I’ve had fun this summer learning to spin on my Cassandra wheel by JMS Spinning Wheels. Part of the fun is playing with the colors that develop when the wool spins onto the bobbin. Now as I look around my yard, I see so many colorways that I would like to duplicate in yarn. This yarn was inspired by my honeysuckle.
This yarn started as an experiment in using pokeberries as dyestuff (I’ll talk about that more in another post). I also dyed some wool roving using food coloring. After dyeing the wool roving, I hung it up to dry–my, it turned out so bright and pretty!
The next step was to spin the wool onto bobbins. One of the best thing about my wheel is that it came with 8 bobbins and a lazy kate. (I never thought I would need so many bobbins, but it is amazing how many projects you can get going at once!) After the singles were prepared, I plyed them to make the finished yarn, about 450 yards worth.
Pokeberry on the left and food coloring on the right.
Homespun Honeysuckle Skein
I think this project turned out very nicely. This skein is already into the hands of a knitter, so hopefully I’ll have some pictures to show how the yarn works up.
Crazy quilts feed my whimsy gene to a “T,” however, I figured there must be a method to the madness. I discovered I was right! And I found the clues in a book called, “Crazy Shortcut Quilts,” which presents some new techniques to get the magic found in the older quilts. The old crazy quilts used scraps of any size and configuration and color, combining them in random order with no attention to repeating patterns or colors. Additionally, crazy quilts were the first to be “blinged-out” with exotic fabrics, pieces of ribbons and lace, and even beads and baubles.
My dear quilting friend created this quilt for me. I had recently gotten a new sewing machine with lots of decorative stitches which were tremendously fun for decorating the quilt. It is a lovely quilt, as beautiful on the back as the front. It is dear to my heart.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
For my graduation present to myself, I gave myself a lovely spinning wheel. I started spinning yarn this past winter on a drop spindle, but I was finding it difficult with my old, creaky shoulders. I took at spinning class (that is yarn, not bicycles!) at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a great treat; I got to try out some different wheels and learn more about the process. I did some looking around, and I finally settled on this little lovely wheel made by JMS Spinning Wheels.
My well-loved Cassandra spinning wheel
My Cassandra was hand-crafted specifically for me (she is short!). Besides the affordability for a new spinner, what really sold me on this spinning wheel was the small footprint and its sturdiness. It is made with salvaged cherry, pecan, and walnut wood, making it one of the most beautiful and practical pieces of furniture in my house. It came with a lazy kate and 8 bobbins; I never thought I would need that many bobbins, but when you are learning and trying new techniques and wool, they do fill up rather quickly!
Which brings me to another big selling point–the orifice and bobbins on the flyer are already large enough that I will never need to invest in a second flyer (most wheels come with smaller flyers/bobbins and you have to buy the larger size separately). Another point that I really appreciate with this wheel, is that John has designed it so that many parts (some hardware, polyurethane drive bands, and the hemp cord scotch tension band) can be easily replaced if or when needed. The most care it has needed so far is a little oil to keep the footmen from complaining.
John and Cassie at JMS Wheels have been wonderful to work with. Cassie even called me one day to help me figure out what I was doing wrong when I tried to ply 2 singles. I have to say, even though the scotch tension has been a little challenging to get a handle on, this wheel has been amazingly simple to operate and works like a dream! I also joined Ravelry, where JMS Wheels has a group; there I can read what issues and solutions other Cassandra owners may have, plus I get to see what fabulous yarns I can make with my new wheel. Please keep checking back, as I plan to blog about my adventures with my Cassandra!
Gustave Courbet was a French painter from the Realism movement (he would only paint what he could see). He has a remarkable ability to capture the coldness of winter, which, to me, is a rare gift. Brrr….