A house and a car were rented & a gaggle of 5 ladies headed across the border in hot fibery pursuit and to see some friends for a great weekend of fun!


The house was a beautiful Victorian in Kingston, New York.


Best of all, there was a huge table that we were all able to gather around.


We got up early Saturday morning to get to the fair in good time…


This is the line to enter the fair grounds…at 8:30 am…the gates open at 9am…Once the gates were open, things moved fairly quickly although there was some confusion as to where the pre-paid ticket holders & those who still needed tickets should go.

Once in, I had my list & map set to go (there was a comment about my level of organization being on the level of the Invasion of Normandy). By about 11 am, my shopping list looked like this:


I take a precision strike team approach to fibre festivals, having the list keeps me on budget as it’s very easy to get overwhelmed & blow your budget at the first booth!

My focus this year was not yarn, I was in search of beautiful hand made tools as I am of the opinion that if you have lovely tools, you will use them more. There is no shortage of makers who are able to supply us with beautiful hand made tools for our pursuits.


My big purchase was a hand made tapestry loom and some tapestry needles from Stephen Willette.

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I visited Journey Wheel for another spindle.


Prior to the trip I had reignited my interest in hooked rugs and Rhinebeck was a good place to get supplies as there are at least 5 vendors! I found a complete kit to get me started & purchased 2 more patterns. I busted out the kit as soon as I got home & am making steady progress.

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Some fibre was procured from Into the Whirled & Spinners Hill


I ran across this massive ball of Herdwick roving!


Last thing on my list was a Saori Weaving Sewing book!


So by 11am, my list was complete & I was free to wander the grounds & eat fair food!

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Gary’s Pickles are possibly the BEST Full Sours I’ve had! I may have smuggled a quart back with me… We ran into this lovely Lincoln ewe on her way from the auction to her new home…she was very much having none of it!

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I kept trying to get a photo of this Herdwick, but some odious Hipsters kept trying to get “just the right photo” & wouldn’t move after 15 minutes! That is one of the moron’s hands in my shot! The Herdwick looks about as impressed with them as I was!

After the fair, a few of us trundled off to Jill Draper’s Studio Open House! Which was conveniently located in Kingston, about a 15 minute walk from the house! I picked up some Rifton & 2 skeins of Valkill, which turned out to be the only yarn I bought!


My friend Leah came this year & it was her first Rhinebeck. I think she had fun..

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until I sternly told her she could not buy more green yarn & encouraged her to buy that gorgeous blue yarn! Which she did.


And then it was time to head home…through intermittent wet snow.


It will probably be a few more years before I return to Rhinebeck as there are some new local fleece fairs I want to check out as well as my ultimate goal of Shetland Wool Week.


It’s not a new hobby, just a variation on a theme.

Up until the other day all my current knitting projects are shawls & I’m feeling a bit shawl-ed out. All of them are at varying stages of doneness, but working on them was feeling like a slog & I needed something different for a change of pace.

During yet another reorganisation of the Girl Cave, I excavated a huge bag of my early attempts at handspun yarns. Most of it is spindle spun with some early super lumpy wheel spun. There isn’t quite enough of anything in a consistent enough yarn thickness to knit something, so these yarns just sat in this bag, some for 10 years. I was looking for a use for them & figured they would be best used for weft in a weaving project. I considered a rug, but again the inconsistencies of thickness would not work out well & the thinner bits would fray very quickly. I decided to mull things over a bit longer…then I got a newsletter from The Workroom with their new class list & they had added an Intro to Tapestry Weaving class! Unfortunately, it was being held at a time I couldn’t make, an annoying side-effect of working weekends. So, I did what I always do when I can’t make it to a workshop/class to learn a new skill, I looked for tutorials online & in books then assembe a list of supplies.

I had considered using my rigid heddle looms, but after a lot of reading, discovered they are not able to maintain the high degree of warp tension required for tapestry weaving & I didn’t want to risk breaking them. A bunch of tapestry weaving blogs suggested Archie Brennan’s copper pipe looms as being a very good DIY tapestry loom. Being made of copper it is better able to support the higher tension required for tapestry weaving. I printed the plans & headed out to the hardware store…


Liam even got in on the action!


