Posts Tagged With: Spinning

New Toy

So what is a girl to do that loves playing with fiber? She gets new toys now and again… even if she really has all the basics covered. Really. I mean do we all need one of everything out there? Well, in this case finding a solution that was relatively cheap, or at least cheaper, was a blessing.

So we all know I have sheep and love my babies. But when it comes to cleaning wool yourself? Well, can I say there are things that rank higher on my fun meter. It has been quite the chore to clean John’s fleece. And despite many times over it to pick out stuff and then buckets of water. … Well, it is still not great for carding and spinning. So hence, one does need a new toy. Right? One that will make that bit of the job easier. Right?

So in a search, rather by accident, do you think that God doesn’t bring things across your YouTube watch that is just what one needs? I was on YouTube checking out my regulars when a gal was unboxing her new wool picker. So I stopped to watch. Actually just a bit of it as once I got the idea, I went looking myself. And after a few days of talking to my husband, I also went and bought what she had.


Who thinks it looks like a coffin?

So I ordered a box wool picker for less than half of what the nice swing ones cost. When my husband first saw it his comment was, “That looks easy to make.” Well, it does to me as well for someone good with a hammer and putting in nails crooked. I have seen plans for them but alas when I ask my husband about this or that, he reminds me of all he has on his plate. So no, I didn’t ask if he would make one for me. But here it is. One nice thing about it to me is that it doesn’t take up the vertical space a swing one does. Although it is longer.


Taking the protective cover off and leaving the handle and top working section on.

Now all that this box contains is space on either end of nails aimed in different directions. On the handle top there are nails also facing down back and forth inside. They brush across the top of each other quite closely.

Now why did I deem that I needed this tool?


The result of many washes.


So can you imagine trying to card the wool above? Can I just say it isn’t the easiest thing on God’s green earth. Not the toughest by any long mark, but still not fun or easy to get a smooth yarn from. So hence my desire for a better tool.


The “in” end.

So you take a clump of wool and place it in the “in” end. Now in the above picture, I put too much in and after one pass took half of it out. A bit of a learning curve at how much to put in. A hint – less is better. But you just put a clump of wool in one end then move the top with the handle back and forth and it pulls it through the nails and deposits it in the out end.


What a difference several passes make!

So after several passes through, what had seemed like hard masses or wool were becoming cloud puffs. What had fit in a small basket, now needed a much bigger space to rest in.


What a comparison!

So the puff cloud against its former self. This was looking quite doable now and didn’t take that long to create the puff. It pulled the fibers apart and spread it out into an easily viewed mass that was so easy to then spread on hand cards and processed to “brush” it smooth and roll up.


For as often as I washed that wool, see all the bits that still came out of it.

I must admit that for all the hand picking and washing I did with this fleece, I was rather surprised at the amount of vm that still came out of it in the bottom of the picker. It still did a job of getting more out of this wool than I was able already to get out.

And was the cost and work worth it? Could I actually spin this wool half decently?


My first spindle now started.

Well, I would have to say yes. This was so much easier to card and then spin. I’m not a perfect spinner with that perfectly smooth all even thread, but I was not disappointed with how this was looking when I spun my first rolag of wool from the picked mass. Now to stay ahead of the picking as it does take up so much more room as clouds than as mashed convoluted wool.

So yes, girls need new toys now and again.



Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Darning Good Socks

I have three pair of good thick wool socks, and yes, my feet get cold even in a Central Texas winter. I love my thick wool socks. Alas, I wear them all over and it doesn’t take long for heels to wear out. Now these three pair of socks I just couldn’t get rid of so I decided that I must learn to darn socks. So to YouTube I went and found out that it is quite basic and not much to it but practice.


Getting started

So the first lesson I learned in the practice of darning is that if you are going to darn socks it is best to do it before holes get too large. The above sock was the smallest of my holes to fill. Small is easier. But anyway,off we went with each individual sock. I picked some of my early handspun yarn that was lacking much. It seemed a good dimension though.


Warp finished

Now one is to weave back and forth till you have a warp to then weave through with the weft. I did learn that it would be better to try and get the threads closer together but then also I need to use better yarn the next time.


One sock done

Alas, it looks sad but I finished this green one with one piece of yarn that didn’t come apart once in the pulling of it. It is not remotely really good but I can wear the sock and as soon as it wears out again we will know how to fix it better the next time.



