Tag Archives: Jensen spinning wheel

No sun yet

Bobbin full of single ply Romney/silk yarn

It feels like it’s been forever since we saw the sun.  For a moment or two this morning the sky brightened, but in the end it just led to more clouds.  The temperature feels like it is inching up, though, which is definitely a plus!

2-ply skeins of the Romney/silk

On these gloomy days I have been catching up on herd paperwork, and doing some plying.  I have spun up quite a bit of my backlog, but I hate to ply, so I frequently put that off until I can’t find another empty bobbin to put on the wheel.  I know, silly!

While spinning, I have been listening to Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence audiobooks, and am on the 2nd one, The Dark is Rising.  I read this and the prequel, Over Sea, Under Stone, many years ago, but am enjoying it again.  I had never read farther into the series, though, so I am looking forward to the others as well.  Susan Cooper is a wonderful author who has written more than just this series, one of my favorites being The Boggart.  I am not a serious fan of heavy duty fantasy, but the battle between The Dark and The Light in many of her books is a timeless theme, and she does it very well, with believable, complex characters.  It also helps that these books take place in some pretty dramatic places, like Cornwall!

Peanut with her morning bottle

Peanut is continuing to do well, staying outside all day with the others, and coming in about dark.  She hasn’t made the transition to a three bottle a day schedule yet, but I think she is close.  She knows where to go when she wants a nap, and plays hard with the others when she wants.  I don’t fear for her safety with the others, but we will wait until after the Mother’s Day rain deluge to leave her out at night.

Oh my, I can see a slice of blue sky in the distance!  Shocking!


More holiday cheer

My 30" 1996 Jensen Production wheel next to my 2005 Tina II wheel
My 30″ 1996 Jensen Production wheel next to my 2005 Tina II wheel

My husband and I do not usually give each other gifts at Christmas. We tend to plan for and get what we need as the year goes along.

Last October I invested in some really wonderful pigeons for John to add to his loft.  So he decided that he wanted to do something special for me. I have two Jensen spinning wheels, a 30″ production wheel, as well as a Tina II smaller wheel. (I take the Tina with me everywhere, and of course the big wheel stays home for other projects). For a number of years now I have wanted to get some fast whorls for the wheels as I have been spinning a greater variety of fibers recently, and some of them are finer, necessitating faster spinning speeds.

Whorls, bobbins and new flyer
Whorls, bobbins and new flyer

Getting a high speed kit was not as simple as ordering one online because of the age of the wheels. I was able to email and speak with both Jerry and his lovely wife Audrey on a number of occasions, and we finally got a plan together. I received the parts last week and am now in the process of oiling them before I get to try them out. But I am close!

So this holiday was a little different than most, but it’s been a good one. I am psyched to get going with my new Jensen whorls. I have a stash of some cashmere, silk, and some combination fibers that I am dying to try out.

I need to put some WoodBeams on the parts next, and after buffing I will be able to give it a go. Maybe as soon as this weekend :*)  More to come on that!

Foggy summer morning

The morning pose
The morning pose

One of my favorite kinds of mornings, when I have the chance to be home and enjoy it. Air is coming in from Muscongus Bay, bringing with it the smell of the ocean and some mist.  It really is almost August!

Had a visit from our grandboy for the weekend which was lovely.  Got a little bit of the Corriedale fiber spun on my big Jensen production wheel, much to his delight.  He was smitten with the lovely machine and also very respectful of it, thank goodness.  I don’t know what he thinks of fiber, but he was definitely delighted with the wheel.

Little India's fleece, so dark it's difficult to photograph
Little India’s fleece, so dark it’s difficult to photograph

Today I really need to get onto skirting the two fleeces that Emily sheared for us last week.  It’s beautiful fiber.  Beezus is the ewe who had the prepubic tendon rupture just before her first and only lambing in 2012. We had not considered having her stick around so last September when Emily came to shear the market lambs I had her shear Beezus, thinking she would have to go to the butcher and become sausage.  After we got her summer fleece off we realized that her rupture had remained the size it was when it happened.  So we decided to keep her around for her gorgeous blue fleece, and hope that she remains healthy.

