A Wonderful Wind Wheel!

The spinning wheel Gods have been looking after me over the last couple of weeks as I’ve managed to pick up two more wheels to add to my burgeoning collection that now totals 11! Today I’m going to show you one of them..my June 1981 Fenton Wind Wheel.

Wind wheel 01

Last Sunday morning I checked my emails and then checked the spinning wheels for sale on Ebay and Gumtree. This is becoming a bit of a daily habit which I must try and break! At the top of the list on Gumtree was this gorgeous Wind Wheel and it was within a comfortable driving distance to my home…about 40 minutes away. My first thought was NO! you have enough spinning wheels and you only have two hands!! I shut down the computer and moved away to do something else but this wheel kept niggling at me so it was back to the computer, log back on and retrieve the phone number of the seller. After a quick call I confirmed I’d be there within the hour. Yes, I can hear you….I can talk myself into anything!

After a couple of wrong turns (even with a Navman I still make wrong turns) I arrived at my destination feeling slightly stressed from the driving (I HATE driving especially to unfamiliar territory). I was shown the Wind Wheel which also came with a small Lazy Kate and a total of four bobbins.

Wind wheel bobbins 02

Now, I’ve never used a Wind Wheel so the owner showed me how she worked. Wow! I can’t believe how many types of spinning wheels there are, how differently they operate and yet the end result is the same: spun yarn. The little Wind Wheel is the weirdest looking wheel but so compact as it folds down.

windwheelfentonfolded(Photo from Australian Spinning Wheels website)

The hinge that allows the wheel to fold.

Wind wheel 10

The owner also had a small box which contained violin rosin which is used to rub the inside of the leather belt when it starts slipping. I have since been told by another spinner that I shouldn’t really need to use it. Any other feedback would be appreciated.

Wind wheel bobbins 03

As soon as I got my little wheel home, I took the obligatory photos and then hopped onto one of my all time favourite websites: Ravelry. I posted some pics on the Australian Spinning Wheel forum and the next day there were a few responses. Luckily I got to that little wheel first as two other people were interested in it but not as quick off the mark as I was! I also managed to find two pdf documents which show the assembly of the Wind Wheel and spinning instructions. One lovely Raveler also advised me she had an original instruction sheet which she photographed and emailed to me. I’ve also asked her if she’d send me a photocopied page so I can scan it and keep it forever! That’s one thing about the fibre / yarn community; everyone is so willing to help and share their knowledge and instruction sheets! Thank you Karen! If you look along the top banner of my website, you’ll find the Spinning Wheel Info icon. Simply hover over it and a drop down menu will appear which shows you all the instruction manuals I’ve found that relate to some of my wheels.

Windwheel instructions

I also checked out one of my other favourite websites administered by Mary Knox in New Zealand which contains heaps of fantastic information about all past and present New Zealand made spinning wheels and all Australian ones too. This website is continually updated as more people find it and are able to contribute meaningful information. I’ve used it quite a bit to identify some of my wheels. There’s also a section on New Zealand and Australian mystery spinning wheels. Perhaps you can identify some of them!!

There’s quite a bit of information about Wind Wheels on the site which I have reproduced here. This unusual folding wheel (pronounced like that which blows, not that which twists around) has had several makers. It was designed in 1977 by Geoffrey Fenton in Tasmania; the design was passed to Hans Kruger in South Australia; now it is made by Ettrick in Victoria. The early Wind Wheel made by Fenton is made of Huon Pine and has a black pulley wheel.

My wheel was made by Fenton in June 1981.

Wind wheel 04

The purpose of the metal hoop is to keep the belt in place when the wheel is folded.

Wind wheel 05

The Kruger wheel included changes to the colour of the pulley wheel, now brown. It is made of plywood, which gives interesting patterns on the flyer arms and other parts. The plywood Wind Wheel was called the “Explorer”. Fenton also offered a “Tasmanian Blackwood” model. Since Ettrick bought the manufacturing licence, they have made Wind Wheels available in Huon Pine, Blackwood and Tasmanian Myrtle, according to the website.

You can view pictures of other wind wheels on the website.