See that missed thread above. Yep, a bit to learn and practice at this yet. But it totally does its job so whose complaining. And they look so much better once turned right side out again.


Two pair and do you see the mistake?

Time passed as I worked on 5 of the socks and got to thinking to well of what as happening. When I finished the sixth one and took the lightbulb out of it (yes, I went old fashion for a round object inside or at least twentieth century old fashion), I realized I had forgotten to turn it inside out first. YIKES! Doing them inside out hides so much when it is actually worn. So I have one reminder of how not to do it but it still will work. Will just have to correct it when it wears out again. The third pair missed the above picture as they were already on my feet. I can tell the heel isn’t quite the same as the rest of the sock, but it is covered and has been warm since it was completed on a cold night. I am happy.

It seems I have found several uses of late for all that badly spun, learning to spin, fiber yarn, from the beginning years of learning to spin that I still have sitting around here. Need a few more projects but I am pleased with this one and will be darning socks from now on. Will check on some cotton ones next.

Categories: Fiber, Fiber Arts, Sewing, Spinning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Learning to Spin

Yes, I learned to spin a few years ago. Have you noticed that learning to spin and mastering all it has takes more than a few years? I feel like I could be spinning the rest of my life and still feel like a beginner.

But what does one do with all those beginning spinning yarns? Most are just small bits. Just a few ounces of fluff that you turned into a semblance of yarn. So they continued to accumulate in baskets and on shelves and soon you wonder what will happen to them. Something needs to happen.

Then one day you are looking at your Zoom Loom and realize you have the perfect tool for using up little bits of homespun. So you start weaving away and start gathering lots of little squares of all colors. What next?

Mine went into a cape. I laid them out in different patterns on the floor, many different times, and eventually came up with a pattern for the back that worked well with what I had so far. (Picture long gone but did take one for when I started putting it together when I had a pattern I liked.) Then started down the front. Alas, as this was a work in progress and depended on what was spun it ended up with a not so evenly pattern on front, but then that is kind of what kind of project this was. What was at hand is what went into it. So the best of the early learning to spin yarn became a new cape.


The back

The original back idea, that was approved by me, got shortened by a row because of wanting more for the front of certain colors. I now wish I hadn’t changed that and had kept the original back pattern. Alas too late for that change. I am not taking it apart to change anything! I do still like its symmetry. I even remember many of those yarns and their spinning. Some from the very beginning and some further down in time. I do like the thick squares best for looks despite the fact they are so hard to weave the last couple of rows.


The front

Of course after such a nice pattern on the back I was left with leftovers for the front. There is more of a pattern from the top coming down that then somewhat goes its own way and did its own thing. I don’t dislike it but looking at it on a small scale in a picture, I see where I would now switch some of the squares around and place them in different spots.

I will say though that some of those squares are really nice and some aren’t so very nice. Still blaming it on that early learning curve. The wonder is that I can see where I’ve been and where I’m at now in spinning.

That is quite a fancyish crochet border around it. Two rows done on the same level one in front of the other.  I think this border would look much nicer in a very thin crochet thread on something nice a bit delicate. But it does give it the bulk it needs for what it is.

So Learning to Spin is complete and I do still have several bits of early spinning that is cream colored in a basket. They all look really sad compared to these. Need to dye them and find something to do with them now.

I did post a bit on this project while still not finished at Then and Now Spinning.


Categories: Fiber, Weaving | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Then and Now Spinning

It has been awhile since I posted. I have been in the midst of a larger project for spinning than I normally do. As in, I came up with a plan for all of my handspun, early stuff, that was lying around. Now I have been spinning for a few years though not as continuously to be a consummate master of it. But I have been spinning and do enjoy it.

One day this past spring I hit on a plan for a project. I had a Zoom Loom and loved using it. I had made some squares with my handspun with it, and I have posted before about that at Projects Abound and When Projects Aren’t Going Well. So you can see it has been a couple of years since I decided that using my handspun that was in small lots, not perfect, needing something to happen to them was perfect on a pin loom.

Alas, what was to happen to these squares that I had been making over the past couple of years and mainly here recently? This spring I decided that a perfect project would be to make a cloak. So taking out my squares I laid them out several times on the floor to make patterns and decide what would work with all these diverse squares.

Then my three week trip this summer was coming up. I would be driving Mark’s truck so space was not an issue. They all came with me as well as a spindle and more wool and the Zoom Loom and crochet hook to continue making squares and crocheting them together.


