Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two Tweaks

My latest project, Echobellinaria, is an fascinating mashup of Laminaria, Echo Flowers Shawl, and Silver Bells and Cockleshells, knitted with handspun merino silk. Alas, the ubiquitous, obnoxious Murphy showed up in my kitchen while I was on the home stretch. I ran out of both yarn and beads twenty rows from the end. I spun more yarn, but have had the darnedest time trying to find matching beads. All of my bead tubes sport labels with both the company name and bead number, except, of course, the tubes I decided to use for this shawl.

I finally remembered where I purchased them, and called the store yesterday. I'm hoping against hope that they are a good match, because the other three tubes I ordered from various web stores weren't.

fleegle hands Murphy a cup of coffee laced with the Draught of Living Death and gleefully watches him drink it down....

In the meantime, I thought I would post two quick tweaks for improving efficiency. If you don't spin or bead, well, stay tuned for the next post, which will hopefully be replete with Echobellinaria eye candy.

Spindle Shafts

I have small fingers, and find twirling spindles with thick shafts very difficult and tiring. If you are experiencing the same problem, try sanding down the top of the shaft. For me, reducing the shaft diameter from the one shown on the left to more svelte version on the right makes for a miraculous improvement in spindle efficiency. Give it a whirl, as it were.

 Use a piece of 220 grit sandpaper about 2 inches wide to quickly reduce the diameter of the upper two inches or so. When you get close to the final diameter, go down to 600 grit, using a piece about 1 inch wide.

 Be careful to revolve the spindle as you sand so the shaft remains round and true.

For the final polish, use 800 grit, about 1 inch wide. Some people might want to wax the sanded area or use wood polish, but I haven't found it necessary.
Beader Tweak
I was hesitant to post this, but figured someone might be adventurous and try it. The other day I was fitting the caps onto my beaders, and I accidentally bent the tip on one of the 0.8mm beaders about five degrees. I couldn't sell it, so I set it aside for me. I used it this morning, and found it to be a huge improvement. The slight bend forced the yarn to slide right into the slot. Here's a photo:

I grabbed another beader and used the cap to bend it VERY GENTLY...and it worked splendidly.