Saturday, 20 October 2012

Spinning Guild

Todau was Spinning Guild day, I didn't think I would be able to go as we are still waiting for a part for the car, but lovely Sue Bailey gave me a lift.

A great day as usual, we had a lady demonstrating silk painting which was very interesting and I would love to be able to do the fantastic work she does on silk scarves, but I have far too many other things to do.

I hadn't got much Portland carded, so I grabbed the North Ronaldsay carded batts which I hadn't for some reason been able to spin up until now. Today it worked straightaway and I was spinning a lovely two tone cream and black yarn. The North Ronaldsay fibre had black guard hairs which aren't really noticable in the batts, but spun it comes up quite a bit darker. I will take some pictures and post later.

I bought Sarah some embroidery thread from Sue. She had several bags with what looked like samples threaded onto cards, along with some embroidery fabric. They should be suitable for Sarah to make embroidered cards or embroidery on pictures,  Advent Calendars, etc.

I have decided I need to spend more time spinning so need to sort out the little bedroom and make room for spinning wheels again. I also need to sort out some of the knitting machines, repair a couple so I can use them. I sold my Brother KH260 as I haven't used it in 4 years. I tried to use it the other day and after spending several hours doing tension squares and not getting very far as I couldn't match it up to the pattern I wanted to use, I decided to sell it. I still have a Singer chunky and a Knitmaster Zippy 90 which needs the carriage repaired. My spinning is getting sufficiently thin and non lumpy that I might be able to use handspun on those machines as long as I wax the wool first.

We got a planning application letter from Harborough District Council last week, apparently we have Alpacas coming to live in the fields opposite as they want to put up a hay barn, an agricultural storage shed and a temporary agricultural workers dwelling. This is very exciting, I wonder if they will need any help in exchange for fleeces.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

New washing machine and car starting

Good day today, the new washing machine arrived. I haven't had a brand new washing machine for over 15 years, so it is a real treat to have a shiny new one which is really quiet and has a time delay on it, no more timers. I have put the first load of hot wash stuff in to see how it comes out.

Better still, today we got the car started. It wouldn't start after Phil replaced the clutch so I posted a message on the Peugeot Forum asking for ideas. We got one, saying to check the engine speed sensor on the gearbox in case it was damaged or we forgot to put it back. We found the hole and bolt where it was supposed to be, no sensor. So Phil crawled underneath and had a look for it. It's a sensor so had to have wires on it. He found it, he had bolted it to another bracket because he couldn't remember where it went. After he replaced it, he turned the car over and it fired straight away. Then it came off power save mode and the windows work. Only one problem, the battery needs recharging as it is flat from him keep trying to start it over the last few days. We should have a car next week, as it will take some time for Phil to put everything back together, plus we need money for the Car Tax which should come from the knitting machine.

The knitting machine and ribber I put on eBay yesterday have a lot of watchers already, and I have had people asking for 'Buy It Now' prices and shipping costs to Denmark and Singapore, also Russia.

Clovelly in North Devon, near where Sarah lives has been flooded with water pouring down the cobbled streets on its way to the harbour. The sea is stained with all the mud from the run off.

Off to feed us and bunnies now, then sit and do some knitting. Heating is on as it is really cold here. Also need to check the washing from the new machine.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Car problems, WI and more

We are having terrible trouble with our Peugeot 607. After getting it through it's MOT which cost £440 mainly because we had to get a brand new headlight at £200 because someone had bodged the old one and it wasn't adjustable any more, in fact fell apart when Phil took it out to look at it. $ weeks after the MOT, the clutch went. Garage quotes varied from £450 to £160, but we weren't sure of the garage in Coventry, even though it was the brother of one of our friends. Phil decided he would do it, even though it was a huge job.

He has been doing it for 5 weeks now, not every day, gaps in between. Lots of problems as everything underneath the car had to be removed to drop the gearbox. He managed eventually to get it all apart with lots of help from the service manual we bought online. Then, putting it back together he managed to push the steering rod through the pipes for the heating and when he filled the water up, it poured out into the foot well. To get to that, he had to remove the dashboard, another 4 day job with wiring looms everywhere. He has started putting it back together and it doesn't leak any more, but in the meantime, the car won't start and it is in power save mode (because the battery has been off). To get it out of power save mode you need to start it, vicious circle!

We have asked on the Peugeot Forum and they have suggested several things, but most of them seem to end up with 'get it diagnosed'. Problem! We can't take it anywhere to get it diagnosed. So, we have bitten the bullet and bought the hardware from eBay for £85 which has cleared out my Paypal account. That should arrive next week and we can plug it in and find out what is wrong with the car. Phil found several bodge jobs while he was taking it apart, so I don't think it was very well looked after. It is a very nice car, and hopefully with the software we can get it sorted out.

Once we know we can use the software, we can be put on the Peugeot Planet map on the forum and charge people to diagnose their cars. Most members who have these kits say they pay for themselves in a few weeks. We have several people waiting for us to ge this software so we can do their cars.

On to better things, went to the Peatling Parva WI last night for a talk by Sue Taylor on her Manx Loaghtan and Soay sheep. She lives on the edge of the village. Sue sends her fleeces and some of her friends to the mill in Launceston for spinning up. She then knits the wool into teddy bears, sheep, lap throws, jacket and all sort of lovely knitted articles. It was an interesting talk, I felt very tempted to buy a kit from her for a Louisa bear, but at £40 I can't justify that. I wish I had the time to develop my spinning and be able to make and sell things, but I need the money now and restoring sewing machines is a lot quicker.

I have decided to sell my Brother KH260 chunky knitting machine and ribber, it a lovely very expensive machine, but I have had it for about 4 years and never made anything on it. I cleaned it up, replaced the sponge bar and tested it. I found the punch card mechanism wasn't working, so dismantled the card reader, cleaned and oiled it, replaced it and it works fine now. When I have made chunky jumpers, I have used the Singer hobby chunky machine, which needs 3 of the flow combs repaired with plastic, but it makes good jumpers and I just have to fiddle round the flow comb thingy. I also have a Zippy 90 which needs the carriage repaired, also plastic to be replaced. I have the plastic repair kit, just haven't managed to get around to using it.

I have just bought a very old Knitmaster Super 4500 from our local auction for £12. I found instructions online for it, and also directions for stripping it down. It was very dirty! The bed is in sections like the Bond knitting machine, but maroon bakelite, it has that burnt smell which takes me back many years. It comes with a ribber, but the tension mast and yarn holder are missing. It seems as if they are extras as the instructions show it used like the Bond, just laying the yarn across the needles. I have stripped it right down, scrubbed the plastic sections, the metal strips which go across the bed and the retaining bar. The needles have been soaked in white spirit and washed. I'll oil them before I put them back by wiping them with an oily cloth.
This is the machine, courtesy of Susy Ranner at

Hopefully I should be able to re-assemble it tomorrow after I have packed a sewing machine to go to Ireland and cleaned out some of the rabbits.