fiber arts, new projects, spinning, tools

Kickspindle

I cant’ take it anymore.  I need to be able to ply, and I don’t feel nervy enough do do that on a drop spindle, although it is possible.  But, I also cannot afford a spinning wheel for a while.  I’ve got my eye on a couple on Etsy, though, and I may just ask for part of the cost for my birthday.

In doing my research on wheels, I came across alternatives like the kickspindle/Mother Marion. Finding out about these was a big slap on the forehead moment.  They’re logical and straightforward, not as intimidating as a full wheel.


Aha!  This is simple enough to DIY.  I’d love to be able to buy and support crafters, but I also want to be able to pay the fair price for their product.  The kickspindles I’ve seen on Etsy range from 50-70 and even that is a pinch.  So, off to the internet I went.  I found these plans on cutoutandkeep.net and variations on the design on google.  I wanted to make it as bare bones as possible, so here we are:

This is the general idea.  I have a fence finial instead of a bun foot or wheel for a weight.  I will be threading the dowel through a hook on that wood block.  The angle may have to change to keep the finial from rubbing on the base and slowing me down, but we’ll see how it spins.  I was going to cut the dowel in half, but honestly….I kind of like the absurd size!  I hope it doesn’t effect the motion – if it does, it’ll be cut down and I’ll make a regular spindle from the excess.

 

 

As of writing this, production has ceased for my drill’s battery to recharge so I can get the dowel into the finial.  I’ll add more later as this unfolds!

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crochet, tools, yarn

#Crochet tool: Random Stripe Generator

I have just found this awesome tool by Caitlin of Biscuitsandjam.com.  She wrote a random stripe generator that will do exactly what it says.  You select the colors you want to work with, and the widths of the stripes, and it spits out a pattern.  Well, technically, a set of random stripes, but it’s a pattern for you to follow 🙂  This has tons of applications, but I like it for blanket purposes.  I first saw this by reading about Kristine In Between’s 18,000 stitch afghan.  She used this generator to make her pattern and ended up with a beautiful throw!

stripes1This is very simple, though it presumes an unlimited supply of yarn in the colors you want.  So if you have a lot of leftovers or are in the mood to splurge on yarn, go for the random!   If your supplies of certain colors are limited, try the weighted one instead.

Just to play with it, I picked some really loud colors and random stripe widths.

 

stripes2And here’s the resulting Easter Egg pattern!  I had to change the row amount to 150, as just plain 50 left me with a teeny tiny pattern that didn’t really use all the colors I selected.  So this pattern is larger than the screenshot above.

 

 

 

 

stripes 3If you don’t like the first one, just hit refresh until something catches your eye!  I won’t be using this one as it’s just far too loud for me.  But if anyone likes it, have at – I left the text patterns in there for ya!

 

 

 

When I finish my current yarn project, I’m going to go back to this and lay the groundwork for a blanket for me and husband.  We need something lighter for the warm months.  Crochet with a thinner yarn may be just the right balance of comforting blanket-weight and openness.

I’ll keep ya posted!