Mabel Ross owned one of the early ones, and wrote about it in her Encyclopedia of Hand Spinning: “Since it folds, it is extremely portable as well as elegant, if unusual. The principle is that of a single-band bobbin-brake type; the momentum usually provided by the driving wheel is vested in the heavy cylinder attached to the treadle and circular motion is transmitted to the spindle by a flexible band. Bobbin braking is provided by pressure of an adjustable spring which also holds the bobbin in place.”

Wind wheel 08

A while ago I had been toying with the idea of buying a new Wind Wheel so I checked out the Ettrick website. The prices stated were for Myrtle $1,320 and for Blackwood $1,430 plus postage and insurance so I put those plans on hold. When this Wind Wheel appeared on Gumtree for only $200 that was probably what pushed me to make that phone call. These wheels don’t often come up for sale; let alone nearby me in Brisbane and for such a reasonable price.

Wind wheel 02The wood is gorgeous.

Wind wheel 09

Oh and by the way the owner was getting rid of it as she’d bought a Majacraft wheel as she wanted to do finer lace spinning.

I’ll tell you about my other spinning wheel purchase in a future post; I’m just gathering some more information about it. Here’s a hint:…it’s a Brisbane made spinning wheel.

Until next time…



Knitting on the bias

Every now and then I like to knit on the bias (remember my Sandpiper Scarf) as it gives an interesting look to your knitting. It’s amazing that you’re knitting straight rows and yet your knitting has this diagonal look. Knitting on the bias is not difficult; in fact it’s very easy and it’s just a simple way of shaping a project so that it leans diagonally. By knitting an increase and a decrease at precise points in a project, you begin to shape the fabric diagonally. Knitting on the bias is fun and renders a fabric that’s looks fantastic. This is what it looks like; there’s cabling on the outer sides of this scarf and you can see the diagonal slant of the knitting in the middle.

Sandpiper Scarf 05

The basic instructions to knit on the bias are as follows; your fabric will lean to the left:

  1. RS: Work an increase at the beginning of the row and a corresponding decrease on the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

To have the bias lean to the right, just reverse the shape:

  1. RS: Work a decrease at the beginning of the row and a corresponding increase at the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

When I spotted one of my friends at spinning group wearing a lovely knitted cowl necklace I immediately thought what a great little project to use up all those bits and pieces of left over yarn. I found this pattern on Ravelry called Bias Knit Scarf and within a short time I had made this gorgeous little cowl necklace.

Bias Scarf Autumn 02

I added a provisional cast on and then grafted both ends together to make a seamless cowl.

Bias Scarf Autumn 04

The colour combinations you could use are simply endless.

Bias Scarf Autumn 06

A cowl necklace like this one would be ideal just to keep a slight chill off your neck at the turn of the season.

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

I used mainly Ashford Tekapo 8ply wool and Sullivans Aztec (this is a lovely soft yarn) for my cowl. I changed colours when I felt like it; there was no counting rows which made it an effortless knit; a perfect knit when you’re talking with friends.

Ashford Tekapo500

Sullivan Aztec Ivy 02

These cowl necklaces would make perfect gifts as they are so easy to knit up. You could use a combination of variegated and solid colours too. They’d look great in sock yarn too.

Bias Scarf Autumn 05

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

What a nifty little pattern isn’t it? There are plenty of bias knit patterns to be found on Ravelry too.

I’m off to another yarn group get together tomorrow; from 1-5pm. What bliss! Knitting and talking to like-minded women for four hours 🙂

I hope you all have a yarn-filled weekend too!

Until next time…


Two More Shawls….Yvaine and Nikolai

I can’t believe how quickly each week rolls around which means it’s time for another blog post to share with you. Writing inspiring posts each week for all to enjoy is sometimes a challenge so I can only hope you’re enjoying reading about my knitting projects and my other incidental fibre and yarn stories.

I’m on a shawl knitting roll! I can’t believe how many I’ve made over the last few months. The latest two are the Yvaine Shawl and the Nikolai Shawl. I’ll start with the Yvaine Shawl.

This pattern is incredibly easy and would be ideal for a beginner.