After assembling the copper pipe loom, both Liam & I discovered it was a bit heavy & unwieldy. The lack of a drill press to make the holes to put in bolts to stabilize it was also a problem. I was staring to consider just ordering a proper tapestry loom/frame loom from one of the two weaving supply shops in Ontario, turned out both Gemini Fibers & Camilla Valley had just closed for 2 weeks for their Summer breaks. Back to the internet to searched for other DIY Plans for a tapestry loom. MAKEzine’s tutorial to build a lap loom was the second result.

A quick trip to the arts supply store & hardware store, a bit of assembly and 30 minutes of glue drying time & I had a workable lap loom for making small tapestries/wall hangings. I picked up the “gallery stretchers” as they 2” & sturdier than the regular frames. My final size was 24”x16”.


All that was left was to warp it


and make with the weaving


The instructions called for string heddles, but I found using pick-up sticks to be faster especially when I was making the hills since I only needed to pick up some of the warp threads.


I’ve been puttering away on it for a few weeks & quite enjoying it. Am not using a pattern & just playing it by ear, but I will need to order a proper tapestry beater and some 20” pick-up sticks. I currently have 10” & 30” pickup sticks, which are causing a bit of a Goldilocks situation where they are too small & too big, I need some that are just right. A comb with the handle snapped off is sort of working as a tapestry beater, but not quite.


Some of the tapestries I came across in my searches were amazing & very inspiring. Am now keeping my eye out for a 2nd hand Leclerc Tissart vertical tapestry loom, so far all the ones I have found for sale are in British Columbia…

Storming the Capitol

Last week the kids, my Mum & I went on a little adventure to our nation’s capitol.

I think the last time I was in Ottawa I was in grade 9 or 10 & my parents, sister & I had driven up for a Vintage Clothing sale. To this day I regret not buying that sheep skin coat. It was probably a Lincoln, dyed a deep orange. I was deeply into my Janice Joplin phase then & it reminded me of her. Instead I bought a red silk velvet bias cut dress. I still have that dress.

This visit had a different purpose, my Mum & I are on the hunt for military records for 3 of my relatives. Unfortunately, when we visited the Library & Archives, we were unable to obtain copies, but the staff were super helpful & as I now am the proud owner of an access card for their archives, the next trip should prove more successful.

The kids were alternating between being excited & nervous of the trip as this would be their first real trip complete with sleeping in a hotel and traveling on a train!!! I’m a fan of train travel & really wish train travel were easier in Ontario. So many of the lines have been cancelled over the years that travel anywhere other than the Ontario/Quebec corridor is a challenge.

The kids enjoyed watching the countryside fly by. 027

But the arrival of the snack trolley is what really excited them!


I had made sure to pack books and a travel board game to keep the kids busy as well as gave them each a blank travel journal along with water colour pencil crayons & some water brushes (these are a brilliant invention!). All of this kept them mostly occupied for the 4+ hour trip.


We spent a total of 2 full days in Ottawa. The first morning, we set out for Parliament Hill. We passed the Rideau Canal on the walk over.093

We wanted to see the Changing of the Guard, so arrived early and had some time to wander around before things got going.


As we came across different monuments/statues & the kids asked questions, my Mum was much faster than I at giving them a quick history lesson. The Famous Five & the Persons Case were of particular interest to them.100

And then we started to hear the drone of the bag pipes that signaled the beginning of the Changing of the Guard. Abi was super excited to see two of the pipers were women…she is now asking about bagpipe lessons… 153

After we visited the Archives, which proved a bit of a bust, so we set about doing touristy stuff. We saw the Supreme Court.


Went to the National Gallery to see the Alex Colville exhibit we had missed at the AGO. Abi was quite taken with the Chagall exhibit too.


The Canadian Museum of Nature has Animals Inside Out which my Mum (who having been a nurse) greatly enjoyed. The kids were alternately fascinated & skeeved right out.


Ottawa is a nicely walk-able, and man did we walk! I should have brought my pedometer! The hotel we stayed at is great for families! We booked a two bedroom apartment complete with a kitchen and then took advantage of the Byward Market’s offerings so we didn’t need to eat out all the time. It was also nice to come back to the hotel with two tired kids who would retreat to the 2nd bedroom which had a tv to unwind.

We came across a great shop called Workshop Boutique in our wander of the market. They carry handmade Canadian fashions, housewares, kids stuff etc…basically it was right up my alley!

Then it was time to head back home. After 3 nights, I was very happy to be back in my bed!


Whole lotta Sweaters

It all started back in October while I was giving the Girl Cave a cleaning & moth check. Things were being sorted, purged & what was staying was updated on my Ravelry stash page and linked to a project in my queue. Organization & efficiency was the name of the game!

