knitting progress - opulent raglan

A quick look back through this blog says that it was last September that I started this jumperand there's not been a huge amount of progress since.

I find spinning indoors difficult, particularly in the evening and particularly black yarn. An alternative to waiting for the spring would have been to repair or replace my broken craft lamp... But anyway. Spring is here and we've had some gorgeous afternoons, during which I've made some progress on this project.
This is some of the zwartbles fleece that I collected from Yew Tree Farm last year. It's beautiful.

Some calculating, some guessing, some assembly. And spinning using beautiful spindles

I spent quite a while on my bathroom curtains project without getting as far as starting to make the warp. This is the secondhand 4-shaft table loom I bought for the project (my Katie being too narrow)
It's the first time I've unfolded it since it arrived. I found that it would have just about sat on my coffee table but I came to the conclusion that I'm now a little old for working bent double, so spent time putting together a stand / treadle kit.

After some measuring up, a guess at a fullness ratio and some scribbled calculations (as if I knew what I was doing!) it seemed that I needed the full width of the loom and another 50 heddles on each shaft.

I have spun about 50g of the weft. There are two spindles here because the maker asked me to try both of these designs and of course they both spin as beautifully as they look. I'm getting this done very quickly because I can't resist picking up one of these spindles every time I walk past!

curtains for you

Very very excited about some lovely spindles that arrived this week from the same maker who makes these polished ebony and rosewood hooks and needles . I only have a couple of samples, but they're so gorgeous I hope to have lots in stock soon.

Back to the story of that fibre. When I opened the box and saw those spindles and desperate to try one, I got straight onto the drum carder. It's been a long time since I made some sample fabric for the curtains in my freshly-decorated bathroom. I have been thinking that it would be even nicer to spin the wool / silk mix with a drop spindle.

This is the mix - 3 parts white merino, 1 part dyed 'cheesecake' merino and a little silk.

The drum carder that I recently refurbished is doing well - it's the first time in a long while that I've used one without a packer brush fitted and it was a fluffy experience:

It feels very good to be using a spindle again, I'll enjoy spinning this blend for my curtains. As per the sample I made, the fabric will be woven using cottolin as the warp and this wool/silk mix as singles for the weft.

Replacing the carding cloth on an Ashford drum carder

Seen here posing on its original box is an old Ashford carder following some restoration.

I bought this one unseen, and regretted it because the teeth were rusty rendering the carder unusable.

Replacement cloth is available but replacing it is very involved, time consuming and difficult. Not a job I want to do again. The cloth is available via your Ashford dealer (look no further) and the instructions for dismantling the carder are available for download from Ashford's site.

The original cloth is held on by industrial-strength staples. I stopped short of buying the staple gun after I spoke to a UK maker who uses strong double-sided tape to secure the cloth (plus the doffing strips of course).

As well as replacing the cloth and drive belt, the doffing strips came up like new using a spark-plug cleaning brass brush, and the wood looks good after a teak-oil and wax polish (this one doesn't seem to have been lacquered as per the current model).

I'll use it for a while and make sure that the cloth stays put.