Thursday, April 23, 2009

Made Well Co. Vintage Drum Carder

Here she is. My vintage Made Well Drum Carder from Sifton, Manitoba, Canada that I bought from a nice person on Ebay who had purchased it from an antique dealer in Canada. The antique dealer told them that it had been in Newfoundland, and was found in a old barn. I asked around on Ravelry to see if any one has information concerning this beauty. Luckily, my prayers were answered and here's what I learned about it's spinning wheels and such:

Quoted from info I have..Selected Canadian Spinning Wheels in Perspective by Judith Buxton-Keenlyside, 1980:
“The company was started during the depression by John Weselowski, it later became the Make-Well Manufacturing Company and was famous for it hand-operated drum carders as well as it’s wheels. Several of the stylistic features of this wheel were borrowed from the traditional Ukrainian wheels. Wheel and Flyer spindle are arranged vertically. The inner maiden bearing is a hole drilled in the wooden upright. Tensioning is accomplished by raising or lowering a tablet on the outer maiden. Hallmarks of the Spin-Well wheel include a solid drive wheel, pre-cast metal flyer, treadle-system using a fixed treadle bar, footman placement in front of the wheel and provision for extra bobbins.”
Here is a quote from a letter sent to my friend by Florence Feldman-Wood The Spinning Wheel Sleuth where she talks about info on this wheel from a man in Indiana who was in the business of repairing all types of spinning wheels, He states to her:
“These wheels were made in the 60’s and 70’d during the rebirth of the handspinning and weaving crafts. They are well built wheels made of maple and solid core maple plywood. At 27.00 they were prices well below the better New Zealand wheels which sold for 80 to 100 at the time I’ve had two in maple and one in walnut. Paula Simmons used their wheels.”

I also learned from the lady on Ravelry that Mr. Duncan on Duncan Drum Carder told her that this drum carder was the model for for Paula Simmon’s first husband who designed her drum carders as known as Patrick Green's Drum Carders. When you compare the two styles, you can see that they are very similar.

Now, I have not received my drum carding cloth, yet, from Howard Brush Company. As you can see, it is layered wooden wheels that have been glued together, very good construction. If you plan on restoring a carder, like I have, I found this to be the least costly approach. But, I warn you. it will be over $100 to replace worn cloth on both wheels, but compared to $350-$1600, it a steal. I had to replace the belt, as with most vintage carders. I found a lawn mower belt than was nearly the exact size I needed. I simple added a wooden cover to the large drum wheel, and it now works perfectly.

Now, a little disclaimer of sorts, I could be completely wrong, and all the information I have collected be false. I haven't found online sources to support these stories expect what I have been told from numerous people. So, if something here is completely and utterly false, let me know and I can change it. This blog is meant to inform others of the treasures they may also have hidden in their sheds and it's history.

ETA 12/20/2010: Pics of the relatively finished carder with new carding cloth and licker support blocks. Not pretty, but works like a dream.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grandma's "Stupid Pie"

My Grandma Nellie raised seven children in a one bedroom house in the backwoods of Southern Illinois. They weren't rich, and often had holes in their clothes as they would play barefoot in the woods. She had to learn to feed an army on little money and ingenuity that could only come from a great need.

It was a wonderful surprise when my mother passed along to me my Grandma Nellie's Church Cookbook. I've had fun reading the odd recipes that my Grandma added. Of them all, however, the "Stupid Pie" made me laugh the most. I can imagine her with all the boys and girls crowding outside the kitchen screen door wanting to charge in for the dinner meal. Most likely they would keep on walking out the next door with their plates since the kitchen was no bigger than walk-in closet.

So, here it is, Stupid Pie, courtesy of my Grandma Nellie who passed away in a car accident when I was but 4 years old.


3 egg whites
1 Cup (granulated) sugar
20 Ritz crackers, finely rolled
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Cup chopped nuts

Beat egg whites until very stiff; slowly add sugar. Add all other ingredients. Put in greased pie plate and bake at 360 degrees for about 25 minutes (no more). Cool. Top with whipped cream or toppings such as Cool Whip. Serve immediately or chill and serve later.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time for some shop love!

I love the things I make for my Etsy shop. I get to dye, spin, bend, and sculpt to my hearts desire. But with all the items, the one thing I hate is mailing. It can be frustrating at times with deciding how to mail particular package: how much does it weigh? do I add a personal note or gift? what would excite me when I open the mail?

Lately, I've been wrapping all the items in brown paper that I tie off with leftover yarn. It reminds me of the song, "My Favorite things" that Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music". I wonder if anyone gets it when they see it. Oh well, if they don't. But here are some of the things I make. Enjoy!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Phat Fiber April - Eco/Green Theme

I was so excited to step up to my door this afternoon to my Phat Fiber box. I simply couldn
t wait to tear into it to finger all the goodies I knew were hiding inside. So, without further adieu, my first impressions:

Oriri Draco Design Moss Sock Yarn- This is a beautiful sock yarn with sheen given off by the bamboo in it. Definitely a luxury that will turn your head. Faded Forestry Bulky Yarn - Too much fun! I'm a super fan of thick and thin spun, and this delivers it all. Vibrant color, squishy texture, and fun, all in one. Easter Egg Hunt - This is exactly what you would think an easter egg would spin into! I love the color of the thread and how it plays off the wool. Sea Glass Handspun - Another gorgeous hand spun with beads and sparkley ply thread. It looks like there is something other than wool in it, because there's a sheen in the wool that nicely compliments the thread. I love it! Cardea-Morning Mist - An Alpaca/Wool Handdyed super squishy yarn. It;s the type of yarn I think the make into a accessory of some sort. Fantastic!
The Cupcake Factory Vegan Cupcakes - I'm glad to see a true upcycled yarn! I love her samples, and this doesn't disappointment.

