This entry also posted at the Create Along.

Download the spreadsheet and play along at home.

It's been a while since I've done a tutorial and seeing as I use this technique all the time, it's about time I shared it with all of you. This also makes me feel better about the fact that I do not have any updates on my CAL project to post, as my deadline pieces are all keeping me busy.

NOTE: The attached spreadsheet is just a sample and contains measurements that may be useful but which may not meet the standards for some publications. You are welcome to use what I have for your own design purposes but it'll be you who has to ultimately support any patterns written from it, so do your research first.

The goal

Excel can be used to help you organize and plot your final pattern. Unfortunately, it can't do all the dirty work, but you can find yourself being a bit more consistent, if you let the program do your calculating. If you plan to submit your patterns for publication, providing a spreadsheet with all your work can be of great help to the tech editor. Doing so, may make logic errors more obvious and allow for faster editing.


A rough schematic of what we are shooting for

Another year in review

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Today, my humble blog turns three years old. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be a part of this knitting community. I love that I can bounce ideas off of people, stay in touch with family, and, of course, post copious pictures of my cute doggies. Every year, I seem to make more friends and learn more. And if it weren't for this here blog, I don't think I'd have have learned to spin.

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What have I done this past year? Oh so very much. I couldn't possibly name everything, but a few memorable moments include...

There was so much more that happened, it was hard to narrow it down.
Here's to another great year ahead, and hopefully many more.

Sometimes its good to be frugal.

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I may have mentioned before that El Matchador had gone into the Spinning Wheel Protection Program after being downed in an unfortunate drive by puppy incident. Even before that, there were some slightly off things about my dear wheel that I have worked around but have always known were not quite right. For one thing, the flyer had a tenancy to come loose from the front maiden, but there also seemed to be a bit of play around the axle of the wheel.

When a friend of mine posted about taking her Matchless to the Schacht headquarters for repairs, it got me thinking. Obviously, I don't have the luxury of driving over to Colorado, El Matchador in tow, to get a tune up, but I thought there might be a local resource who could handle my concerns.

It's probably worth mentioning that, having gotten my wheel on eBay before I knew much of anything about spinning on a wheel, the whole thing seemed more like voodoo than anything to me. Every time I use him, it becomes a little more clear to me how it all comes together but mostly I've thought of my wheel like my car. I can change a few key items but I don't want to get all crazy and start making expensive mistakes.

I contacted Schacht and asked them about Portland area resources for Matchless repairs. They were very very nice and wrote me back to say that they didn't have any resources for me locally but that I could ship El Matchador to them and pay the $45 an hour fee + parts (generally not more than 2 hours) or I could try to describe the problems or send photos and see if we could work through the issues that way.

Well, my friends, I'm not a cheap person but I'm not exactly rolling in dough, either. When my wheel was shipped to me, the UPS cost for packing and ground shipping was upwards of $70. With an hour or two of labor plus parts and shipping back, and I feared I'd end up spending more than I paid for the wheel. On some level, that would be fine, if it were really needed, but I had an inkling that my problems weren't substantial enough to warrant such extravagant care (no offense, SeƱor).

So I pulled the boy out and began to give him a once over.

Where that little yellow star is, the axle for the wheel had come loose a bit. I bumped it back into place. There was still a lot of play where the squiggly arrow is, so I walked around the back of the wheel.


That dark wood inset was very loose. What to do? Is the part worn away? Do I need a new one? To anyone who is familiar with their wheel, this might not be such a big thinker of a moment but for me, it took a few moments to realize how easy (and cheap) the fix is.

If you look back at the second picture, you'll see a column of screws with hexagon shaped slots. A quick riffle through Leo's allen wrenches and I had a match.

I aligned everything where I wanted it and gently tightened the screws. I figure they cannot be too tight, seeing as they press against wood, but that it needed to be snug enough to hold everything in place.

And that flyer issue? The same allen wrench taken to a screw in the front maiden, sorted that all out. I tightened it enough so that it would hold the flyer more securely.

El Matchador now runs better than the day he arrived at my home. And should he someday need major repair work, I'll happily pack him up snug and safe and ship him to Schacht. For now, it's good to have him here.

Caption me

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Leo told me today about this cute program called Comic Life. It has all the templates, colors and fonts needed to make your own fun little comics.

After taking a particularly silly picture of Miss Thea-Purl, I decided it was perfect for the cover of an imaginary comic book about twisted puppies and their evil thoughts.

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Alas, creativity escapes me, and the inner machinations of her mischievous mind have not been revealed to me. Any thoughts?

Good as new, maybe better

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The folks over at Golding just rock. At the Fiber Frolic, owner, Diane, offered to take my 0.6 ounce and 0.9 ounce, align the hooks and mail them back to me, complete with instructions for aligning, should I ever with to try myself.
A couple days after the frolic, she wrote me to say that they have updated the design of the smaller spindle, to have a thinner shaft, and would I like them to install that shaft on my 0.6 ounce. Well, that sounded just dandy to me.

A couple days later, my beautiful spindles were back in my hands, all buffed up and looking good or maybe better than new.

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Pre-surgery, the old shaft, on my smaller spindle, was about the same size as the larger spindle. You can really see the difference now. It spins amazingly well.

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The shaft switch also changed the weight. Now it's a petite 0.45 ounces. Just think of the cobwebs I shall spin.


While I was awaiting the return of my spindles, I was putting my new spindle to good use spinning up some beautiful fiber from Nistock Farms. The colorway is called "September Glow" and it's a cotwold and silk blend.

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The color of the fiber goes from a soft cream-of-mahogany color to vivid oranges and pinks. It's like a more neutral version of the Autumn Spice colorway I spun last year. The silk shows up as lovely white flecks. They tend to form little nubs, but I like them. The batts are as light as air so it spins like a dream. I may even bring El Matchador out of hiding.

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Panda, as always, humored my insanity. This has grown all the more exasperating for her since Thea tends to grab whatever I'm photographing and run off with it.

Speaking of Thea, hasn't she gotten big? Her spots are becoming more and more pronounce too. She's really starting to show her cattle dog side.

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The two girls have also gotten really close. They play like puppies, and snuggle up with Leo, any chance they get.

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Admit it, you want in on that pile of cute.

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