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.

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

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.