Moonlight And Laughter Trillium Wool - The picture doesn't catch just how lovely and soft this batt is. I am looking forward to see what other goodies are in the shop!
Infinity Yarn And Fiber Gold Clouds - I love Infinity's stuff as well! This Wool/Bamboo mix is elegant and is SUPER soft. It feels like it would be a dream to spin. Great job! Genmaicha - This 100% BLC wool in green and oranges with hints of blue is a special combination that I don't see very often. It reminds me of falling leaves in November, but this is much softer to roll around in!
WildHare Fiber Studio Gone Fishing - First of all, I love the name. It's hard sometimes to come up with names that exemplify the colors we create, and this one makes me smile. Another cool point is that this is made partially from recycled soda bottles! Cool, huh? Green Wool roving - A generous 1.2 oz batt of vibrant greens. It's super squishy and I think my baby girl has just made a pillow out of it. . .

Okay, I got it back.
Brianna - Out of all the fiber (batts and roving) samples, this is the most luxurious. It's a bamboo/ merino blend in pink and purples that came with a little baggie for odds and ends. I think I have a thing for bamboo. You gotta check out the drop spindles, too. To die for. . .
Plum Crazy Ranch & Fiber Art Optim, Tussah Silk, and Tussah Silk Noil - Need I say more? It's silk! Stunning! You got to get it.
Moonwood Polyclay bead and milk fiber -Perfect for people with allergies. It's softer than silk to me. I am going to have to get me some of this!

Now, the extra non-fiber goodies.
Wild Hare Fiber Studio - sent a Phat Fiber button that is immediately going into my purse. Thank you! sent some Biscotti that I'm saving for in the morning. Mmmm. . .
Calizona Designs - sent some awesome bamboo needles that I can't wait to try out! I've never had bamboo and this will be a treat.
Phat included an awesome green pouch for all the extra cards that I need to find a use for. Hmm. . . sent a magnet and small sample of roving. I love your dsign on this sample!

Thank you all for taking the time to send in these samples! I love everything I get and use it all in one way or another. Take care!

And Paige's Beaded Designs included a stunning stitch marker that will make any knitter feel like a princess. I love the twisted o ring!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Canning Marmalade

As a military child, I moved around a lot. My mom was my main caretaker, and I love her dearly. But. . . she was not the best of cooks and was crafty at all. I know, ironic huh? My dinner's mainly consisted of blue box mac & cheese and Ramen with Spaghetti sometimes. As I got older, we switched to MacDonald's and Sonic. Safe to say, I had a lot of bad habits to break when I had children.

That was part of the reason I began my degree in Nutrition. I wanted to know how to cook properly and to make casseroles and ice cream from scratch, not a box. I wanted those life skills that I didn't get when I was younger.

So when I visited the store and found strawberries on sale for $1.50 a lb, which is usually up to $5, I snatched up as many as I could without getting in trouble by my husband. : ) I've been working the past two days to can as much for Christmas Gifts. That is the beauty of this process. Not only is it cheaper than buying the 20+ family members each a $10 gift, but it's unique and will be used.

Just so you know, jelly is just made from juice; jam is made from the fruit; and marmalade is made from the fruit and peel.

In all I spent $25 for cans, fruit, pectin, and lids (jars that I'm reusing and cooking pots not included) for 24 jars of Strawberry Lemon Marmalade. That's about $1 a jar! Not to mention that's it's very green by reusing the jars and there are minimal artificial preservatives that are found i mass produced store brands. It tastes much better, too!

I also love knowing that I'm teaching my children that sometimes it is worth it to take the time to make it yourself. Sure, you can go buy jelly, clothes, plants from the store, but cooking, sewing, and growing are more satisfying and give you that feeling of ownership. You'll appreciate everythign more knowing what goes into making an item.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Love for My Fellow Business Women

I had the wonderful pleasure to attend the Norman Medieval Fair this past weekend in Norman, Oklahoma. I actually helped sell bodices from Damsel in this Dress. I have to tell you a little about the wonderful woman who is behind the work.

Michelle, who owns Damsel in this Dress, creates the bodices from her own patterns. It takes great ingenuity, skill, and hard work not only to develop the items, but to also successfully run a business while maintaining the quality. She is constantly tweaking her designs to update and improve them. As a result, her bodices are not only beautiful and eye catching, but study to last years of lacing. Thank you Michelle, if you read this, for the hard work you put into you business.

Also this past week, I visited with my friend Leslie who owns and manages L&B Yarn Co. in Norman, Oklahoma. She and her sister opened their yarn shop a little under 2 years ago now. She is a wonderful person and truly cares about everyone that comes in the store. Her shop reminds my of an old library with shelves and shelves of yarn and goodies that wind back and forth. I haven't visited a yarn store yet that surpasses her selection and warmth of space. If your lucky to stop by, tell her I sent you. Also, in the near future, you will see some of my yarns grace her shelves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I've been recently informed of a website that is much like Etsy, but allows the seller to retain more of the profits because they operate using a monthly fee rather than a pay per sale fee. Another great point is when you refer 10 sellers, you get an account free for life. So, I'm setting up a business there and would like you to join me!

If you do decide to register, please click this link again to make sure I get a point towards free service. Check it out at:

Register on