A sneak peak at the project

I sat for a week watching the extended Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies with my father and spun, wove, and crocheted away. Got quite a bit of the project done on that trip.

As this project is about handspun, past and present, it is very eclectic in its colors, spinning, quality of spinning and wool, well really everything about it.

As it is an evolving project on this end now (though still not completed) there are a few things I would do different but at this point I’m not taking anything apart. It is what it is.

Now I’m spinning and working on a border around the whole thing. Had a pretty merino silk mix that is all the crocheting that you see in the above picture. The colors in it were real subtle and once spun even less so. It seems to be just a black. Though there is a glow about it that doesn’t say black like the picture says. I have run out of that so now have spun some generic black wool I have. Will be interesting to see how the two look together.


Singles yarn

Now all the spinning being done this summer is on spindles. When traveling I take my Bosworth. But at home I use my Golding. It never leaves home but oh, I love using the Golding most. This black wool has been interesting in seeing how color is really so indefinite. I know that’s not the right word, and I should some day look up proper terminology for what I observe. But it was amazing, to me, to watch this fiber as I drafted it looking toward a window and seeing a blue glow all about it. As the light came through the thin fiber strands it had a pretty blue tint. I know that all has to do with the dying and how black is created in dyes but still despite the chemistry etc. I love to see it happen.


Piled yarn

Last night I got two spindles plied. So today it will be some more Slow TV of the Knitting Night and crocheting around the cloak. I will see how far this goes and then back to spinning some more. You’ve got it. I don’t know yet how much of a border this will get in the end. Did find a pattern I like and will see how it looks. Then if it does please me, oh dear, I’ll need to be spinning more. I’m sure I don’t have enough for any big dream though I have been amazed at how much farther the yarn has gone than I have expected with the crocheting. (No I haven’t done any numbers to see what I need to do to accomplish any of this. It is what it is.)

As we all need reminders. I went out to look at my very first spinning and the wrist distaff I made with it. Actually my very first was a red that I wove into a hat and it sold at the CHH sale. Rather surprised me that the two hats sold. But a very close second is this white. I didn’t find it. YIKES! I do need to figure out what happened to it. I wouldn’t have gotten rid of, given away, whatever it. It should be still about as a reminder. Thankfully, I did find a picture on the computer of it so here is my first and yes, despite that thin bit in the picture above, I have vastly improved.

spinning - first spun yarn as a wrist distaff

My first spinning project


Categories: Fiber, Spinning, Weaving | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

My Apron is Now Blue

Yes, I had a desire to dye my workhorse apron blue. It is the apron that has managed to make it to more than one entry here. From the moment that I wove the cloth and completed the sewing. Then it has been a help so many times – needing hot pads for cast iron pots or an umbrella in a gully washer. On a hot Texas summer day, it was so handy for wiping away sweat. It had all the marks of its life but still going strong as ever.


My set up

But what does one do when they come home with indigo? They look for something to turn blue and my apron went in the pot. I poured out the large container of dye into a bucket my husband got me, and I let it sit. Then I added color release (oh, what is its proper name?) to the pot a couple of times and then got a fairly green paper towel twist. So in went the apron. And then laid out. It was a bit windy this particular day so hence the cardboard protecting the pot from blowing bits of this and that while awaiting the next dunking.

At first I didn’t think it was really working and I was going to have to go in and read a good bit more. But… Then I pulled it out and it had that greenish hue that was exciting to see turn blue. So I laid it out to oxidize and came back later. In it went again. I so wanted to get a picture of that greenish hue before it really oxidized but alas and alack it always turned before the camera could catch it. Even when I got the tripod out and only had to hit the button. I am wondering though about slowing that change down. I’m sure it had to do with how well set up the pot was and as I’m still a green newbie at it… Much to learn yet.


It  is getting darker

But for a good bit of the day I kept dunking the apron and then taking it out. Laying it out to oxidize. Constantly having to move the drying rack as the sun passed across the sky as I did read to keep it in the shade while processing. It started much closer to the back door than it finished.

I loved the dark wet color so kept at it a couple more times and finally declared it done and let it dry completely. I could be happy if it were even darker than it is but all in all it is a pretty good color. Then I read Connie’s notes on finishing and so I washed and set and declared it completed. That was just in time to wear it last Saturday.