I had finished my Not Going to Rhinebeck 2014 sweater…290Pattern: Artichoke French

Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Abundance

and was looking for a NaKniSweMo project…I came across some Lopi I had picked up during one of my LYS’s February Bulky Yarn Sale. The original plan was to knit myself Odinn, but I decided to make a stab at knitting a sweater for Chris. My first attempt was about 10 years ago…it did not end well and we avoided the Boyfriend Sweater Curse only because we were already married…This time things went considerably smoother…although I think Chris was getting annoyed by my constant requests for him to try the sweater on so I could check fit…. 031I really enjoy knitting Lopapeysa and am partial to the yarn made from Icelandic sheep that is used to knit them. As Christmas was bearing down on us and I had promised my Dad a sweater years earlier, I figured it was a good time to get that done & cast on a second Odinn.


With the help of my sister, I decided to sort of recreate a ski sweater my Dad had bought when he was 16 and my Mum tossed when I was 16. It was the height of Grunge & I had found its well felted & moth holed remains in the depths of a closet. The Sweater was so very Kurt Cobain! My Mum was horrified that I was wearing it & promptly removed the temptation! Some words may have been exchanged when my Dad discovered it had been tossed.

My sister suggested I try to recreate that long lost sweater. My Dad is quite pleased with his sweater even though he didn’t get it till after Christmas due to my coming down with a Cold of Space & Death. I rarely get sick. but when I do, it really wallops me! He has received at least one compliment about it every time he has worn it!

After knitting the same pattern in a row had me looking for a change…but I still needed a sweater as the weather was unseasonably cold…like below -30C (-22F) with wind chill and I had no intentions of leaving the house unless it was for work, school or food!

Antrorse  popped up  in my feed so I picked my honkin’huge skein of Jill Draper’s Mega Empire  in a nice sunny yellow as I refused to knit anything grey in the depths of a deep freeze!

254I am really happy with this sweater, it has a neat construction & I really loved using Jill’s yarn! She buys the entire shearing from shepherds around her neck of the woods in Hudson Valley, New York. The fleece are processed at a local mill and then Jill dyes them! I really love that she is supporting local shepherds as I remember when we were getting fractions of a cent for our fleece in the 80s. The yarn is a bit rustic at first as the mill doesn’t use chemicals to dissolve the vegetable matter in the fleece and will smell a bit sheepy, but that is the kind of yarn I really enjoy working with and it blooms up so nicely after a soak! I picked up some locally made buttons to use on the yoke.


After Antrerose it was still freaking cold! I had a bunch of left over lopi from Chris’ sweater & there was just enough that I was able to cast on another sweater…technically it’s a lopapeysa…but not really.


Scatter is a free pattern via Ravelry. My stitches got a bit tight across the chest, but a stern blocking sorted that out. This sweater is knit a bit tighter than it should, but considering how cold it’s been, it makes for a great base layer.

As I’ve knit roughly a sweater a month since October, I’m taking a bit of a break before I hit burnout and dusting off the loom & pulling out the sewing machine.


Stitching memories

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
Elizabeth Zimmermann

On March 20th, at the age of 90 we lost my Granma. She had been ill for some time & due to her dementia she had not been the woman I known for a few years. Although her death wasn’t a shock, it was still sad & she was the woman who had taught me how to knit.

I don’t precisely know when she taught me, but I was under 10 & she more than likely did it to get me to sit down & stop asking so many questions! I was/still am curious to the point of utter aggravation for some people. My parents will often comment on my exhausting them with a constant stream of “Why?” as a child.

My Granma was born in Southern Ontario during the inter-war years. As was typical, girls were taught to knit to both clothe their families & it was simply what you did to keep busy in the evening. She once told me how a teacher had encouraged her to enter her knitting for judging at the annual town fair. She refused as the majority of the knitted items had actually been done by the “entrants” mothers. I believe this teacher had been selected to be a judge that year & he recommended a change to the knitting competition, instead of finished items being entered, the girls would all have to show their knitting skills. Am not sure exactly what was required, but it was a live competition so they may have been judged for their evenness of stitches, ability to execute different stitch designs (cables, moss etc) as well as speed. Either way, my Granma agreed to enter and won First prize!

