Weird Wool Wednesday: Louet Scoops

hey! psst!

you want an inside scoop?

on the Dutch National Weavers’ Day next Saturday there will be official Louët S10 cookies!

Yes that’s right. They took my prototype and developed it into a mature project. Tasty Louët S10 Spinner Cookies!
Based on STROOPWAFELS. That most famous of Dutch cookies. A bit chewy, with lots of golden syrup. Warm…


Only with a little hole in them.

Also SCOOP! NEW LOUET MODULAR S10!

I’m not kidding. Louët now offers a new line where you can costum made your S10. The S10 Concept. One treadle now and add a two treadle base when you’ve saved up. Choose the wheel of your liking. Go with a big flyer from the start. Irish tension or Scotch tension. All choices available.
Isn’t it marvelous?

Dutch explanation here.

Louët will be at the National Weavers’ Day and bring their whole range: all wheels, all looms. And the new modular S10.

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Spinzilla: visiting the Louët factory

The visit to the Louët factory was great!
We were welcomed by Loes, our Spinzilla team captain and employee of Louët and also daughter to Jan Louët.

She had not spun much before and Jan taught her on the spot (on an Louet S17):

He did well and so did she. Within a few minutes she spun consistently:

What a talent!
She gave us tea and we had my cookies. It’s a 1-2-3 recipe with Golden Syrup and creamed coconut. Yum!

Jan showed us the new design: very exciting!

I find it amazing how the look of Louet wheels remains true to their essence and history but the technical innovations are poured into them, with precision.
All people there are technical, including Loes, and it was nice to talk engineering specifics.

Then we got a tour of the factory. So impressive!
Right at the big doors are the stacks of raw wood. Just trees in slabs.
Then you walk through the building, counter clock wise, and there are machines everywhere and lots of little parts and half wheels and half looms and men working the machines and you end up at the front, where the showroom is. And there’s the stock: wheels and looms and kitchen parts. All neatly packed in the iconic sturdy Louët carton boxes.

I had brought that old S70 I bought at the thrift store the other day and without a word they took it and repaired it and made it all functioning and shiny.

Then we took our wheels up the stairs, to what will become a nice light flooded Show & Do area. All the current wheels are there and also all the weaving looms. We sat spinning amongst all the current models:

Behind me, from left to right, you see the S80 Olivia, the S90 Julia, the S95 Victoria, the oddly shaped S90 and another S95 Victoria in oak.They’re all Scotch tension wheels and the flyer clicks into the back with a magnet, making changing a bobbin much faster then with my vintage S70.

Yeah, my vintage S70… it’s old, it’s my darling.
And its wheel has a distinctive wobble…

.. you can’t be at the factory, with Jan Louët sitting next to you, and have a wobble in your wheel. Before you know it:

Jan takes out the axel and is now somewhere on the factory floor straightening it out.

He left his wheel behind: one of the prototypes from back when he was designing a small foldable wheel: the S95 Victoria.
This is one of only 12 in existence.

Louët is setting up some sort of collection of their previous wheels and other products. I saw a pristine Hatbox, never used!
I bought one of the last wooden bobbins for the S70 they have.

After a few hours spinning we said goodbye and I took my wheels home. The old battered one spins wonderful now. I dream of sanding it down and painting it. Making it a fun wheel.

Today I’m back in the cabin, plying some yellow-brown singles. The cat missed me and insists on laying on my lap, bobbing up and down.

Spinzilla: results halfway

Up until now I’ve spun 1100 m of 2 ply aran weight. 1200 yards. There’s an additional bonus for plying so I think I have 1800 Spinzilla points now.

The set up on Monday morning:

Tea, a view and a box full of batts from the fleece I dyed and picked and carded. I chose the main colour to start with.

First batt on the bobbin:

(I dyed that sock yarn myself, it makes me smile)

After few batts on the bobbin and reinforcements were needed. I made apple pie! Best eaten with a spoon:

I spun until I went to bed that day:

During the spinning hours I listen to audiobooks. On Monday it was the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, read by John Cleese. I enjoyed it very much, the literature combined with Cleese’s acid intonations. Well done.

Tuesday morning I was ready to start plying and found a little hick up:

But I got the plying done.
On Tuesday I listened to The White Queen, a book by Philippa Gregory. About the war of the roses. I’d seen the tv-film last year so I had fine imagery in my mind, to go with the words.

That day I got half of the main brown-orange plying done and the yellow:

On Wednesday I plied the second half of the orange (plying feels like such a chore!) and a more subdued brown and two bobbins of dark brown singles.

And of course I dabbled in cookies!

They need a bit more tweeking. Who knew that if your cookie crumbles too much you should add more sugar or fat? Not water!