Roses Yvaine 01

The only ‘fault’ I found with this pattern was that it started looking a bit boring as it only had sections of garter and seed stitch so I jazzed it up with two lots of two rows of K2tog, YO and added a picot bind off. My aim was to use the entire skein of yarn so I was able to add a lot more to the shawl. I must say that I am quite happy with the result.

Roses Yvaine 10

This is a wonderfully portable project too as there’s no difficult stitches to memorise and you could knit it with whatever sized sections of garter and seed stitch as you wish.

Roses Yvaine 02

Roses Yvaine 06

Roses Yvaine 08

Here’s a good close up of the K2tog, YO and picot bind off.

Roses Yvaine 13

The yarn I used is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon yarn and it is so beautifully soft against your skin. Ironically when I first blogged about this yarn in November last year I had this pattern in mind. I still have one skein left too! This yarn is part of Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled “Roses” which inspired this colourway.

Zen Yarn Garden roses

My second shawl is called Nikolai and I love this pattern!

Nikolai Shawl 05

Doesn’t the border look lovely?

Nikolai Shawl 07

It’s another easy knit with lots of garter stitch.

Nikolai Shawl 03

The yarn I used is Sullivans Aztec which is a worsted / 10 ply 45% alpaca / 35% acrylic / 20% nylon yarn and for a commercial yarn it is really soft and snuggly. I have since managed to pick up more of this yarn in the colours Ginger and Tomato for only 49c a ball!! It’s an exceptional yarn.

Sullivan Aztec Ivy 02

I love this rich shade of dark green. It reminds me of a forest.

Nikolai Shawl 09

Nikolai Shawl 10

Nikolai Shawl 04

Now I just need to keep track of all my scarves and shawls so that I get to wear them all each winter!

I’m off to one of my absolute favourite pastimes tomorrow; Knit and Knatter. I just love all the chatting, friendship, knitting and laid back atmosphere. That time goes much too quickly I might add.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with lots of fibre goodness.

Until next time…


Can you ever have enough yarn, yarn containers or sheep?

That’s the six million dollar question and my answer is simply NO! I can’t resist a gorgeous colourway or a yarn clearance sale. My head is constantly full of knitting project ideas that will probably take me a life time to complete. I simply need more than 24 hours in each day!

At the recent Redlands Spinners & Weavers craft camp, I was again tempted to purchase more yarn as we had two traders with some beautiful and too tempting yarn and fibre for sale.

I’ve bought heaps and heaps of yarn from Shorn Fibers and at camp I bought even more. I blame it all on Angela for dyeing such stunning colourways which always encourages me to spend!

This beautiful colourway is called  ‘Hermes’ and is Shorn Fibers Tuff Sock yarn which is an 80% merino / 20% nylon mix. I don’t often buy blue but these colours just caught my eye.

Shorn Fibers MCN HT Sock 600 Hermes 02

I just fell in love with this colourway called ‘Oranges and Lemons’, a very apt name I must say. It’s a Merino 4ply yarn.

Shorn Fibers Merino 4ply Oranges and Lemons 02

Angela actually showed me this yarn and said ‘I thought you might like this’. How right she was!! I bought two skeins so I can make something substantial or maybe a shawl/scarf and a hat. The pattern hasn’t come to me yet (despite the fact I have hundreds of patterns at home!!). This colourway is ‘Mountain Troll’ and the yarn is a 100% Merino Fingering

Shorn Fibers Merino Fingering Mountain Troll 01

Another colourway that caught me eye is ‘Erato’. This yarn is a 100% Merino Superwash DK

Shorn Fibers Merino SW DK Erato 01

And another Tuff Sock yarn is this stunning colourway called ‘First Beach’. Those colours are amazing and so reminiscent of the beach aren’t they?

Shorn Fibers Tuff Sock Sandy Beach 02

Lindy Boshler, who is a member of our club and also a registered Ashford agent, brought along her goodies too and I was immediately drawn to this hand-dyed 100% super fine wool in these gorgeous autumn shades of orange and green.

Lindy Superfine Wool 01

Lindy also had some lovely hand-dyed mulberry silk which I will use when blending fibre on my Ashford Blending Board (which I also bought at camp).

