something like this:

“I opened up the top of my machine, and I found a spring laying in the bottom.  Where does it go? ”

The machines in question are usually the Singer 401/403/500/503/411/421/431 and some of the related machines.

This is what the spring looks like.

Continue reading Reader Mail – January 2022 edition – Slant-o-matic spring gone rogue

Never Know Unless You Give It A Try – Replacement Featherweight Bobbin Cases

Around 2 months ago, I received 3 Singer featherweight 221/222 (and 301) bobbin cases from my Canadian parts supplier.  The cases varied in quality and perhaps accordingly in price.  They’re also 3 of the cases most commonly seen in the wild when someone goes looking for a featherweight bobbin case.  Like me, you’ve probably read a lot about variable quality and about some not fitting at all, some stitching out poorly and other issues.

The purpose of ordering the 3 bobbin cases was to investigate why there were so many issues with some cases and if anything could be done once you got the “wrong” case.  (Caution: Long “shoot out” style post warning! You’ll also want to click on pictures to view the bigger versions.  It will probably make what I’m saying a lot clearer. )

3 different Singer 221/222/301 bobbin cases as they arrived here in July.

Initially, I’d planned only to evaluate 2 cases – the Korean made Towa and the Japanese made Towa case but Continue reading Never Know Unless You Give It A Try – Replacement Featherweight Bobbin Cases

The DIY electric weaving bobbin winder – a tale in two acts… Act 3

Mostly a little update really.  Earlier this summer I finally got out to the garage and spent a little time in serious negotiations with my router.  In exchange for it not killing me, I promised to… well not get hurt, I guess? I mean really, what’s my bargaining chip here?

The wood pieces look better now – though far from perfect.  The router and I don’t get along well.  Continue reading The DIY electric weaving bobbin winder – a tale in two acts… Act 3

My thoughts and revelations on the skills of yester-year