I honestly don’t know how many jumpers, socks, toques, mittens, slippers, baby sets & blankets she knit in her lifetime, but considering she could bang out a man size sweater in a bit over a week, I would say A LOT! Possibly because both my Dad and sister were preemies and she understood the importance of keeping baby’s head warm, she would knit hats for the preemie ward of her local hospital. To say Granma was prolific would be an understatement! She even knit sweaters for my boyfriends but not until we had been dating for at least a year! Chris still has the one she made for him over 15 years ago, she knit it in blue to bring out his eyes. Possibly THE MOST awesome sweater she knit was the infamous Patons Dragon sweater! I believe she knit it for my cousin…and I have the patten book!

473In July of every year she would have the grandchildren look through her Patons pattern booklets and choose 1 or 2 sweaters which she would knit for us to wear back to school in the fall. My favorite sweater she ever knit for me was my Sherbert Sweater, I was possibly in grade 2 or 3 when she made it for me and I wore almost all the time! I have a vague recollection that she added some length as I grew & replaced the cuffs at least twice! Granma’s Sherbert Sweaters are testament to the practicality of knitting top down raglans sweaters for growing kids.  456 Almost 15 years ago, with the rise of the internet and the knitting blog, my on again/off again interest in knitting was re-ignited & I would visit my Granma for her help in figuring out a pattern or technique. For very practical reasons, she always knit with arcylic & I, having grown up on a sheep farm, on principal would only knit with wool! We often ended up agreeing to disagree over yarn choices!

When I was expecting Abi & Liam she knit each of them a receiving set of a bonnet, booties & sweater and as they got a bit older, each received one of her signature Icelandic style yoke sweaters. These would become some of the last knitting she did as her mind started to go.

455When it came time to plan Granma’s funeral, my Dad & sister thought it would be very fitting if people were able to wear their Grandma sweaters. Instead of the typical photo memory board people usually have, we gathered a display of her knitting. As pieces were laid out, I saw just how much of my Granma’s knitting style has influenced mine and is more than likely responsible for my love of Icelandic Yoke sweaters and preference for top-down seamless raglan sweaters.

471This is just a few of the sweaters she made for her family but as is the case with almost all knitters, Granma showed her love for us by wrapping us in her knitting.




Not a year end review.

Am late for the annual round up that bloggers seem to do at year’s end…quite frankly I have very little interest in doing a year end round up because 2014 started off with much promise then in April went straight into the shitter when Chris lost his job. We however, have survive. Chris started his new job on Jan 5th so we are moving on & taking with us new things we learned about ourselves, each other & the strength of our relationship when faced with a challenge.

Moving right along…The one tradition I do in January is to toss the stash, check for moths, purge and organize the Girl Cave into a workable space. There is really nothing more frustrating than having an idea and not being able to find what you need because the room is a hot mess…


Yep, I should probably be embarrassed to post that photo, but I’m not. I  embrace my flaws & screw-ups and especially my bad crafting, it all becomes a learning experience. No one is perfect and maybe, just maybe if people showed more of their fuck-ups instead of their perfectly “curated” (unless you are a Museum Curator, DON”T USE THAT WORD!!!) Pinterest life, the world would be way less medicated.

Anyhoo….The gist is Girl Cave is getting organized.

Lists of sewing projects are being drawn up. Merchant & Mills‘ Factory Dress & Trapeze Dress will probably make up a fair amount of my wardrobe once this is all over. Sonya Phillip’s patterns flesh out the rest.

Yarn is being checked for moths then being sorted into “Keep” & “How Drunk Was I When I Bought That?!”…don’t judge me…we all have crap in our houses we question the reason for it being there.

Ravelry stash page is being updated & yarn is being associated with actual projects! I know, this is freaking revolutionary for me!

The BIG PROJECT for this year is a weaving project I have been trying to figure out since I first heard about it back in 2011. I want to try to recreate a shawl/wrap thingy based on the diamond twill weave pattern from the tunic. There is a crew who are recreating the tunic using mostly traditional methods. My plan is to spin two of the fleeces I have taking up space in the Girl Cave & using them to weave the shawl. This will be the first time I have used hand spun for both warp & weft…this will be a great learning experience regardless if I succeed or fail most sensationally!


Not my regular craft

We all know my default crafts are knitting, sewing, weaving & spinning. They each hold top spot in turn, depending on what wild idea has crossed my mind or article I have stumbled across.

Every so often, I need something different. Don’t get me wrong, I could spend an entire lifetime solely focusing in one just one of those areas (assistant to an experimental archeologist recreating Iron Age textiles comes to mind), but sometimes I want to try something new-ish.

