Espinah Project

espinah,near complete

My husband and I built an electric yarn spinner! We’re still tweaking it a bit, but we have it working with uptake and everything. As of today, I’m just waiting to finish spinning some singles on my EEW Nano 1.0 before I try using it for plying.

motor: WMYCONGCONG DC 12/24V 30W High Speed CW/CCW Permanent Magnet DC Motor (12V DC 3500RPM) and 37mm Dia DC Geared Motor Mounting Bracket Holder w/ 6mm Hex Coupling random color(silver or black)

drive belt:

control board: LEDMOMO 1203BB 6V 12V 24V 3A 80W DC Motor Speed Controller (PWM) Adjustable Reversible Motor Driver Switch

smaller bearings: iSSCX 2PCS R6-2RS Inner Dia: 3/8″ inch ;OD: 7/8″ inch ;Thickness: 9/32″ inch ;3/8″ x 7/8″ x 9/32″ Inch Sealed Ball Bearing C3 Chrome Steel

larger bearings:
uxcell 6804-2RS Deep Groove Ball Bearing 20x32x7mm Double Sealed ABEC-1 Bearings 2-Pack

generic cabinet door clip.

Cherry wood that we scavenged from a neighbor.

It was a lot of fun working with my husband on the design, on the tweaks of the CAD, on how an e-spinner even works! While the wood was done in our “workshop,” the 3D printed parts were done on Tinkercad. And the overall design was built around Dreaming Robots EEW 6 bobbin wheel. Many thanks to Maurice for making parts of his design open source.

Compost is great, worms are greater

Seems I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation. For worms. It’s true, I love them. They’re easily 2-3x more efficient than composting by itself, and, bonus, the chickens love to eat them. And feeding stuff to the worms that I can’t feed to the chickens, then feeding the excess worms to the chickens? Dude, that’s pretty amazing.

Vermicomposting, the fancy term for worm farming, is way easier than it sounds.

We have three compost bins and a large worm bin in a relatively small California back yard. My husband was adamant on the compost. And now? Now he lets me dump worms in his bins because they are so much more efficient. The only one that doesn’t have worms is the really tall one, that way we can put things like onion, garlic, and chicken poop in to compost down. Plus, it’s harder to spin because it’s so big and cumbersome.

Are worms hard to keep? Nope! And you don’t have to start with a several hundred dollar fancy worm tower or even a giant fence post box. You can use one of the empty 20 gallon tubs in your garage with a few air and drainage holes (This one looks easy). We started there but pretty quickly moved up to a larger bin thanks to small children who don’t like to finish food.

There’s usually a local nursery you can order worms from, like Island Seed & Feed. But I find the best way is to post on NextDoor or your local neighborhood form and ask the crazy worm people if they can put some in a baggie for you. Worms multiply quickly, so no need for more than a sandwich bag.

And caring for them is easy. No garlic, no onions, they don’t really like citrus. And no chicken poop (too much ammonia!) But they’ll east moldy cheese, leftover cereal, and even chocolate. We keep a compost pail on the counter and whtever doesn’t go to the chickens, goes to the worms. Egg shells are good for them, too, just crush them a little. In fact, the smaller the pieces, the faster the worms take care of it, so take that broccoli stalk and chop it into quarters before tossing to the worms. They also like coffee grounds and tea bags (though you’ll soon discover which teas use plastic mesh bags because the worms won’t eat them.) I’ve even been known to cut up felted wool slippers into worm size bites and toss that in, too.

gratuitous “first egg” shot

You do want some “bad” dirt from your garden as a medium for the worms to move through. A couple shovels full of nutrient deficient sandy soil is plenty. Shredded paper makes a nice base. And is a great way to “recycle.” Every few days I take our compost pail out, dump it into the worm bin, and then cover it over to reduce the smells for any scavengers like raccoons and possums.

What about meat? It’s not that the worms can’t eat it or don’t like it, but those raccoons and possums like it more. So while you don’t have to worry about a bit or two of leftovers, tossing an entire carcuss is going to bring on more unwanted pests.