Ready to head out

Saturday, Texas 180th Independence Day celebration was at Washington-on-the-Brazos not far from me. Since joining the guild in Bryan, I had the opportunity to go out to Barrington Farm and demonstrate spinning for the day. I love spinning and talking history so what is a better way to spend a day? As I was getting ready to head out early, Mark got a picture of me in my handwoven dress and now handwoven, partly handspun, indigo dyed blue apron. Had the car packed with my wheel, wool, cotton, bench, niddy noddy, and much more, because you never know what question will be asked or what you will decide that you wished you had brought along.

It was a beautiful sunny day. With a wonderful breeze that only got in the way when trying to card wool and then take it off the cards and roll it up. I learned to aim the cards in just the right direction to let the breeze help me and not hinder.

I had several great conversations. I guess when you love history, and you think everyone should love it as much as you, and they should want to learn all they can; you love it when someone comes by and wants to listen and ask questions. Though near the end was the best part of the day. A group stopped by and the mother had that look of someone who had spun out of necessity in her life. I asked if she had and through her children translating for us, I learned she had spun but with a wheel that you turned with a handle. I did a first and asked if she would like sit and try my wheel out. I never let people touch it when demonstrating, but I couldn’t help myself here.  I learned that they were from Damascus, and I was amazed that here was a lady from the oldest city in the world (continuously lived in) sitting at my wheel taking part in one of the oldest occupations in the world. I was so in the moment that I just lived it and now have so many questions I would love to ask her and her children. She had that wonderful old sweet grandma look about her and her kids were in their 20s or so maybe young 30s by my guess. Oh, I want to talk with them now.

That aside I had a wonderful day. Lovely day. Sweet day. Thank you Lord for the blessing of it.

And you never know who you will meet.



My spot for the day

Categories: dyeing, Spinning | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Ball of Yarn

Ply magazine Worsted

Ply magazine Worsted

My big accomplishment here of late is a ball of yarn. So not something big and grandiose to remind myself of later as I read this, but I did try something new and achieved an end result. I had bought some grey Jacob wool and have spun one ball of it. But then I I bought the Ply magazine on worsted spinning. Interesting and one can learn a lot in there, but the article that caught my eye for the moment was one about a plying ball when using a spindle. Hey, that I can use right now. I had done one ball by andian plying, but if there is an easier way that would help plying on the spindle? I am all for it.

So I spun two spindles of wool and read again the article on The Plying Ball and set about to create one with my wool that was desiring a better home than what it had been reduced to. This was accomplished outside. I had taken the Wildlife out to enjoy the sunny day. Yes, we are still in the condo looking for a place and so Mattie doesn’t get to spend all the time laying outside in the sun as she loves to do. So a special treat for her this afternoon.

Winding my ply ball

Winding my ply ball

This took quite a bit of time to get accomplished and Sam, who doesn’t particularly like to lay out in the sun. Quite the inside boy he is. Decided it was time to bug mom to take him inside.

Mom, it is way past time for going back inside!

Mom, it is way past time for going back inside!

Now I know that Amelia is a great spindler, but she never touched on a problem I had as I neared the end of winding. You see my two spindle fulls were not the same length. I checked but no, as far as the article is concerned they come out the same so it was up to me to decide if I was going to just cut the longer one off and let it be or go ahead and try to match them up.

Yikes, why couldn't you have come out perfect?

Yikes, why couldn’t you have come out perfect?

Well I decided to wind the leftover around my hand and then join the two ends and continue and so I drove myself crazy and did it and managed to have one complete plying ball completed.

One finished ply ball

One finished ply ball

Now it was completed, and Sam could be happy as I packed things up (books, magazines, spindle, yarn, wool, and chair) and got us all together to go back up to the room. Mattie alas wasn’t so happy with me, but que sera we all headed inside. I then started spinning my ball. It went well at first and even practiced starting the spindle with my foot – all going well. Quite happy. But then I learned one lesson with this method. Better to spin half spindle fulls and then ply to one spindle. There was way too much yarn by the end, and I didn’t want to stop it. But this was on my homemade spindle I made since being here in the condo and having my spindles in storage in Dallas, so on we tramped. Before we do this again though, I do need to find a way to cut a notch in the shaft. A half hitch just couldn’t hold on as the spindle got quite full and heavy. I ended up finishing by pretending it was a support spindle and managing through a few mishaps to finally spin it all onto the spindle.

