Spinning Cupcake Ranch (+ one last used wheel!)

Last week, I cracked out a bunch of my Cupcake Ranch roving stash. Before packing away each of the used wheels I sold, I spun and plied a full skein on each one, to make sure there were no weird issues or weird idiosyncrasies. I still need to wash it all and to finish the last skein of Uncle Honeybunch, but I’ve almost got everything I need for my 2009 Cupcake Ranch project. What will it be? Something colorwork, no doubt, but what? And what pattern? I’m looking at 12 ounces without Agnes–her wool is so different than Fudgy and the boys that I hesitate to use it in the same colorwork project. Maybe a vest and mittens, and I could use Agnes for lining? Or I might be able to crank lightweight sweater with a soft Agnes neckline and 12 ounces–or do the colorwork only in handspun and finish it with the gorgeous Fudgy lambswool sport I just got back?

After seeing the loveliness that was yearling Fudgy Yarn, I decided to send back her lambswool roving and have them spin it up for me. It’s marvelous and bouncy and unusually soft for Romney. $12.50/200-yd skein. Email me–nikol at harveyvilleproject dot com–if you want some or buy it at artclub.etsy.com!

Yesterday, I was so gung ho to spin & TCB that I didn’t finish mucking out the barn & coop–and now the air just REEKS of rain, but won’t rain already! It’s driving me crazy. I should just go grab the manure fork and head out there–that’s probably the only way to actually make it rain.

Speaking of mucking out the barn (yay), that stupid scoop thing on my new lawnmower is utterly useless and is going back to Sears. It’s completely awkward to operate, weak, clunky to remove, and incapable of scooping up anything, even loose scattered hay. I don’t know whether the reviewer who wrote about using it to turn his compost pile was smoking opium, or whether the older scoop was, in fact, a usable tool, or whether the installers fucked something up, but that thing is one, big, expensive turd. And you can’t polish a turd. I’m also unimpressed with the little shade visor thing, which makes such a racket I want to rip it off an smash it to bits. And frankly, I not overly impressed with the mower itself. Sears does have a satisfaction guarantee, so it might be going back in exchange for the next level up.  If I can’t use the scoop thingy, then I would have picked an entirely different mower. On the other hand, the other mowers are more expensive and harder to rationalize. Although, after mowing the ditch with a push mower, I’m about ready to spring for the extra debt of a zero-turn princess. The one accessory I do like (but even that, with reservations) is the little tow cart thingy. It’s extremely lightweight and dumps without detaching it. But the dump thing is kind of weak, too. It doesn’t tump over enough to actually dump everything out, so you still have to help it along with a shovel or fork. It’s annoying.

Also! The guys who delivered it, who were supposed to show me how to use everything, totally sneaked off as soon as I turned my back. I’m not kidding. Even though I said I’d never used anything but a push mower, the guy gave me a 1-minute overview, said “why don’t you give it a try?” and let me ride off. When I turned the thing around, they were already driving away! He didn’t lower the cutter to its proper level, or show me how to remove the scoop or even let me try using it, or find out if I had any questions, or anything! What a dick. Literally waited for me to turn my back and drove off.

And the lights don’t work.

Sometimes I’m amazed at how poorly pretty much everything performs, and how little respect companies have for their customers. It’s depressing.

I’m probably going to install flooring grids in the barn and coop this summer. It’s basically a plastic grid that you lay over a base of gravel or sand, then fill with more gravel or sand, then cover as usual with bedding. So water/pee flows through the bedding and down into the soil. It’s supposed to keep things cleaner and fresher. I’m also considering permeable concrete pavers, regular concrete pavers with a sand underlayment, and sand between, poured concrete with gravel-filled holes for the same effect, and some as-yet-undiscovered (by me) solution that’s cheap and brilliant. I’m assuming much expense and/or backbreaking labor. In my fantasy world, I’d get the grid for the whole barnyard. But that would be around two grand (why it’s fantasy).

I keep trying to figure out some bootleg way to rig up a similar system with, say, soda crates or bread crates or something deliverymen use, but most of my (um, not-so-)brilliant DIY brainwaves typically end in heartbreak, humiliation, and a bunch of wasted money. I’m always rediscovering that I’m far less clever than I imagine.

Like what about something like this, laying on and filled over with sand? Except I don’t think that would actually be any cheaper. Though it would raise everything up a bit more…

A couple poorly-lit images of some Cuckoobatts currently for sale at artclub.etsy.com:

Passion Flower (2 coordinating batts = 3oz+)

A Hangover Waiting to Happen (each 3oz+)

Hoorainbow (set of 12 fat cuckoobatts totally 1# of fiber). This is a future mad scientist sweater or throw, I think.

Oh, and I still have one used wheel up for sale! It’s a great Louet-type handmade wheel from Holland. It’s clearly modeled after a Louet S10 & appears to use some Louet hardware (flyer & brake). It’s a flexible production wheel, simple to use/adjust, great for everything from fine yarns to crazy art yarns. Comes with 3 big 2-speed bobbins (use the small end on the drive band for faster speeds and the large end for slower speeds) and a 2-position on-board lazy kate (up top as shown or by treadle like on an S10). Accepts modern Louet 3-speed bobbins (I sell them–$30 ea + $5 shipping regardless of qty). One of the bobbins is slightly shorter but spins the same as the others. Single treadle that’s very easy to start and stop. Just $225 + $25 shipping! Cheap! I’ll even throw in some fiber to get you started. Hooray! Email me at nikol at harveyvilleproject dot com if you want it & I’ll send you a paypal invoice.

  • lindsey says:

    Would you let me know where you get your wool spun? I’m looking for a place to spin my wool. I have Romneys and some Corriedale cross sheep. It would be nice to send it to a place with a pleased customer. I asked thid before but must have missed your answer.

  • Nikol says:

    Stonehedge Fiber Mill. I’ve been pleased with them. Romneys & Corries should be no problem. I had some Merino they couldn’t spin, but the staple was only about 3″. 4″ & up is their preferred.

    I also know people who get lovely yarn from Shepherd’s Mill in Phillpsburg, KS.

  • Kieran says:

    Your posts are laugh out loud funny! I so look forward to reading them! Good stuff!

  • SHC-Tammie says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the experience you’ve had regarding your lawn mower. That was poor service on our part and unacceptable. Please keep me posted on what you decide to do. Feel free to contact me with details for further assistance.

    Join mysears.com It’s our community forum so people can share their experiences and help each other out. We also have reviews, blogs, and other fun stuff.

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