DIY electric carder

Peter and Marina had a Ron Doley carder which they had purchased a while back. They have been thinking of turning it into an electric carder. John, one of our top weavers, liked the idea of this challenge and so he and Peter have been working together for a number of weeks now to try and turn the carder into an electric one. It has required thought, testing, more thought and more testing. It has been a good brain challenge. It is great when you look at people around you setting themselves a puzzle to solve and then using skills and expertise to arrive at a good solution.

This week the carder was finally finished. John (left) and Peter (right) are justifiably proud of this achievement. Sandy, one of the Adelaide Hills spinners and weavers , was more than happy to test the carder and give it a trial run. By the way, doesn’t John look good in the Fair Isle vest Christine knitted? Suits him so well.

Challenges like the carder can be frustrating , at times, along the way but such a thrill when you achieve your goal. Peter and Marina now have an electric carder which runs beautifully off a sewing machine motor.

Below is another example of creative thinking. Katharine Jolda is demonstrating her Cyclocarder. Great way to card and keep fit and a bonus if there is a blackout!

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Weaving wonders

We had some really good weaving ideas this week. Top is the woven phone pouch Peter made and his wife, Marina, sewed it all together. He also has a matching one for his glasses. In was done on an inkle loom. Bottom left is the dog collar Marina made on her inkle loom and it looks so good and is such a good idea. She has to make another one for the other family dog! So good to be able to make the things you actually need. The dog collar is on top of a lovely woven pillow made from upcycled tablecloths and sheets. In real life it looks really nice and would be a great addition to any chair. Upcycling old clothing and manchester is a great way to get bags , cushions and mats and they are stylish items. Woven fabric has a cool look about it. It is strong and durable too. Bottom right is the tabletop sprang loom John made for Christine out of upcycled  wood. We like to make use of everything and we all have stashes of bits which can be upcycled into something we need. The tabletop loom means Christine can sit comfortably to do her sprang weaving. The bonus is we can see better what she is doing and so it raises our level of interest and involvement in what Christine is doing. Living proof you can just use what is around you to make lovely things. 

Woven bark fibre

While some are drowning the world  in plastic and we are trying to find ways of cleaning it from our rivers and oceans because it is contaminating the environment , there are other people on the other end of the scale who are very passionate about rediscovering sustainable living. We are not all going to be sitting on the forest floor stripping bark and weaving it. We just aren’t. What we’ll do , though, is watch something like this and know for a fact that we can do better and we can get back to living in a way which will stop piling trash of all sorts of descriptions all over our home. It’s actually fascinating to watch this man weave bark. We have a lot of gum tree bark which peels of the trees here. Maybe we could put it to better use?

We thank Marina for sharing this video link with us.

Spinning cotton

spun cottonA while back , Hilary brought in a bulk purchase of cotton to spin and we could buy it a tiny prices. Marina had decided to spin hers and she found out it spins far better on a bigger, older wheel than on a small wheel. You need a strong pull on the fibre to get the cotton to spin nicely, so a wheel where you have a good chance of changing ratios and tension. The dyed cotton wasn’t actually something we thought looked particularly good but now we have seen it spun up it looks great and can be plied with itself or some silk and makes a really nice yarn. If you don’t try things, you don’t know. Looking at it tells you nothing. Cotton is good for bags, tops and wash cloths. It is totally sustainable and cotton growers are getting smarter at using less water. As a plant based fibre it is easily composted. As a lightweight, breathable fibre it is good to wear next to your skin so learning to spin cotton gives you more yarn choices for projects. Some people are allergic to wool.