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Fixer upper

I have a few weeks off work, which is lovely, but I also really rely on my routine to maintain my mental health and holidays can upset the balance. One of the ways I manage time away from my usual routine is to have something to focus on. I often do some free motion quilting during the summer but this year another option popped up that I couldn't resist.

Just before Christmas someone contacted Canberra Spinners and Weavers and asked to advertise their loom free to a good home on our website notice board. I saw this as the website manager for CSW and saw a brilliant opportunity to restore and recondition the loom while I'm off work.

I went to pick up the loom and turns out there was a spinning wheel as well! And heaps of related equipment plenty to keep me busy.

First thing first: biosecurity. The bobbins and stick shuttles were filled with wool spun in the grease, which had been pretty savagely attacked by moths over the decades. All that has to go before I even think about bringing these items into a house.

The lanolin on the raw yarn had hardened so much the yarn felt like waxed string. I cut most of it off with a box cutter. The previous owner of this wheel was a sheep farmer and he clearly loved spinning his own yarn straight off his flock's back!

Except for this bobbin, which just laughed at the box cutter blade and refused to be cut... because it's pure silk! Look at that sheen!

I ended up with a whole bag of sticky, sticky yarn. Straight into the bin it went, and I went straight into a shower and a fresh change of clothes to keep any moth eggs out of my own stash.

Next up, time to give all that wood some attention. It was very, very dry after almost 20 years in storage and the bobbins were tacky from all the lanolin-set yarn.

But with a bucket of hot water and Tantech Fibre Scour, some steel wool and some time they all cleaned up well. Following a dry off I conditioned everything with two coats of Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner. It may seem like a weird choice for fibre equipment, but I like that it's so safe it can be used on things that touch food. We touch our fibre equipment a lot, we (well, I) eat around them, drink around them. I want this equipment to be super safe to use for a long time.

Plus it's a super pretty finish. You can see the difference in the three treated bobbins at the back and the untreated bobbin up front in the picture below.

There's over two dozen bits of equipment, plus a spinning wheel as a 1m wide table loom. This project is going to keep me busy for a bit!

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