Happy to answer questions about setting up your own bin or to point you in the right direction for your garden!

Miele Vest Travesties and Whines

My Zoom knitting group is doing a KAL for the Miele Vest (Ravelry Link). I’m not sure it’s my style, but it is my friend’s and I’m happy to go along.

Photo from Ravelry pattern page.

First problem” I bought cotton/wool yarn. I wanted to try it! Santa Barbara doesn’t get all that warm, but honestly, it’s not great on the hand. Hopefully it’ll be better to wear. Though i can’t throw it in the general wash like I do socks as the Berroco Cotolana definitely felts up a bit.

Second, I bought it a dirty oatmeal. Dude, self, stop that! As much as I love OTHER PEOPLE in oatmeal sweaters, I have to come around to accepting that if it’s not black, charcoal, or mebbe olive, I’m not going to wear it. I’m gonna work on fixing that with dye. Since it’s wool and cotton, I was worreid it might only do half and I’d end up marled, which could be cool and might not. But this stuff says it’ll do wool and cotton. I’ve definitely had a better time with the liquid than the powders.

Rit dye

And finally! I’m gonna try this cool Patty Lyons trick of slipping stitches before the ribbing to try and keep that bottom edge from flipping up on me. I definitely have had that problem and I’m excited to try the solution.

images from MDK

BTW – if this all seems a bit … cart before the horse, I’m honestly using my blog as a reminder!

What to do, the sentimental version

My husband slapped together this niddy noddy when I first started spinning. It was supposed to be a stopgap. Something to use until something better came along. And now I am gaining the skills to make a good one. And I’m finding I don’t want to get rid of this janky piece of stapled wood.

Also, that blanket? It’s rather awful, likely Red Heart that my Oma knit for me when I was about 9. She wasn’t particularly … effusive. But she let me pick these colors even if she didn’t agree with them. And as an adult, I think it may have been one way for her to show affection.

ADVENTure Gnome & watercolor

Sarah Schira has outdone herself with this latest gnome ADVENT calendar. A clue or a story and recipe or…for the 24 days leading up to Christmas (or just a fun countdown). And getting involved makes it even more fun. Chatting on Ravelry, making up the recipes, posting pics of your progress.

And in my house, creating a watercolor advent calendar to use as one of the non-spoiler pictures so I can post on Instagram.

Gifts for the Fiber Crafter

I was responding to a post about gifts for knitters on Ravelry (I can use it in dark mode through Chrome). And realized I might join the ranks of podcasters and bloggers who have suggestions about what to get your favorite yarn crafter.


Project Bags, project bags, particularly ones with yarn.

Stitch markers in their favorite fandom.

Fiber! Fiber.

A Yarn Box Subscription in their favorite weight.

Fancy crochet or knitting tools.


Turn, turn, turn

My delightful neighbor surprised me with…a lathe! What?! She’s big into wood and I have enjoyed playing with her tools and as a birthday gift, she gave me a small lathe. It’s been sitting in the garage for MONTHS and I finally got to take it out and play with it.

Day one I took off those corners.
day two i actually ended with a round piece of wood!

I’m watching a bunch of YouTube videos on beginner projects. There are a dissapointing number of women tuners. But I’m coming up with a few good projects. On my “when I’m ready” list are crochet hooks! And, eventually, DPN holder.

I might start with a bowling pin shaped penguin for practice, though.

Wooden houses

Continuing in our “new endeavors” my girls and I used the jigsaw to cut out some “Danish” style houses. The kids then painted them up into a festive little town.

So far it’s been two days of creative fun with the cutting, sanding, and painting. But now the daily fun begins as the little wooden town gets arranged and re-arranged.

I got this accidentally good shot of Alfie and the town when he walked up to see what I was doing.

After the accidental shot of Alfie I hear “Wooo, wwwoooo, rawooo!” and i look down and Maggie is sitting and POSING. This is a dog who is supposed to sit every time she goes out for a walk. I’ve been working on it for months and still when i say “sit” before a walk she backs up a couple of little steps and looks at me. But hear a “click” from the camera and she sits and smiles!