One very full spindle

One very full spindle

Alas Mark got home from work toward the end of this, and I hadn’t seen a clock in a few hours so had to stop at this point and get some supper on and spend some time together. Then as he took the Wildlife for a walk (Mattie is not a happy girl at night until she gets a walk with her daddy), I got back to working on my yarn. Now I wound it into a ball on my homemade nostie. Ok, so not so much homemade as home found. A toilet roll tube serves the purpose quite well and so a ball of plyed wool is completed today.

A complete plyed ball of wool

A complete plyed ball of wool

Now I am wanting to make something with this but it really needs to go into a project that … yes, … is in storage in Dallas. The theme of my life right now. So it will wait till then and join a bunch of other handspun into my Zoom Loom project that is pretty awesome in my head.

Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A Dreary January

So I am still sitting here in the condo on a 32 degree day hating to have to walk two dogs which means out the door, down the way, down the stairs, and out to the grassy yard at the end. If all is great then they get a long walk around, if not, then it is short and back mama runs in whether they want to or not. I know all three of us will be happy when they can be just turned loose in a yard with no leashes and can stay as long as they want.

But that aside, sitting here I have some reading and fibery things to do. Alas the reading is going better than the fibery arts. Mostly.

So the colors are great but the pattern .... Hopefully by the end it will get itself worked out and look great.

So the colors are great. But the pattern …. Hopefully by the end it will get itself worked out and look great.

First I did start another inkle pattern. My eyes got big and I picked a detailed pattern from The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory. There is this beautiful pattern on page 77 called Baltic-Style 13. So I started it and it just doesn’t look well and is a devil for me to figure out each row. So it sits. I never think it looks right, though I think as it grows the previous rows will look better though the immediate ones need more around them to look ok. I did see a mistake in it though it does look ok and could be right if you didn’t know what the pattern was suppose to be. Alas and Alack. I need to get back to it.

The suppose to be easy shawl

The suppose to be easy shawl

Next I did go to Yarnorama during their end of the year sale and got some pretty yarn. So I found an easy crochet pattern and went to work. Now I really can do basic crochet. I have done lots within the whole scope of my life, but for a pattern that looks so easy I am making this very hard. I have frogged two rows and it is sitting once again at a trouble spot. No matter how careful I am I still don’t get the right number of stitches where they need to be. Can I scream?

Funny when I picked this pattern it reminded me of watching my mom and aunt back in the 70s crocheting afghans that were this basic pattern. Now if they can do it, why can’t I? This is a bit fancier with every fourth row being a puffy stitch but all the same….

Jacob wool and homemade spindle

Jacob wool and homemade spindle

So also while at Yarnorama I succumbed to a weakness and bought a bag of Jacob wool. Alas did I have a spindle in this neck of the woods with me? Of course not. They are all in storage. Why I didn’t keep one out is beyond me, but alas I hadn’t spun for awhile at home so didn’t consider it suddenly being necessary. So I had to come up with something.

I bought a dowel rod (actually a package of this length) and got some Filo clay and brought it home. Having never used the clay before, I didn’t know what I was in for but set about playing with it and boy does it take a bit to warm it up and get to mold. But I persevered and created a disk. Now was the tricky part as it just says to bake it and looking online was not much help beyond low heat and 15 minutes to an hour. How was one to know? Anyway, I made it, was happy with the results, and have a spindle.

My homemade spindle

My homemade spindle

I remembered how to do a half hitch at the top so with no more ado, it actually works. Crazy but all I have to remember is to have a bit longer leader at the top than I would on my other spindles and keep the hitch near the top and it spins nicely, and I have yarn. Hopefully I will get quite a bit plyed and then will use it in my handspun weaving project when it and I are in the same place again.

So this is where I sit at this time. I will now return to spinning and hopefully back to the other two and can report a completion of something before to many days past.

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I Love Inventories – North

So I found Sarah North’s father’s name and inventory today as well as the one for Henry Earnest. Sarah was Henry’s daughter-in-law and she had married Henry’s son Felix. Her father was John North and he died in Washington County, Tennessee in 1794. Now I have seen his death date as 15 October 1794 but have discovered that date is actually the date of the sale of his property. So he died earlier in actuality unless something strange was happening. Hmmm….

His inventory filed in the August Sessions 1794 lists many fibery things. 10 head of sheep, 1 loom and tacklings (another great term for loom accessories), 1 large wheel, 3 small wheels, 1 pair cotton cards, 1 pair wool cards, 1 pair sheep scissors, 12 lb. wool, 1 flax break.

