Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I got spinning mail!

I'm not sure what it was like in the rest of the world, but here in New Zealand it seems that in the mid 20th Century there were a lot, and I mean a lot of spinning wheel makers plying their trade. As a result almost every spinner here has several wheels, one or more of those being an older wheel bought from another spinner, or through family, or friends or in more modern ways, on Trade-me (New Zealands answer to e-bay) or vintage shops. Me I have 3 'older' wheels, and have over the past three years seen two more pass thru my house. The prices of older wheels vary, locals in the know suggest that an Ashford Traddie, old style, one whorl with one bobbin should be free, or $NZ20 at most ... while Wee Peggy's or Little Peggy's have been bought for as little as $NZ50, but seem currently to go for around the $NZ100. Other more desirable wheels, can reach dizzying high prices of $300 ... but generally most spinners say that for around $100 you can pick up a old wheel, in very good running condition, with all the bits that will be an excellent spinner, you just have to wait until a good one comes along.

When I first got into spinning, and into buying older wheels, I would haunt Trade-me, and drive to local shops on the rumor of a wheel for sale - then I would visit the best online spinning wheel info site and search out its provinance, the maker, and features and details. That site is New Zealand spinning wheels, and is the result of a lot of detailed footwork by Mary Knox, and others she knows. The site is fantastic, more so if you have a mystery wheel and want to identify it, both Bear and I have flitted between photos on Trademe, or Ravelry or Flickr and Mary's site - discussing if what we were looking at was this kind of wheel or possibly that one. It is thanks to Mary that we identified my Wing .. one of my favorite wheels.

Now there is a book, New Zealand Spinning Wheels and their makers, which pulls together information from the site, and more and presents it as a coherent and sensible story specific to New Zealand. Its seems that traditionally New Zealand spinning wheels have been shipped around the world, just at Majacraft, Keeves, Ashford, Baynes are now ... I've seen Ravelry forums devoted to Pippys, Majacraft, Peggy's and others .... and most of those wheel owners are not in New Zealand. When I heard Mary was publishing a book, I told her I wanted to buy it when it came out, and when she emailed to say copies were available --- I jumped to order. The book arrived yesterday .. and it is every bit as good as the site. At the back of the book is a cd with higher resolution photos of most of those in the book, allowing readers to zoom up close and see details that will help them understand where their wheel might sit in the grand scheme of wheel history. There is a final chapter that discusses all the little inventions and tweaks that contribute to the New Zealand Spinning wheel identity. It is a nice book.
If you are at all like me, have a bit of a thing for New Zealand spinning wheels, and like to find out more ... this is a great book to add to your library. Mary is selling them direct, and at the moment is dealing with inquiries via email (address on her site).

And back to the knitting,
Green sweater is no further along but is getting great wear, this is it after a hard day at the office, marking and meeting. I still have done nothing about a closure .. and probably will wait for just the right thing to appear, until then I'm happy to wear as is, a closure will stop the hem and neckline from sitting at odd levels levels.

and socks, I've been splitting my time between Nightingale and the reknit of the too small Toby's Turkish sock. Nightingale is fun, this is the result of two nights knitting ....and there is a certain amount of colour work encouragement. A
case of wanting to complete the bird before heading off to bed .. don't panic as bedtime was well before midnight. I knit the turkish sock last night ... so Nightingale tonight (she says smiling).

and the reknit of the once to small to go over the heel turkish sock is not as bad as I expected. counting the frog of the two small sock this is effectively the third time putting together a sock design using the turkish shaping and selecting decorative colour work motifs and I think it shows. The pairs of dogs that I wanted to use on the instep didn't take up all instep stitches .. so I added a pair of side patterns, and then continued them up and past the transition from the foot to the leg. I had Toby try this on this morning, a moment of truth as going from 66 stitches to 74 stitches seemed in hindsight a very large jump and I began to wonder if his skinny feet would be swallowed up by an overly generous sock. No worries, it fitted great, with a little growing room. As I did on the the last sock I've worked a 1x1 stripe at the base of the leg, and am now working a snowflake into the front and a diamond into the back ... nearly there.

And its so nice to come home and think about family and spinning books and knitting .. and relax after a day spend marking. This week I've worked thru workbooks of second year students and first year students and felt totally demoralized by the lack of critical thinking and process .... and well 'work'. I've lost count of the number of times I've said 'highlighting is not anaysis', 'remember to tell me what you think' and even ' its a workbook, so please put work in the book'. Yet I know that it is always this way for the first project .. and as the year progresses their workbooks will bloom ..... and I know that there is always knitting .... and trash tv.

na Stella


urlista said...

your green sweater looks terrific!! I know so many knitters have feared the fit and abandoned the project. I love the elegance in this result.

KathyR said...

Nice fit on the Green Sweater - it looks very good on you! I guess you've thought of pewter clasps to close it. Wasn't it you who bought two sets way back sometime and only used one? Would the other set work?

The socks, both pair, are coming on a treat. I can see why you are torn between the two to work on.

I'm looking forward to seeing the spinning wheel book, too. It certainly sounds a wonderful resource.

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, gosh, I love that comment about putting work in the workbook! And I truly sympathize with the marking; I spend most of Tuesday doing the same thing, and feeling the same way. Critical thought? Not so much, alas.

The spinning wheel book looks marvellous. And I know I've certainly benefitted from your research into NZ wheels (you should see the lovely bamboo blend that's on my Pipy even as I type). The green sweater is lovely, and it fits beautifully -- isn't it wonderful when a project that's fun to knit is also fun to wear?

Mary Lou said...

That is the nicest looking and fitting of the EZ sweater I've seen so far in my browsing on the web. And I am still laughing about highlighting is not analysis.