Beezus' fleece
Beezus’ fleece

And Little India the black ewe born in 2012 hung around as well!  No butcher for her!  Her fleece is lustrous and dark, so I am glad we kept her to be a fleece machine as well :*)

Too cold!

Mother-of-all holds the flyer assembly on the front of the production wheel
Mother-of-all holds the flyer assembly on the front of the production wheel

Neither of us got much sleep last night.  Up to 50 mph gusts of wind out there, and all I could hear were branches bouncing off the roof and the howl of the wind.  It’s been relentless.  Yesterday we got some more snow, but probably only 2 or 3 inches which has blown and drifted all over the place.  Today is bright, but so nasty that I didn’t get much done outdoors except for basic chores.  I even fed the girls inside their greenhouses to give them some relief from the windiness.

The Tina II, cleaned and all dressed up for the big weekend
The Tina II, cleaned up again

Yesterday during the blowing and snowing I ended up cleaning my other wheel, my portable Jensen Tina II.  I love both of these wheels.  They are both cherry, and both work beautifully.  So now they are equally cleaned up and oiled and ready to go.  After I got the production wheel done the other day, I realized that the leather pieces that hold the flyer assembly were all dried out.  I was a little hesitant about taking them out of the mother-of-all, but John undid the tiny screws, and we tapped the leather pieces out and soaked them in mink oil.  They feel nice and supple again, I will have to remember to do that more often.  It’s a very simple but elegant system.  Now all I have to do is get my hands on a few more bobbins for both the wheels.  A dog used one of them a few years ago for a chew toy, and I have dropped two, which did not have a good ending.

And so President’s Day is a bright one, but much more fun indoors than out!

Wheel work

Cleaning the base of the wheel
Cleaning the base of the wheel

Well, I got more done today than I thought I would.  At some point as the snow began to fall, I decided to do what I have been trying to get to for a few months now…  cleaning up and refreshing my production Jensen spinning wheel (30″ drive wheel).  Wanting to get more spinning done on this wheel, I keep telling myself that when I get it cleaned up, then I have permission to use it.  It’s always the way!

J. Jensen finished the wheel on 12-31-96.  I got it a month or so later
J. Jensen finished the wheel on 12-31-96. I got it a month or so later

The wheel is very special to me.  16 years ago my husband gave it to me and I have loved it and cherished it since.  It’s an amazing wheel, and I am very appreciative of it, particularly since Mr. Jensen is either not making many wheels, or not making any at all anymore.  It’s an extrenely beautiful piece of machinery, and once I get started, I can spin on it for hours.


Cleaning the drive wheel
Cleaning the drive wheel

I finally took the whole thing apart and got it all cleaned up and renewed with my favorite wood refresher, Woodbeams, and then got it all put back together again.  It took hours, but that was ok.  I enjoyed myself, watching the snow falling outside as I worked.  Satisfying first day of vacation.

Finally back together and ready to go!
Finally back together and ready to go!

Chores and fleecy fun

Esther's fleece drying on the outdoor rack

Another crazy hot and humid week has come and gone.  They are promising us that tomorrow will be cooler and less humid.  The air is already feeling much more comfortable!  I have been catching up on some farm stuff, moving sheep and moving cattle panels and all sorts of things up at the house.  Every time I am down in the field I forget to take my camera, so I can’t show off the happy ewes.  Trying to do too many things at once to catch up from putting too much off during the school year!