Now his sale pretty much is the same list. But at the sale 15 October 1794 Esther (his wife though unsure if Sarah’s mother as it seems he was married twice) bought 5 sheep £1.1s , 1 loom and tacklings £2.10s, 2 wheels and 2 pair cards 15s, 1 wheel and 2 spools 6s, wool 10s.

In comparison with Henry’s here we have more cotton references compared to Henry’s having more flax, but both have sheep and wool. Looks like Esther is not considering retiring from the need to spin and weave the cloth needed in the home since she bought back the loom, tacklings, and wheels, and cards. Rebecka North did buy one of the wheels. There must have been a few women in the home to man all the wheels but also in my latest reading in spinning history care was taken in having wheels for certain duties. They didn’t buy or build a one wheel to spin everything like we do today. They spun wool, cotton, flax on different wheels if possible. Amazing to think how the Great Wheel continued on despite what one would think as the treadle/flyer wheel should have made it obsolete but alas in many many inventories I have found a “large” wheel and “small” wheel in the same home.

Picture taken at Williamsburg

Picture taken at Williamsburg

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I love Inventories – Earnest

Ok, I have the loom warped and weaving. Today I had big plans to get a lot done. Really big plans and even for tonight. But alas I got sidetracked in the one way that can take down a whole day without a blink of the eye. Yes, I got to looking at family history again. I found something that was taking me around the mulberry bush and was looking promising but alas and alack…. I don’t think it holds water unless you can find more out there hiding somewhere. But in rambling around the centuries, I ended up back in 18th and early 19th century Green and Washington Counties in Tennessee and in some wills, inventories, sales and found some for two ancestors. Now since getting into spinning and weaving, I have an addiction to fibery finds in inventories done at someone’s death. One, they can show how much was done in an area at a certain time when looking at a group but also just to have a kinship with my ancestresses when I see what is found in their homes. I have written about Daniel Cummins’ inventory and sale and the fact that the girls there must have clothed the family. But now for more.

I am a proud descendant of Henry Earnest. There has been quite a bit of research done on his family. He came from Switzerland with his parents who died enroute. He was taken in by Lawrence Stephens and at age married Lawrence’s daughter Mary. By 1771, they moved from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia south into what would  become eastern Tennessee. There above the Nollichucky River he built what is known today as the Earnest Fort House.

Earnest Fort House from rear

Earnest Fort House from rear

Earnest Fort House from front

Earnest Fort House from front

I got to visit the home of Henry & Mary and it so makes one wish to see it as they knew it. As the road crosses the river today, the first thing you see is what has to be the back facing the river and road. There are three stories here and rather ugly. Wonder what once was? Then if you walk up the hill and look at the other side, you find a nice front door and stoop at the second story. But for what we don’t know about it’s first days we do know that it still looks like the fortress it has always been.

Henry died in 1809 and I have seen transcripts of his will but this time I found the ever lovely inventory and sale. So what fibery wonders did the family own? Quite a bit actually. The inventory lists less than the sale but both are interesting. So the inventory lists: 14 head of sheep, 1 loom reeds and gears etc, 2 hackles, 1 cotton wheel, 2 small wheels, 1 check wheel, set of spools, 1 ps fulld cloth, ps fulld linsey, some quantity of unbroke flax. This seems like quite the spinning and weaving shop.

But then we read the sale list and there is even more. Sale was 26 April 1809.

Mary bought back one pair cotton cards for  $.10, spinning wheel for $.10. Then quite a bit of the rest was bought by either sons or sons-in-law with a couple others sprinkled in. William Brown bought 6 yds. fulled cloth for $9.03, Samuel Snapp 3 yds. fulled linsey for $3, and 1 quill wheel $.29, and 1 reed and geers $.25, William Brown 3 yds. fulled linsey $2.50, Ezekiel Stanbury 3 yds. fulled linsey $2.48, Joseph Looney 2 3/4 yds. fulled linsey $2.02, and reed and geers $.97, Felix Earnest 8 1/4 yds. fulled cloth $14.50, John Cox 1 spinning wheel $1.20, Jacob Hiess 1 loom $4, Samuel D. Warren 1 reed and gers $1.61 and and another reed and gers $.81, Peter Earnest set of spools $.71, George Wells set of spools $.34, and 6 1/2 lb. wool $2.40, Peter Earnest 1 hackle $1.34, 7 sheep $8.27, and 7 sheep $5.02, Nicholas Long unbroke flax $1.16, Adam Shurley 1 clock reel $.80, Jacob Recer 5 lb. of wool $1.89, Jacob Earnest 7 lb. wool $3.25.

