Day 29

'Upcycled' chopstick spindle

‘Upcycled’ chopstick spindle

Last August I made my own handspindle for spinning yarn. I needed something lighter than the ones I had. I scrounged through the house and turned up a small cup hook, a medium length chopstick and a small plastic plug. Because the plug already had a hole in the centre for the chain attachment to fit into, it was an excellent choice for a whorl. It was balanced which is far more important than you’d think for something that needs to maintain a spin for as long as possible. the only downside is that it has a small circumference. this can be fixed with a piece of cardboard but if you put too much weight on the spindle it can effect the thickness of the yarn you spin – very thin yarn will snap if there is too much weight hanging from it.


Handmade handspindle based on the Trindle Spindle.

Anyway, this grew from a small handspindle to researching different types of spinning devices. There are so many more than you think, some of which used some inspired technology that has essentially been lost. For example, in the 1800’s clock makers devised a way for the spun thread to be fed onto the bobbin that automatically moved the yarn backwards and forwards. this allowed the bobbin to be filled evenly and smoothly and saved time because the spinner didn’t have to stop work to progress the yarn from one hook to another along the flyer unit. There has been a recent development in the technology of the flyer that can do this but it costs as much as the cheapest spinning wheel (£200+).


Meccano charka

Not my point. I was going to tell you that I made a slew of devices. A couple of different handspindles, some working models out of meccano of a charka and one of an electricly powered spindle. I made a spinning wheel and a charka out of PVC plumbing pipe. I also made my own electric spinner.


Motorised Meccano spindle

spindle wheel - angle

The PVC spinning wheel waiting for its treadle


PVC Charka

Electric spinners are compact, tabletop devices that have a motor to turn the flyer unit instead of being pulleys run by foot treadle.

It worked quite nicely but only for short periods of time. the motor was not designed to run for long periods of time and the gears kept overheating. As a proof of concept, it was a win.

You’ve seen only a fraction of the projects I have on the needles at the moment. I don’t imagine that I’m alone in this but the more time I spend crafting, the more ideas and desire there is to do more. Everything must be made and created nownowNOW. That’s why I have 1 lace shawl design in the works, 3 other shawl designs demanding attention and a very strong desire to do some yarn spinning. I am hoping that in the next couple of weeks, hubby and I will be able to replace the motor and gears in my spinner so that I can make more pretty pretty yarn. No, I don’t need more projects but I have found that I have to move through the ‘creative cravings’ to produce the work.

Also, I’ve got random flashes of interesting muscle responses in my right hand. It’s not exacty pain but sometimes it feels like the skin has been scalded. it’s just overwork but if i change the craft I’m doing, it changes the muscles that are most in use and eases any problems.

There are two pieces to show you today on the meditation blanket.

Firstly, I finally sorted out the trapezoid but you might not like it. We’re going to use a technique called short rows. Short rows are a way to shape your knitting, or a way to create a shape with your knitting which is what I’m going to do with it and it is exactly what it sounds like – you knit only part of the row, 15 out of 20 maybe, and turn your work to knit back over those stitches. It can be complicated by techniques to disguise the point at which you turn your work but I won’t be bothering with that for this.

Start by casting on 16sts, pick up the 15sts from day 27’s rectangle, 1 in the corner, 15 along the incline edge of day 26’s trapezoid.

Row 1  k30, (sl2, k1, psso), k14

Row 2  k31, turn

Row 3  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k13

Row 4  k30, turn (this will be one stitch further up the incline than worked on row 2)

Row 5  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k12 (slipping the first stitch keeps the gap created by working part rows small)

Row 6  k29, turn

Row 7  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k11

Row 8  k28, turn

Row 9  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k10

Row 10  k27, turn

Row 11  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k9

Row 12  k26, turn

Row 13  sl1, k14, dec2, k8

Row 14  k25, turn

Row 15  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k7

Row 16  k24, turn

Row 17  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k6

Row 18  k23

Row 19  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k5

Row 20  k22

Row 21  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k4

Row 22  k21

Row 23  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k3

Row 24  k20

Row 25  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k2

Row 26  k19

Row 27  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k1

Row 28  k18

Row 29  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso) – 17sts total

cast off

days 27-28

The second piece is a regular, pink trapezoid.

I’m quite pleased how the green piece from yesterday has come out. Well worth the frustration.