January 11, 2011

NEXT MEETING: January 26, 2011 7:00 PM

Wheel Maintenance and Other Interesting Things You Should Know About Your Spinning Wheel
with Will Taylor

Who better to tell us how to bring our equipment up to snuff than our own Will. Besides the fact that he's never seen a wheel he didn't want to collect [just ask Kate], Will also knows the mechanics of wheels inside and out. This month he will give us info on how to do basic maintenance, how to keep them running smoothly, and how to trouble shoot problems.

Bring your wheels, especially if they need some tweeking, your oil bottle, thread if you want to change out your drive band, and a rag or two to keep things neat. [Remember, the library is carpeted]. Will's not here to spend an hour trying to get your particular out-of-whack wheel running, but to give us basic, step-by-steps of what we should be doing for our wheels on a regular basis.

Show & Tell of our Fiber Exchange from last August.
After much begging from un-named members, we decided to postpone this from January to the February meeting. No more excuses!

Fiber From China by Vilija
I have begun a sweater with Jojoland Melody superwash, a sock weight wool yarn that I rather liked, but did not notice that the yarn was made in China till well into the project. Being a bit leery because of some of the chemical related problems that have come out of there in the last few years, I did a bit of research.

I wasn't able to find any kind of "danger signals" for any wool yarns that do come from there, so I'm still working with it and not scouring it before I touch it. Not to say that there isn't anything harmful, just that I couldn't find any reference to it.

I did discover a few interesting facts, however, about wool production in China. They are the world's largest producer and exporter of wool. China concentrates on harvesting wool from sheep after slaughter, called slipe wool. They don't bother to shear the sheep while they are alive because the native breed and quality of fleece does not meet the higher standards set by the international Woolmark organization.

In some districts, wool is the major source of cash income. China is also the world's leading importer of high-quality raw wool, presumably to augment the more inferior wool they grow. They are also a major consumer and processor of domestic and imported wool for the Chinese market, as well as for export to the rest of the world. Since joining the World Trade Organization, China has emerged as the world's largest exporter of clothing and second largest exporter of textiles.

As for working with Jojoland Melody itself, there are tons of comments about how it knits, washes, etc. on Ravelry. The major complaints are the fact that it "splits" easily [it is a three ply], that the colors vary WILDLY within even one dye lot. It is a varigated yarn, but some of the balls within one dyelot do not even look like they go together. I loved the original three balls that I had bought, but when I ordered more, I didn't think I had gotten the right order when they came! But I did.

Interesting Newsy Stuff
The Winter 2010 issue of VogueKnitting, had a little blurb about a new product out for anyone who has wool sweaters. The Wool-filler Kit by Heleen Klopper. With this kit, which includes fives shades of wool fiber, two felting needles and a small foam base, you can easily fix moth holes in your wool sweaters. The directions say, "Simply lay the damaged item over foam, cover with special Woolfiller fiber and fuse together by pricking with a hooked felting needle." See it at woolfiller.com

How clever and simple is that. As spinners, we should always save a bit of our fiber for just such a purpose - an exact match for a tiny hole. For other sweaters, can't you just imagine felting little circles of contrasting color all over for a whole new sweater!

Another hint found, which can't really be recommended, in a very old copy of Encyclopedia of Needlework by Th. de Dillmont: "To preserve needles from rust, put a little asbestos powder in the packets. People with damp hands, which oxydise[sic] the needles they touch, will do well to keep a small box of the powder by them, and occasionally dip their fingers in it."

Looking for something interesting to do on Friday, Jan. 21st. Check out that day's program at the Diablo Weavers Guild meeting. They will have a guest speaker who is a tapestry weaver and he is going to talk about his 2006 month long trek through Tibet and the tapestries that resulted from what he experienced there. The link to their newsletter is up on the right side of this blog.