Lindy Mulberry Silk 01

Lindy Mulberry Silk 03

I’ve been rather remiss and have fogotten to show you the additions to my ART WALK series from Zen Yarn Garden.

The ninth offering features a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Petite Fleurs“. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by Picasso, the dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) was an artistic virtuoso who co-founded Cubism, and produced an astounding 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures during his brilliant 70-year career. Picasso’s unparalleled body of work was so vast, and its phases so unique, that art historians have divided it into specific periods. A child prodigy, Picasso took advanced classes at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona when he was only 15. His revolutionary Cubist works, with their distorted shapes and fragmented forms, established art as a genre that does not need to literally represent reality. Zealously embracing every medium from primitive art to sketches to Surrealism, Picasso had an unrivaled influence upon 20th century art. [quoted from Art.com]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity 20 which is a 4ply / fingering 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon yarn and contains 400 yds /100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 07

These colours certainly “pop” don’t they?

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 08

This is the painting the colours are based on…

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 05

The tenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Ice Cream Dessert“. Inspired by Picasso, the dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

Andy Warhol’s pioneering Pop Art defined a decade and a culture, distinguishing him as one of the most influential, creative and prolific artists of the 20th century. Originally the most sought-after commercial artist in New York, Warhol (1923 – 1987) is most known for his multiple images of Campbell’s Soup cans, Coke bottles, dollar bills and celebrities, which exalted the beauty within ordinary objects and familiar images. Working out of a studio called The Factory, he invented the silkscreening process which enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. Warhol was also a talented filmmaker, music producer, commercial illustrator, author and magazine publisher. [quoted from Art.com]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity Silk single which is a fingering single ply / 75% superwash merino / 15% cashmere / 10% silk yarn and contains 430 yds / 100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Ice Cream Dessert 03

This is the painting that inspired the colours in the yarn…

Zen Yarn Garden Ice Cream Dessert painting

The eleventh offering in the new ART WALK Series features a painting by Justyna Kopania entitled “Sold“. Inspired by Kopania, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

My name is Justyna Kopania. I am a painter. Art is my asylum, life, poetry, music, the best cigar, tasty strong tea, everything.My Art reflects the world I perceive with all mysenses; people I meet and love; nature I admire,and all the things that affect the way I am…. .In my studio – work – I painta few, sometimes several hours a day. This is typical painting – easel, oil, structural. Paintings are “fleshy.” Paint requires both painting, as well as brushes – and I do not regret the paint. Paintings are painted this way – creates a kind of reliefs. Paintings are painted in a sort of style, original … – Inspired by certain passages of whatI see, and stay in my memory. Paitings are entirely painted by hand. I always try to give the climate the moment that stuck in my memory.  [quoted from studiounderthemoon]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity Glitter Sock which is an 80% merino / 10% cashmere / 10% metallic (sparkling nylon) 3ply / fingering yarn. Each skein contains 400 yds /100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Sold 08

It really is quite beautiful!

Zen Yarn Garden Sold 09

This is an image of the painting ‘Sold’ which the colourway is based on.

Zen Yarn Garden Sold image

Now, from yarn to yarn containers. Because I have so much yarn, I have to find inventive ways to store it. I have so many types of yarn containers and not long ago I found these laundry bags which I immediately knew I could adapt to use as yarn containers. Just ignore the fact they have ‘dark’ and ‘lights’ printed on them.

Laundry Bags 01

Each one can hold heaps of yarn and fibre. There’s a neat divider down the middle which is great as it stops the yarn collapsing on itself.

Laundry Bags 02

And every time I see little sheep in a shop they just seem to follow me home!

Sheep 03

This little fellow welcomes guests into my home…

Sheep 04

And these little sheep like hanging around my spinning wheels…

Sheep 05

Along with their friends who are itching to get into my garden 🙂

Sheep 06

They don’t eat much and don’t make a noise…

Sheep 07

But they do seem to be multiplying…

Sheep 08

But I love them!! They make my home look happy and ‘yarnified’. My son questions my sanity when he visits me but he knows his mum is hooked on yarn 🙂

Until next time…