Sunday, July 05, 2009

and wait ... there is more ...

Today, Toby's gansey grows a little more, I've been knitting more wristers from homespun, so two finished objects, my Dad visted for the weekend so another wheel joins my flock.

Toby's gansey, I held of the next stage of working this, knowing I had to finish the chart, and flip it so I had a left and right version. I was in the weird knitting place that we all back ourselves into sometimes, you know that corner, with wet paint on the floor, or the knitters equivalent where every single project has chart and magnetic chart keepers marking the row to be knit, and you have no simple take to knit night knitting. Saturday night I decided I had to make some progress ... so I copied and pasted and transposed the chart, and printed it off and began the patterned yoke of the gansey. Turns out it was one of those things that seemed more exacting than it was ... after a little back wards and forwards juggling of the set up round to make sure the central section was exactly in the center, not 2 stitches off, and judicious or overly zealous use of stitch markers ... I'm knitting away and its going well.

Wristers, little knit tubes that span the gap from sleeve cuff to mitten, described by Robin Hansan in Favorite Mittens as being important in cold cold places like Maine. Well they also do duty as a simple form of Mitt. I had 34 g of this Alpaca Silk Merino hand-spun to make use of, it was so pretty I didn't want it to be left overs in the stash. These are little ribbed mitts with a lace pattern by Norah Gaughan, one used in the Lace Ribbed Pullover in A Gathering of Lace. The top of the mitt has 3 sets of yarn over lace panels, and so spreads a little, just the right shaping for the knuckles, and the tangled cable twists pull the mitt in at the wrist.

These were a quick knit, only a few hours, so last night I found some hand spun and whipped up a longer thicker pair for Bear.I'm not sure which pair I like best the finer fingering ones or the thicker longer petrol blue Aran weight ones.

My dad came to visit, he is a pretty good dad, Oh as kids there was the perpetual embarrassment that our car was the oldest pale blue station wagon ever, when every one else had a newer and flasher car. But he was and remains a pretty good dad. He always had his interests, there was always a motor in pieces being restored, always a swap meet or a rumor of a sale where parts for an engine of interest might be found. And now he is retired he has his collection of full sized farm tractors, and rotary hoes, and Bedford trucks and the odd 4WD (all vintage of course). I do recall my hesitation on bringing boys home, especially the ones from families with no hobbies, the ones who's dads were accountants or gift shop owners, how would they react to a back yard full of cars up on blocks, and engines under tarpaulins, or engines in mid dissemblance or re-assembly in cardboard boxes in the living room? Bear survived the test ...he would sit for hours chatting with Dad about which engine configuration a particular model of car or bike or truck had. As dad rightly pointed out, the lounge was warm, it was where the fire was, there was nothing on tv, and if he ground the valves in the lounge at night .. well it was nicer than being in the cold garage at night and he could keep an eye out on the kids once they were in bed. Dad was a solo parent to a 14, 13 and 7 year old, and worked full time, and he probably needed his hobbies.

Why am I telling you this? Because my dad understands hobbies, how invasive and important they are ... and bless his heart he listens and notices and keeps an eye out. So Dad came to visit this weekend, and with him he brought a spinning wheel. A Nagy by Woodspin .. bought for $15 at a garage (yard?) sale a few weeks ago. Its beautiful, and works and while I don't need another wheel, I love that he found it for me, and that it is complete and it runs beautifully. Its an early birthday prezzie.
So Sunday I spent working on two wheels, the Pipy I had offered to get working and the newly arrived Nagy.

I scraped and pulled and tore the old carpet which had been glued onto the treadle. Rubbed both wheels over with nylon scrubbing 'steel' wool, and linseed oil to restore the varnish, soaked all the metal moving parts in turps, and scrubbed them with an old tooth brush to remove the build up of lanolin and wheel oil, and cut off all the singles wound onto the bobbins, and the old dusty leaders, and all dug out all the fiber caught around the axles and spindles and other moving parts. Now that is a big part of sprucing up a wheel - digging out all the old oil and fiber caught in the moving parts.

I've waxed all the wood parts that need to slide and move. I've oiled the moving parts, and tied on new drive bands. I tried to set the Nagy up as a double drive .. but couldn't get it to draw in so its a scotch tension. And now it looks and runs beautifully, smooth and sure.

The Woodspin Nagys were not made by the original Mr Nagy, it was probably made my Mr Cottier ... but this one seems beautifully made .. look at the brass nut and the little curved metal peice connecting to the wooden conrod. All five bobbins are there, the scotch tension knob and the orifice hook ... its a lovely wheel.

Now if I could only work out where it can sit in my increasingly small house ... amongst my other three wheels ... and the knitting, and the stash and the books .....

take care


Suzanne said...

4 spinning wheels in a small house?! I'm surprised you have room to move at all. Perhaps it is time to start suspending them from the ceiling, like model airplanes. The one your Dad brought really is pretty, now that you have spiffed it up a bit. He is a good Dad.

The mitts look very nice too!

Hilary said...

The gansey is going to be so beautiful ... you are inspiring me!

And what a great dad you have. And how nice for him to have a daughter who appreciates him so much.

KathyR said...

A lovely early birthday present from a wonderful Dad! The mitts look really great and the gansey is coming on beautifully. Great work!

Joanne F said...

What a fantastic dad. Well done on a great find.
Mitts look great too :)

Shirley Goodwin said...

lovely old wooden machines!

Birdbrain said...

I just obtained a Nagy wheel. Do you still have yours?

Birdbrain said...

I just obtained a Nagy upright wheel. Wondering if the maidens have a bushing or some type of piece in the hole in the leather? Please send a picture of yours if possible?
Kind Regards,