From these two lists I am thinking that Mary Earnest had a great loom set up with various reeds and “gers” or “gears” (I love the terminology in inventories for loom accessories.) I also am thinking that her daughters had set ups of their own and sent their husbands to the sale to get some of mom’s “reeds and gers” for themselves. After Henry’s death she lived with her son Peter, and I am thinking she kept at a bit of cotton spinning but that was it.

My direct ancestor, Felix Earnest, seems to have gotten quite a bit of cloth ready to be made up into something. Actually it reminds me that my dress fabric I wove was a 9 yard warp which off the top of my head I cannot tell you how much cloth came off the loom and was wet finished, but I think I have a bit of perspective of the 8 1/4 yds. fulld cloth he bought and what it took to make it. Alas mine was wet finished in a washing machine so I did get it a bit easier. I wonder if he got it for his new wife. My ancestress, Sarah North, had died in 1807 and Henry married Sarah Oliphant in 1808. I wonder if she was a spinner and weaver as Felix didn’t buy any of those items? Maybe a gift of cloth was a blessing.

One can dream up some quite interesting stories reading inventories.

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My First Spinning

I know that if you ask me how I got into spinning and weaving the story you will hear goes like – how my love of history led me out to Jesse Jones Park to the Homestead to see about volunteering and pretending to live in 1820s 1830s Texas. While there I met Jane who asked me what I would like to do. Of course I replied that I wanted to learn all I could about life then. She then turned to me and said, “Would you like to learn to spin and weave?” After the goose bumps rose, I said YES. And as the saying goes – the rest was history. So I started at the park and spinning and weaving.

My early days at JJP

My early days at JJP

But if I were truthful that wasn’t the first. We had lived in England for 5 1/2 years and the month before we moved back to the States, we went over and visited Little Moreton Hall. I had read an article on her when in high school and now was finally going to see her for myself. It is a very crooked building and has been since it was built as the family had a good start on her before learning that great halls were now all the rage and so added one at the top of the house since there was no where else. Alas the foundation wasn’t strong enough for the extra room, and the house has ever since been sliding, sinking, tilting, etc. with each succeeding generation doing what they could to keep her standing.

Little Moreton Hall

Little Moreton Hall

Now my first advice in these events is not to read everything they give you when you first arrive or else you may be purposely breaking the rules. Alas I was too excited with the view to read the back page of the flyer they gave us and missed an important notice.

When we got inside we ooh’d and ahh’d appropriately and took pictures of the shapes in the windows which would make wonder blackwork patterns. Then managed to enter a room over the entrance and there was a gal in period dress spinning away. ( And you wonder why I had such a hard time wrapping my head around a history of less than two hundred years when Mark and I had gotten to the point of only going to places at least 500 years old. Otherwise they were just too new and boring. I’d love to need her dress. Though thankfully Texas history proved to not be too boring.) Well, I have rabbit trailed so back to the story.

A great find in a small room

A great find in a small room

No one else was about and only I was entranced with watching what she was doing. She then invited me over to see what was happening and said that I could have a go at it as well if I desired. Well, she didn’t have to ask twice. She showed me what drafting was and how it all worked.

Learning to draft - though at the time I didn't know that term

Learning to draft – though at the time I didn’t know that term

She then let me have the wool and she treadled the wheel while I drafted and created my first yarn. A very exciting moment.



Alas when all was done she let me take the yarn I had spun and we walked out. As it was a month and I was moving across an ocean that bit of yarn was tossed in a – what am I going to do with you, I have nowhere for you and though it was fun when will I ever get to do that again moment once home. Ah, the bad decisions we make though alas even if I had tried to save it, I probably would never have known the safe place I put it again. But what you see there in my hands was the first.

Now to not reading that back page. It says in big letters not to be missed if you turn it over. NO PICTURES IN THE HOUSE. Oops. Yes Mark did get in trouble right after this for taking a picture but alas it didn’t happen till after we got these of my first spinning experience.

Last note for the WordPress group. Yes, I finally played with watermarks on pictures and though a bit slow on it at first, I did these four pictures and learned a little bit about doing it.

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