323This bundle I picked up from the instructors of the snowshoe workshop my Mum & I took in November is just such a distraction from my regular maker schedule. A few years ago I took the winter moccasins course with the same couple who taught the snowshoe making course. My Winter moccasins are great, on cold days, but I wanted another pair that were better suited for warmer weather.

Between the pattern in the instruction kit & a few resources on line I was more or less able to make what I have seen called “Scout Moccasins”. I honestly have no idea if this is the proper name for this style or even if this would be considered a traditional moccasin design. I should probably corner one of the First People’s curators/techs (same knowledge, different pay rate) at work & ask them.

If you can stitch a rip, you can make moccasins.

Once you have a pattern for a design you like, moccasins are fairly straight forward shoes to make. Take a few measurements, transfer them to the leather, measure twice but cut the leather once then put in your tacking stitches.

374And start to gather & stitch (you need to use what’s called a Glover’s Needle, they have a 3 sided tapered point & artificial sinew, separate an arm length strand into it’s 3 plies)

376 The left 1/2 of the toe of my moccasin is always much neater than the right 1/2

377Repeat for 2nd moccasin

391I could have stopped here & punched holes for laces around the ankles but I wanted a wrap around the ankle.

My first attempt was….lets just say “ass”.

402I had to rip back the stitching around the wraps….I’m much happier with the final result and they are quite comfortable. I felted one of my spinning batts to use as insoles once the leather stretches a bit more.

432There are a few things I will change for my next pair (like add a crepe rubber sole so I can wear them on paved streets & not destroy the leather), but these are perfectly suitable.

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills part…I don’t know… maybe 5?

Oh, it’s been a while. Late August was the last time I wrote a post. The blog silence wasn’t because I wasn’t crafting, but due to limited acess to the computer. I’ve recently (mostly) sorted out how to post from my tablet, so things should get back to semi-regular posts.

Am not going to bother with a catch-up photo post as I got out of the habit of taking photos of what I was working on and my just listing all the stuff I made would be very, very boring without the visuals. Instead, I’m going to tell you about my adventure a few weekends back as it was recent enough that I can actually remember some of the details…

My Mum and I made what can best be described as our annual trek to The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough for yet another one of their traditional craft workshops or as I like to call them: Ways I Build my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills. This year, they offered one of the courses I have been listing on every course feedback form they ask you to fill out for the past 5 years….


When the course was first offered it was on a weekend that my Mum (who is also my ride) was unable to attend, so I was super happy when they offered it again & my Mum was free (I don’t drive & Peterborough is a bit hard to get to via public transit for a weekend course).

We arrived bright & early for our 8:30 am start & once everyone arrived things got moving. The instructors were Dave & Kai owners of Lure of the North, who taught the Winter Moccasin course my Mum & I took about 2 years ago. We were run through the 3 styles of frames they had brought; Huron, Bear Paw & Ojibwe and given the benefits & drawbacks of each design. I did a cursory bit of research about snowshoe designs before going to the workshop and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole as each style is specific to the winter conditions and type of travel they would be used for. The Ojibwe, for example, is best for long treks along open/flat areas as their ski like design will have the person essentially “skiing” along the snow.


Mum went with a traditional Huron frame to replace the pair my Grandad had that were lost. I chose the Bear Paw as I preferred the smaller frame size & it is the best design if you are tromping through wooded areas as you are less likely to end up bridging & snapping your shoe between two logs. Also, unlike the long tailed models, you can back up with the Bear Paw as the weight is evenly distributed & the back end won’t get stuck in the snow. For klutzy me, these are all important factors.

305Snowshoes were woven with rawhide that was specifically treated to withstand the rigours of snowshoeing. The processing of rawhide for specific uses is a complete post unto itself that would really only be of interest to me & various experimental archeologists, so we shall move along… My point being, all the commercially processed rawhide that is on the market now is not of a high enough quality to be used on snowshoes that will be used for actual snowshoeing. If you are looking to fulfill your Rustic Cabin Chic decor, go wild & use the crap rawhide….

Good rawhide being non-existant, we were given the choice of 150lb fish line or nylon webbing. The fish line was harder on your hands to weave, but would not require maintenance when complete. The nylon was way easier on the hands when weaving, but would require yearly applications of varnish which is the same treatment for rawhide woven snowshoes. Only two of the classmates chose the fish line. After watching them struggle with it I was glad I went with the nylon webbing.

