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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Some spinning wheel companies create a wheel and never change it except to use cheaper and cheaper parts over the years. I will not name any names, but you know who they are. Majacraft craftsmen and women are constantly working to make the best possible spinning wheel in the world. If they can make a part better, they do it. That is one of the reasons I'm a Majacraft user and dealer.

Here is the breaking news - just came in tonight! The Pioneer has a new look. I've got one on the way and can't wait to put it together.

From Majacraft:
Majacraft as always, are trying to make craft tools that work great and look fantastic too. So based on this philosophy, we have set about changing and improving the aesthetics of the Pioneer.

The base and pedals of the Pioneer are now in solid pine (pinus radiata), similar to the stem. It is a heavier wood than the original plywood so the overall look of the wheel is much more solid. We have changed the finish from a cream wash to a warm honey coloured oil which accents the natural lustre and grain of the timber.

It also comes standard with our new aerodynamic flyer and 5-ratio whorl. And as with all Majacraft wheels it has the ability to fit all of our accessories.

All of our pine timber is sourced directly from our NZ supplier, which is all grown sustainably here in New Zealand.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lace Knitting: A Form of Insanity

Handspun, home-dyed, hand-knitted. Why do I do this? My friends can't understand it. I could be knitting warm hats or useful socks but no, I spend weeks making things like this.

Here are some of the reasons knitting lace is fun.

1. It is a huge challenge. Call it the Olympic Knitter in my heart.
2. It requires incredible concentration. This is good for my brain. Alzheimer's Prevention.
3. I get to make something big with a small amount of luxury fiber. This appeals to the tightwad in me.
4. Makes good gifts. Yeah, yeah, it might end up on the back of someone's sofa. Who actually WEARS these things? But it is a gift guaranteed to be appreciated. It is unique and beautiful.
5. Forces me to do math in my head. CONSTANT math in my head. See #2 above.

For this shawl I spun very fine singles of Cormo, alpaca and bunny angora. The alpaca was dyed pink and blue but the Cormo and bunny were white. I got a somewhat mottled, light pink yarn. I plied the singles with fine silk thread.

After knitting this gigantic thing (6 feet across) I realized I didn't like the color. So before blocking I put the whole thing into the dyepot with one tablespoon of burgundy dye. The color is EXACTLY what I wanted and the white blotches were fixed.

I plan to wear this shawl to my daughter's senior recital. Now I need a new dress.

That is the other reason to make a shawl.