Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Look what I made

with a little help from my Dad and from the lovely Ngaire who loaned me a bunch, like flowers methinks spindles are arranged in bunches, to model from. Well a lot of help as I've never wood turned before - so today I show of two nearly finished turned spindles* that we made, Dad and I, and we all went for a walk in the forest, which was nice. There was some knitting, things you have seen before are a little longer thats all, but that will keep for the next post, and lastly a link to a new video. Some one asked very nicely if I would make a slower and clearer one showing backwards loop increases, so I have. I've got another to upload - another nice polite request, so thats the next one to work on editing and uploading.

Spindle making, first you catch your wood, now thats not so easy, as I found. The wood needs to be fine grained to turn smoothly with no flaws, no splits or soft sections. My dad found an old chair rung/stringer, the top of a table leg and a little corner of what was once a shelf - and then we were set. This image shows the two spindles I made, along with the spindle shafts (we turned the whole lot - no commercial dowel was used), and an end from our turning showing the chair rail we used. Also shown is a standard whorl for a Wee Peggy spinning wheel and a high speed whorl he made up for a friend or two. Did I mention my Dad is a real sweetie?

But first the lathe, many years ago Bear bought a lathe, an engineering lathe, designed to mill things from metal, I forget why, perhaps something to do with model trains or cameras. As we have no garage at this house, the lathe lives with my dad, right next to his slightly larger and more industrial lathe. When I showed Dad the spindles and suggested as only a daughter can that after he was sooooo nice to make bobbins for me, and high speed whorls for my friends Peggy's, that he might be interested in making spindles, he shrugged. Then he being a Dad with 3 daughters and a you can do anything attitude, and wanting a little more space in his workshop and knowing we were having a garage built he decided to teach me to wood turn. I suspect he was following the parable of 'teach a man to make nets and fish and you will enable his whole community', or in this case, "if I teach her, then she won't ask me again'. This is my Dad, and this is our/my lathe.

And here in the sawdust, is a Kauri spindle top, my first ever wood turned thing! There were some creative differences, I wanted elegant curved dished spindles, Dad had thicker more plate like shapes in mind, we compromised somewhat. We turned one spindle from aged Kauri, the other from a reddish grey hardwood that we can't identify, one spindle dowel was turned from Kauri and one from Oak based on this article by Rosemary. Making dowels was hard, they need to be so thin and then they flex in the lathe as they are being carved down to size, shorter dowels are easier. All I need now is a drop saw or table saw, a drill press and a grinder, a vice, and I'm all set, oh an the double garage ... but construction for that is underway.

and it wasn't all indoor woodworking, we took time out to do a bush walk near Waimate. One of the things I love about New Zealand is a bush walk is usually only a few minutes away from where we are, wherever we are. Toby stands on rocks in a shallow stream while Poppy waits for us to catch up. Its very much spring here, now warm and dappled sunlight and nice enough to take a packed lunch out to eat, so we did.

And a new video, which I hope shows more clearly how I make backwards loop increases, (except that because I used paired loops only one is backwards - but I'm at a loss as to how to rename them to reflect that, and dose it really matter?). It seems I demonstrated way to fast in the last video so this one talks you thru making the loops and knitting them up. The knitting is my Toasty sock from Vintage Purls Sock Club 2008.

* these still need hooks, and after a bit of a search and a think we plan to make our own hooks, so that might be a few weeks before I can test these for spin and weight and balance, and function.


CraftyGryphon said...

Oh, how very cool that you can make your own spindles! That's one of those Useful Skills that will come in handy if the economy keeps slumping, right along with spinning and knitting... (Although it's supposed to right itself today, let's hope!!)

Linda said...

Very nice job! Will you leave them unfinished or will you stain or paint them? Lovely.

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh, how exciting! Is the kauri from your counters (or is it not time for that yet?)? They are absolutely gorgeous - I can't wait to hear how they spin. (You have an amazing dad, btw :) ) The kids look great in that picture -- what a beautiful place to walk and enjoy spring.

Angelika said...

Wow, you really are multi talented. I'm surprised your dad let you use the tools. Some men can be funny when it comes to using/borrowing their stuff.

Unknown said...

You've been tagged! Come see for what on my blog:)

Oh, and gorgeous spindles! You're a lucky gal to have such a crafty dad:)


i like you daddy's face! and also the video...but while this one has better sound quality, i like the other a wee bit better as the yarn seems a bit bigger, as do needles, ie, easier to see better what's happening!

your antique friend