I found a delightful site explaining baking to me in a way that fits me: understand the principles, start playing.
Crafty Baking.com: How Baking Works

I now fill my bobbins half way and start plying immediately. To spread the chore-like feeling of plying. It evaporates because you quickly get results and the yarn the Louet wheel gives is nice. You can really add the precise amount of twist you want.

I listened to the rest of the White Queen and late in the afternoon I started on Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Read by Stephen Fry.

This morning I’m going to ply the dark singles and make cookies. I leave for Louët in an hour and a half…

Weird Wool Wednesday: Spinzilla!

My calendar:

this week = madness.

First there was yesterday’s court case. (it was OKish, very educational. Sock nearly done.)
Now prepare for Annual Spinners’ Weekend. (There’s a big To Do List and a frightening To Pack List)

next week = nothing.

Rest rest rest. More rest. Nothing. Loafing around. Resting up. Recline on sofa. Big batch of nooooooothing. No appointments. No To Do List. Just hang around, pet the cat.

.

.

.

orrrrrr:

SPINZILLA!
Spin all you can from Sunday night until the following Sunday. Join other spinners online and share the funny wool thing hand spinners have going on!

here’s the a Ravelrygroup: Spinzilla

I never heard of Spinzilla. Or maybe I heard of it last year, the first year they ran it, and I read about it the week after it finished. Which made me pout and forget all about it. Anyway! This sounds like fun!

There’s even a Team Louët. Which I joined. The day before I was due in court. It’s a logical thing to do, just to take the mind of things.

I love Louët.
I’m so proud of my country fellow Jan Louët, who engineered these spinning wheels back when the first wave of spinning madness occurred, in the ’70’s.

And then he did it all again on this side of the centuryline, when the new wave of madness came rolling in! He catered to it with modern wheels such as the Victoria and the Julia.
Jan Louët is on Team Louet too, he’s a real Spinzillo!

During Spinzilla we’ll all be spinning together, all around the world, and showing each other progress and egging each other on online.

As Team Louët we’ll be sharing stuff here, in our team home on Ravelry.
There’s also a team Louet USA on Ravelry.

Next week Dutch Team Louët will even have a meeting in the Louët factory in Lochem, isn’t that grand! We’ll get a tour and coffee and a chance to spin with their wheel (or bring our own).

I might bake some cookies…. do I have a spinnery cookie cutter, I wonder? I used to have a dinosaur but I gave it away… hmm, let me think on it.

So yes. I signed up for a week full of spinning because I was so nervous about all the things I have going on this week. It makes sense to me. This way, the things I Need To DO this week seem not so big, because there’s more to come next week. (Haven’t washed that Merino yet either.)(Or finished Peabody Sweater)

I just spend two hours writing this post and changing my ravatar:

And still wondering of I shouldn’t take the Spinzilla sheep and Pippi-fy it…
because I’ve got time. Apparently.

I really look forward to spinning. I like spinning. So now I want to spin ALL THE WOOL.

But it needs to be prepped….

so on Monday, when I had to stop knitting my sock because otherwise there would be no more sock to knit around court, but I was still nervous about the court case, I started to card some batts. And I’ll be carding some more before Spinzilla starts on Sunday.

A whole fleece worth of batts.
Because I did not have enough to do this week.

Did I mention I’ll be leaving for the Spinners’ Weekend early on Friday Morning?

Won’t be back until Saturday Night. When I’ll crash into my bed and need some serious rest for a couple of days. It probably would be foolish to want to sit up, what with Adrenal Fatigue and all. Better to spend next week lying down a lot.

But no. Can’t do.

Need to spin. Because I love spinning. And cannot let a monster run by without trying to grab it (and spin it).

Spinzilla, come join in the fun. Team Louët Holland still has a few spots open, for Louët spinners of all nationalities. We converse in English.

 

Monday Morning Fart: not buying a Louet S30

Early this morning a friend offered her Louet S30 up for sale.

The Louet S30 is an electronic spinner (“e-spinner”) that uses a sewing machine motor that drives the bobbin. It runs on electricity and you command it with a foot pedal.

It’s ideal for plying which I regard as tedious homework most of the time. So I jumped right on the chance to buy an e-spinner!

The Louet S30 was manufactured in the ’70s of the last century but
Louet stopped making them soon after. They were not satisfied with the performance. Sewing machine motors have a tendency to burn out when they’re used at high speed for a long time.
And the foot pedal can wear out fast too, when it’s not used with the foot straight on.

But by now, in this century, all the mediocre ones have been weeded out and the S30’s you can get your hands on by now are of expected quality. Besides, you can always replace the motor, should it burn out. The same goes for the sensitive parts in the foot pedal. So don’t be afraid to buy. It’s a good product, although old.
Louet thinks so too because they still offers spare parts for the S30 in their shop, like the belts.