In between some of the heavier work I have been washing some fleece that I want to process myself.  I had held back a hoggett fleece from one of my favorite keeper ewes, Esther.  (A hoggett fleece is the first full year fleece from a sheep).  Esther is one of the yearlings that I chose to keep as a replacement ewe this year.  Her mother, Norma, was the first ewe that we bought when we started with sheep.  She has been a consistently great ewe.  She has had twins every year since we first bred her.  Never needed any help with anything, just quietly had her lambs and took care of them well.  We knew that 2010 would be her last lambing and she had two ewe lambs, both silver-saddled and blue.  One was teeny tiny and the other was a giant by comparison.  Esther is the larger of the two and I knew that I would keep her if she grew well.  She is as sweet and mild-mannered as her mama was and she has a fantastic fleece.  Blue-silver, darker grey and brown/black around the edges.  So I am hoping to spin it up and possibly card it with some mohair.  I would love to get enough yarn from it to knit a cardigan for myself, but we will see.  This weekend I am joining some spinner friends for a weekend retreat at Sugarloaf (a ski resort).  I am really looking forward to the time away.  Hoping to totally decompress and regenerate some little grey cells :*)

The Tina II, cleaned and all dressed up for the big weekend

To that end, I also took some time to rejuvenate one of my favorite spinning wheels, my Jensen Tina II.  I didn’t take it totally apart, but enough to clean it with some Murphy’s oil soap and then I tried a new product, WoodBeams wood treatment by the online business Goodies Unlimited.  It has some beeswax and a lot of essential oils in it and I like the finish on the wheel.  I probably should do the treatment again soon, as this wheel was pretty dried out and under-tended for the last 3 years or so.  But she is beautiful again!  And she will accompany me for the weekend away.  I am really looking forward to this trip.  Not just for getting away, but also because I have never been to that area in Maine.  I am not a skier; my husband and I have stayed in the area of Sunday River near Bethel, Maine on the NH border, but we have never been to the Carrabassett Valley.  Yippee!  New sights to see and some wonderful friends to spend some time with.  I hope that I remember to take the camera!

In need of repair

I know it happens to everyone from time to time, but right now I am feeling like we are living in the broken house.  Everywhere we look is something needing fixing.  Last summer while Bear the Lab was living with her cone of shame she came crashing through the mud room, winged open one of the

Pantry without its broken door

pantry doors, and hit it so hard that it split right down the frame.  So now we have a half naked, very unorganized pantry cupboard for all to see and admire!  It’s off its hinges and getting ready to be glued, but of course there is really no great spot in the house to be doing that…. so it lies in state on top of one of our many freezers, in the hallway.

Cabinet door awaits repairs. And waits.


That is one of the most obvious things in the house that is in need of repair.  Not so obvious, but even more inconvenient is the dishwasher.  A 6 year old KitchenAid, just about my favorite appliance of all, decided it wanted a vacation.  We have had our ups and downs with this dishwasher.  Currently we have been living with the door not having any springs on it, but Thursday when I came home from work and started to unload it, I realized that it had never done its thing that morning.  It is one of those washers that has an electronic keypad on it so we cleared everything and tried again.  Multiple times, different settings.  It was not about to budge.  Miracle of Miracles, on Saturday we actually were lucky enough to get a repairman up to the house.  Pretty amazing, actually.  It’s the quickest action we have taken yet!  It needs parts, but at least they are in the works and my husband (very wisely, I think!) had him order the springs as well.  I can hardly wait!  We really had that baby packed to the gills.  Figures.  It took me a few hours to get that load cleaned up.  And while we are in the kitchen, I won’t describe the half-on and half-off counter tiles, and the giant box sitting in the living room with the new sink inside right next to the 12 boxes of new tile.  Another sigh :*)

The thing that I am most upset about, however, is probably the damage that our dear, darling,

Miss Innocence!

Daisy the Bluetick Hound (our son’s dog) has ravaged on some of my most cherished property:  the Jensen spinning wheel.  Not the wheel itself (a 30″ cherry production wheel), thank goodness.  But she has now chewed up at least 3 bobbins, and the worst one:  one of my whorls.  AARGH!  She and her owner owe me big time!  Expletive, expletive.

Damages; handspun included