This post would also be accurately and excellently titled, "How to Entertain Yourself While You Wait in Line Somewhere" or "How to Stay Sane During Children's Cartoons." We're going to show you how we use our 3D-printed wool combs.
First, either print or purchase your own set of wool combs. Make sure the nails are well set. You may need to tap them into place with a hammer. If any of the nails are loose, set them in place with a nice epoxy glue.
Once you're ready to start combing, watch the slideshow below.
It might seem like spinning wheels are born, as are fairies, every time a baby laughs. They descend to earth in a shower of gold, clothed in cloud-like splendor, and spin flawlessly forever.
Hem. About that.
In reality, and maybe this is just user error on my part, spinning wheels are born of practice, sweat, and maybe some gentle swears. (Or not so gentle. Cough cough.) They might even be born in tears of frustration. The point I'm trying to make is that a little big of struggle--especially with moving parts--is completely normal. Working through the swears and frustration makes the finished product more valuable to me. (Every time my wheel spins, an angel gets his wings? You're welcome, Clarence.)
When Alyson said that she was excited about the spinning wheel, I was pleased. It's so nice to have the right tool at the right moment, and I love being a part of that process when customers assemble our products. I didn't realize that Alyson was going the full hog--and mean, the FULL hog.
Running a small business can be challenging. It's very easy to focus on the blubs and bumps in the metaphorical road than on the joy of creation. Nothing is more exciting for us than seeing someone make one of our products their own.
When I thought about ancient Egypt, the first things that came to mind were the desert and sacred alligators. Dry and sandy, short and snappy. It wasn't quite an accurate picture of Egyptian culture.
Yes, most ancient Egyptians lived very close to the river and avoided the desert, except for King Tut's highly unpopular grandfather. Check. However, the Nile actually has crocodiles, not alligators. Oops.
What Egypt actually had and exported on a massive level was flax linen. Linen is a light, sturdy, and easy-to-dry fabric that excels in dry climates, like the arid Egyptian desert. It wrinkles terribly, so I don't know how well the sacred crocodiles liked it, but local Egyptian spinners literally turned flax into gold by making and exporting mountains of linen.
Guess what? We've been working on a new product: the jumbo flyer conversion. Hooray! We've had some requests for a larger bobbin for a few months, and now the prototyping is finally finished.
I have, unfortunately, a grievous confession to make. St. Patrick was not, in fact, Irish. Eeee! He did, though, to be very fair, spend a great deal of time in Ireland and is considered one of Ireland's patron saints because of his charitable work, and not necessarily for his descent.
I have, equally unfortunately, another grievous confession: our celtic spindle is not actually celtic. Eeee!
Yes, we do use our own spinning wheels. No, they don't endow you with supernatural powers. You might not be able to punch through walls or survive solely on the energy of the universe. Our deepest apologies. (Unless, of course, you count spinning as a superpower. Then you're fine.) However, you ought to be able to spin decent thread and yarn at home. Like so.
Ta da. Doesn't it just scream Robin Hood or Ireland or something? I would say it screams steamy jungle, but I don't know how well wool works in warmer climates; most cultures from arid/steamy areas seem to favor linen, instead. I'm going mostly from the Egyptians and Minoans, so I might be wrong. Anyway!
Joseph here is spinning a worsted thread that we hope to use later for weaving or for very fine knitting. The terms worsted and woolen are sometimes used to refer to different weights of yarn. However, combed wool produces worsted yarn and carded wool produces woolen yarn. (Go ahead. You can read that twice. No shame.)
Woolen yarn is fluffy and poofs up a little bit even when spun. That traps more air, which makes it more fluffy and insulating. Worsted yarn, by contrast, is dense enough to be called "hard," and tends to be stronger. I mean, on the diamond scale worsted is definitely softer than a rock you'd pull out of the ground, but it's also significantly less than a luxuriously fluffy cloud.
You might see the difference more apparently in a wool sweater, made with woolen yarn, and a wool suit coat, made with worsted. Sweater=soft and fluffy. Suit coat=hard and tight.
Thus, to return! Joseph is spinning a worsted yarn, which means he'd like to use it in weaving. If he doesn't get around to it in time, however, I might just kife it and teach myself how to knit a pair of emerald green socks.
We've been working hard for the last few months, and we've finally decided to release our first three spindles: the Celtic, the Turkish, and the Navajo spindle.
The Celtic and the Turkish spindles are drop spindles; meaning, you literally drop them and twist to spin. Joseph--years ago--made his very first drop spindle from a gavel he found at a thrift store. It was the very first video posted on the YouTube channel. We've upgraded a little since then. I love how the Celtic spindle looks as it spins.
The Navajo spindle is a supported spindle, meaning you spin while the spindle is in contact with the floor, like in this video.
As always, the design files are available free on Thingiverse. We also, for anyone who doesn't have a 3D printer, carry them in the Good and Basic Shop on Etsy.
Stay tuned for more posts about spindles and prototypes!
*Note: The products we mention below are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something we recommend, we get a commission through Amazon. It doesn't increase the price on your end. Also, all of the products we recommend here we either own or use personally.*
For some reason, I associate anything Turkish with pointed shoes. As a full disclaimer, they probably don't wear pointed shoes in Turkey. When I searched curled toe shoes on Google, all I could find were buffalo-looking shoe covers. Very awesome, in their own way, but not what I had in mind. Update: I was reading through a book on fibers during the Bronze and Iron ages and guess what I found: curl-toed shoes in the Balkans! Success!
Turkish spindles, however, are slightly curved. They look like an x squished into a bowl. My boys like to use ours as grappling hooks or "anchors" because of the hooked shape of the prongs.
Actually, the design is pretty clever. The two curved legs of the spindle slide into the shaft and stay there with a tension fit. Once you drop the spindle and spin a length of thread, you wind over and under in a pattern. Then, once all the thread has been spun, you slide the x pieces off of the distaff and remove them from the thread. Ta da! Yarn pre-wound in a ball! It's one of the only spindles I know of that makes a full ball of yarn at the end of the spinning process.
If you're a visual person like me, maybe that written description didn't make sense. Perhaps watching a tutorial might help. The Woolery posted an excellent video about Turkish spindles. I also enjoyed the video from Lisa at Soulful Spinning.
Fair warning: watching someone work a Turkish spindle is mildly hypnotizing. The drop/twist motion and the patterned winding are both oddly satisfying.
Apparently Turkish spindles are also very, very old. Finding information about ancient Turkish spindles can be a little tricky. I'm not exactly sure what makes a Turkish spindle "antique." I'd love to see more pictures or articles about the history. More research required.
Joseph & Aubrey Bjork
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