If you want a new product, there are many modern E-spinners out there now. Nearly all big wheel producers have one and some are outright gorgeous. However, they are costly.


Hansencrafts minispinner

When I say “costly”…
Hansencrafts used to illustrate their price list with a stick figure flailing at the price: Whoa! How much?
But so worth it! A friend of mine has one of these and she looks so content whenever I see her spinning on it. And it’s silent. Perhaps that little guy is just a spinner, dancing with glee.

The new e-spinners no longer use sewing machine motors with decades old technology. For example: they now have continious speed adaptors. And they run on motors that don’t require ventilators. They are silent.

In contrast to the S30 that’s up for sale which runs on a motor with a ventilator.
Which I realized just in time.

Because who has two thumbs and is ridiculously sensitive to sounds?


this girl

How could I forget?! I’m actually sitting here with my ear mufflers on and it’s just birds outside?!

No vintage e-spinner for me. Even though the bobbins can be used on two of my other wheels. Better stick to regular homework when it comes to plying.

And dream of some big money and a ticket to the States to go get a Hansencraft Minispinner.

Or make one myself. It’s pretty basic connecting things. Here’s a (German) video showing a well equiped home made e-spinner. She’s thought of everything!

(I also have a nagging feeling I’ve made this mistake before… nearly buying a Louet S30 and then backing out because I remember just in time I have noise considerations.)(Or it might be Monday morning, giving me already deja vu while it’s happening.)

hacking the Louet to spin really thin

This is how I interlace my vintage Louet to spin very thin singles. Interlacing to reduce the pull of this bobbin lead wheel. Notice the usage of the first two hooks.

Yes I’m still spinning the sock yarn. Each day I place my wheel outside, under the beech. I take little breaks and sit there, spinning. The cat keeps me company.

This is a lovely coloured project. Normally I don’t go for the subdued colours but I really enjoy it. It’s very zen. Not very loud to the eyes. I’m looking forward to how the resulting yarn will be, colourwise.

This is halfway the second bobbin. The first is on the left, finished. There is to be third.

I divided the long roving in three segments. I noticed that two segments had the same colour sequence: coral reds to purple. They were dyed next to each other and identical.
One piece I spun from reds to purple and the other one from purple to red. When they are plied together I’ll have a sockyarn that’s evenly mixed in colours. I won’t end up with one red sock and one purple.

The third segment looks like this:

I’ll be spinning it from end to end: blue – pink – grey – pink – blue
That too will distribute the colours evenly over the two socks.

Unfortunately this wheel spinning is hurting my shoulder a bit. So I need to pay attention to that. It helps to do good fiber prep. That third segment needs to be fluffed up extensively so drafting will a breeze.
Very loose fiber also makes spinning thin more easy.

I’m a bit stubborn with the shoulder, I want to spin this, I want to felt that throw and I want to knit the Rockefeller. All three things hurt.
Perhaps it’s time to change it up with spindle spinning again because that doesn’t hurt my shoulder at all. And there’s some lovely silks asking to be spun…

For now I’ll just spin/felt/knit a little longer….
Good posture, relaxed shoulders and doing them only for short bursts of time go a long way.

Sunny spots under the beech tree:

Weird Wool Wednesday: two turtles misbehaving

Indeed when you pull out the wooden bits from the little ball you just spun on your turkle spindle, it is called a turtle. Or a cob.

Two turtles plied together will get you yarn.
For this, just stick them in a tin and start plying.

This is the way you rig up a Louet if it pulls too much:

Some Louets are bobbin driven and this causes pull. Sometimes more than you need. By “lacing” the leader through the hooks you reduce the pull. Now you can spin lace on a Louet. (just lace it a bit more than I did)
Or ply silk that otherwise would cut into my fingers while I treadle just a little longer to get it more twist.

Let’s go turtles!

Oops!

Those darn turtles!
They bounce out of the tin, dance around each other or release bundles of yarn all curled up.

I’m on a steep learning curve here: like any freshly woven single turtles like to rest for a bit before you ply them. Otherwise the twist is still so active on the thread that they all bundle up.
Also: I obviously didn’t spin consistently. There are pieces with more and less twist. Considerable amounts.

Stupid turtle humour

It took me hours to untangle this.
That silk is sticky!

Fellow spinners taught me about a plying ball, where you first roll up the thread of the two turtles into one ball, without twisting them intentionally.
Then you ply from that ball.

Ahh, it’s a steep learning curve.

Giving away what you don’t wear

(I’m still finishing the blanket, I’m at the border…)

Yesterday there was a Dutch Karma Knitters Group meeting at someones house because one of our dear members, who usually lives in Finland, was in Holland. All knitters flocked together to say hello to her and to knit together and to eat cake.

