Sunday, February 26, 2017

DIY Skeinwinder

I thought this ingenious little DIY skeinwinder needed a little more explanation and a few more pictures, since we modified it slightly from what Measured and Slow did with her design.

The top picture shows the general idea (an expandable mug rack atop a lazy Susan) not actually screwed together, at this point.

 This is after my husband gave it back to me, assembled and ready to go.  

He added 1 modification.  I was wondering how to keep the mug rack extended / expanded with a hank of yarn on it?  How to keep it from collapsing in on itself again?  My husband solved this problem elegantly with the flat stick with hold drilled into it that will hold the mug rack to the proper extension with yarn on it.
This works for this particular yarn and hank length.  You could also use the "shorter" hole for a smaller hank.  There's a 2nd longer flat stick for even larger hanks, if needed.

Here the yarn is placed in a rectangle configuration, avoiding the 2 pegs on the hexagram points.
It seemed to work fine in this configuration.  The yarn wound off beautifully.

I tried to take a short video so you could see it in action, but apparently, I need to learn the settings on this camera better.  My video came out as a still shot instead.  Sorry about that ...  I think you get the idea, though.  The mug rack is attached to the lazy Susan, which allows the extended rack to turn easily as the yarn winds off (or on).  

Here it is all folded up and ready for storage.  
The flat locking sticks have been removed.
Guess I need to make a storage bag for it now?

 Here it is with the mug rack extended, ready to adjust to any size yarn hank.
You can also see the 3 dark screw heads where my husband attached it to the lazy Susan base.

Here it is extended, with the locking slat in place. No yarn.  

Success in Simplicity!

Adventures in Building a DYI Skeinwinder and Swift

I was getting ready to make one of these DIY Swifta out of a lazy Susan and an expandable mug rack.

The problem : I was given several bags of wonderfully soft alpaca yarn on skeins.  At present, I am weaving it on the floor loom, but to get it ready, I have to wind it into balls/cakes before I can wind it onto the shuttle for weaving.  Maybe with this tool, I'll be able to go directly from the skeinwinder to the weaving shuttle?


Option A : At first, I thought I could use the swift I purchased for my spinning wheel, but 1) it's not expandable -- which is fine if I'm winding yarn I spun myself, not so good if the purchased skein is larger or smaller than this particular swift.  2) The second problem with it is : every time, I've tried to use it, the damn thing pops apart.  Really bad design if it can't handle the tensions of what it was meant to do.  After loosing the nuts and parts several times because they went flying off, and finding them again, I've disassembled it all and put it away with a big note on it not to bother using it again without some kind of engineering re-work.  Disappointing, since it cost me a pretty penny back in the day.

Option B : Then I started putting putting the skeins on my warping board, winding them to a bobbin on my spinning wheel, and then using the ballwinder to make a cake.  That works --it's a little awkward as the yarn moves around the pegs of the stationary warping board.  Not ideal.  An actual purchased Umbrella Swift / Skeinwinder can cost $89--I'd rather spend my money on yarn!

Too cheap to purchase one of these, but I'm not thrilled about the time and effort wasted doing the job as I am currently, and too cheap to buy a real umbrella swift (although, I do know that buying good equipment can make a tremendous difference in many ways!  It can also be a colossal waste of money if you get something poorly designed, or a gimmick. Been there, done that!) 

Option C : So I finally decided I needed another solution, and started combing through Pinterest for an inexpensive DIY Solution ...  I came across this ingenious idea from Measured and Slow :

There's a similar one explained in this video by Charan Sakar.  Necessity is the mother of Invention!

I already had the lazy Susan from some other long dead art project.  And I found the expandable coat rack at my local hardware store (though they called it a mug rack) for only $10.  They also had the longer wooden pegs 4 for $5.  The mug rack expands to fit whatever size skin of yarn I might have.  That's what I needed!   So for about $15, I had the parts to make my own ...

So I laid it out on the table to show Hubby what I needed him to assemble to make it work for my purposes ...  [See photo at top of post ...]

Option D) By the end of the day, my weaving and fiber art friend Lynda brought me one of these :

A Leclerc Skeinwinder, available here at The Woolery for $$$.  She said someone in the local weaving guild gave it to her, for free and she was passing it on to me, since I needed one.  Wow!  The universe provides, if you just give it time to manifest ...

We'll see how it works ...  Perhaps there's a good reason why the weaver gave it up?  It is adjustable, and once we got the parts lined up properly, it looks like it will work ok.

Now I have 2 skeinwnders / yarn swifts!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Leading Lines : Week 8 Let's do 52

Leading Lines
Eroded Sandstone

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Light : Week 7 Let's do 52


Last summer, I took an Outlander-themed trip through Scotland.  This was in the chapel where they filmed Jamie and Claire's wedding, such as it was.  It's actually a beautifully restored chapel (Glencourse Old Kirk) that had to be re-done and made shabby for the film scene.  The afternoon we were there, the light streaming in through this window lit the candle without a flame and left amazing shadows on the stone.   Mmmmh!

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Possibilities : LYA 2017

I just ordered my postcards for the 2017 Liberate Your Art Postcard Exchange happening in March.

I tried printing them myself on my home printer, but the quality is just not the same -- and it kind of defeats one of the purposes of the project which is to print your art, and get it out into the world.  Having them professionally printed add a level of legitimacy and professionalism that just can't be beat -- provided you've got good stuff to start with. ;-)

I've been using for professional printing.  And they do a nice job!  At present, they are offering 15% off of postcard sets.    With shipping, I'm paying about $1.30 / postcard and I get to use my own designs.

I will have extras, so if you like what you see, join us!  I'm also open to side swaps--so if you don't get one of my cards in the official exchange, contact me about a side swap.  There are several people I keep swapping with every year, just because I met them through this artful exchange.

Symmetry : Week 6 Let's Do 52


I've been thinking about what to do for this week's Let's Do 52 prompt for a few weeks now.   I finally decided the best way to meet this challenge was with a Kaleidoscope.

The orange and green star photo above is  a slice from The Orange Blossom Breeze quilt I made for my Grappa years ago.  It came back to me after he died, and stays on my bed through the winter. 

I used the Kaleidecam App -- I swear, this app is the best $3 I've ever spent!  I can spend hours playing with it, seeing the world in new ways.   I start wondering what would it be like if this is the way we saw the world -- in slices kaleidoscoped together?  How would that change our perceptions?  It's essentially a very narrow view in great detail, many times over.  But it's always moving, too. Always in motion--at least in the app it's always in motion.  How would that change the way our brains work?

I love this app!  I'm even starting to dream in kaliedescopes now.   It's a much needed diversion from current events.  And these kaleidoscopes can be a wonderful focus for meditation, too.  They come out like mandalas. 

Even something as ugly and mundane as an old rusty cookie sheet has a natural and muted beauty to it when it's kaliedescoped.  Who'da thunk? 

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!