A lot of us couldn’t go, for various reasons, and usually we then flock together on the internet and talk in the Ravelry-group. Egging on the ones who áre at the party to post pictures.

Lately, the virtual meetings have grown more and more into virtual events. We organize a lottery or simultan knitting challengesb. Yesterday one of our member initiated a swap. A swap for one day. Offering things you made but do not use.

For a whole day we offered the shawls we laboured over but never take out of the closet. The gloves we loved knitting but don’t wear with our coat.
Felted clogs that were put on display instead of on feet.
All kind of handmades swapped ownership. It was really freeing.

We had a lovely day, in our virtual meeting room. Interspersed with news and pictures of the people who were at the actual meeting.

I offered this shawl up for swapping:

It’s my Victory in Orange, an Echo Flower Shawlette. The Echo Flower Shawl is a free pattern by Jenny Johnson Johnen

It’s made of handspun, on my first real wheel, bought 4 years ago:

That’s a Louet Victoria, I júst got it through the mail on the day I took this photo. It folds so small you can take it as cabin luggage in a plane. (You might have to explain the steel rod that shows up on the x-rays, it holds the bobbin)

I had just gotten the wheel and this orange was the very first thing I spun on it.
Back then there were the Winter Olympics 2010. Ravelry ran an event simultaneously, back then it was still called the “Ravelympics”. In later years we got a nasty cease-and-desist-lettre from the Olympic Committee that nothing even resembling “Olympic” was allowed to be used by anybody else than someone paying them money.
They were condesending towards knitters. Which taught them quickly that knitters nowadays are no harmless “little old ladies”. These little old ladies are technical savvy and know how to wield the harpoons of social media very well.
But that’s another story.

Back then: Olympic games, knitting event. I decided to take this handspun and make it into a shawl. Just a few days before the closing ceremony.
I knit all day and finished this shawl before the Olympics closed. It was very nice.

The pattern is amended, the original pattern is more triangle shaped. I prefer semi-circles or these shapes (“faraose”?)

This is the handspun:

made from these singles:

(that’s our fireplace in the city, one of our fireplaces… it holds a vintage wood stove, on a red brick floor. See how high the ceiling is? With solid oak beams. Yes, my city house is old and quirky, it’s the result from 1642 when somehow a castle and an old wooden ship made love and had a child)(1642, that’s Rembrandt age!)(anyway: warm yellow because we’re funny, not snooty)

It was a lovely project. The new wheel, the handspun, the colour, the technical challenge of amending the pattern, the nubbs that where new for me, as was making 1 stitch into 9, the team effort of knitting shawls during Olympic times. Lovely lovely project.
But I never wore it.

Now it will go to a friend and she will make someone else happy with it.
The wheel is gone too, making someone else happy.
And we had a lovely day yesterday, even if we could not attend the actual meeting to greet our Finnish friend and all our Karma friends.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Hatbox Trick II

Louet spinners are like dogs when meeting a new wheel:
pic by Marco Ojeda
they’re think quirky appearances are a-do-ra-ble!

I mean, look at some of Louet spinning wheels, both vintage and current: the S45, de S10, de S11, the S95, the S40 and the S30:
Louet S30 Electric Spinner

Quirky! A-do-ra-ble!

And you know what? Lout spinners can’t wait to topple these guys over. To nuzzle their bellies I presume.

Sooner or later, every Louet spinner turns over her wheel. Because there’s info to be found at the bottom of a vintage Louet spinning wheel!
There might be a stamp to tell you how old it is.

Let’s have a look at my Hatbox:

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“7901”

This one was manufactured in January of 1979. One of the very first to be manufactured!
Still going strong. Small and has not aged at all!

I feel very much the proud puppy momma 🙂

picture by Martine Sansoucy

Weird Wool Wednesday: Hatbox trick

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this is Louets vintage spinning wheel from the 1970’s-1980’s
Louet S40, lovingly called the Hatbox.

Smartly engineered.
Back in those days mr. Louet and mr. Wernekinck were engineers in Delft (the city of painter Johannes Vermeer and also where the technical university is where I went to myself in the 1990’s)
They designed spinning wheels, modern wheels.

Their designs are still around and so are the two engineers, both with their own companies in the world of wool:

mr. Louet went to the east of Holland and set up his factory of spinningwheels, weaving looms and kitchens that still produces novel designs today.

 

mr. Wernekinck is still in Delft and specializes in felt fabrics and carding fleeces. There’s a big machine in his store! He caters to retail and fashion designers world wide.

The hats are all mine. I used to collect them and wear them. It takes a special kind of courage to wear a hat, especially a ‘weird’ designer hat. I used to have that courage. Nowadays I just wear weird handknits.