With our frame & weave material chosen, we all got down to business.

307By the end of day one, everyone was a bit achey from working hunched over our frames.


My Mum & her end of day 1 progress…

Day  two went much faster & I had completed my snowshoes by mid afternoon.


Other than 2 errors I noticed after I was done, I am super chuffed with my snowshoes. I need some more varnish to finish them off, then  I am all set for what I have heard will be a snowy winter!

Dave & Kai had some of their other DIY kits for sale, I may have come home with a little something to keep me busy while I wait for the snow to get deep enough to use my snowshoes…


A Raleigh Superbe

I have an as yet to be named new to me bike!


She’s an early 1970s/late 1960s Raleigh Superbe 3spd. Made in Nottingham, England but found her way to me via kijiji.ca. She was purchased by the previous owner at the Trinity Bellwoods vintage bike show & sale (7th photo down in the post is a picture of my Superbe!) Dandyhorse also has a nice article about the show, one year I hope to actually remember in time to book that day off work! So, after a week of commuting the previous owner found this was not the right bike for her. I can so totally relate to that! Finding your perfect bike is a tricksy business, especially if you are new-ish to bikes. You can read all the reviews, press releases, fancy bike blogs and test ride until your arse is black & blue, but none of that will give you a true sense of a bike till you have ridden it for longer than the roughly 20 minute ’round the block test ride you can take at a store. Unfortunately, there isn’t to my knowledge any sort of bike service like this unless you have a super nice friend who is willing to lend you their bike, so we muddle through as best as we can and hopefully learn a few things along the way.

When I first started looking for a bike I was smitten with the look of the English 3spds, but my lack of bike mechanical knowledge at that time led to my incorrectly thinking a new bike would be less hassle as I was learning how to negotiate city riding…this turned out not to be the case. As with all things, in hindsight, I should have just bought a damn vintage Raleigh from the get go!

Since that first Trek loop-frame bike with the front shocks & 26 gears, I have run through a series of bikes as it took me a while to figure out what I like in a bike. Road bikes, I discovered, are definitely out!  The riding posture is all wrong for me & I feel rather vulnerable on those thin tyres. (By the by, if you know anyone looking to buy a vintage road bike, I have a Norco Avanti that could use a home that will appreciate it!) Through a process of elimination, I discovered I like a nice lugged step-over frame bike with a 3-6 speed internal hub & rear rack for my panniers that allows me to sit comfortably, see where I am going & by consequence allow the observant motorist (yes that is a dig!) see me. In a nut shell, a vintage English 3spd has what I want. These bikes are amazingly stable due to their weight (not too heavy or too light) and a very sturdy build! Like English vintage cars, their mechanics are particular yet straight forward in their maintenance. The Sturmey-Archer internal hub does require a little bit of thought when shifting gears;  you need to stop pedaling, shift gears, then start pedaling again. Not sure why, my Dad could explain it, all I know is that’s how you do it unless you want to rebuild/replace your internal hub.


My as yet to be named bike is in pretty much original condition (the tyre pump is not stock & am uncertain about the headlamp), she has a few scratches on the paint, but for a 40+year old bike, she rides better than the modern 3spds of  similar design. The grips will need to be replaced & I have already ordered a set of new/old stock (NOS) or what is sometimes called “dead stock” grips via Ebay. The Superbe came with a dynohub that powers a front headlamp & rear light. The electric wires & rear light are missing so I am currently on the hunt. Although, I wonder if my Dad doesn’t have something suitable squirreled away…&  yes, this fascination with English built modes of transportation is most likely a genetic condition of which my Dad & I both suffer, but really let’s be honest, we don’t see it as a fault & it’s our respective partners who are probably the ones suffering by having to put up with us!

014  015  016

While giving the bike the once over for any serious damage, I noticed the front wheel lock…with the key snapped off in it! Drag! A quick perusal of youtube provided me with a few “how to remove a snapped key” videos & ebay pointed me to a seller in England with NOS blank keys from the Raleigh factory which he can cut to fit the lock! I just have to send him the serial number stamped on the side of the lock! How cool is that?!


I might add a Handbag Hugger to the front instead of a basket. They just make more sense, look classic & don’t throw off the steering like fully loaded front baskets can. The saddle which is original, is quite cracked so I have replaced it with a similar style saddle I had in the garage.

Vintage English 3 spd bikes have quite a few advocates online, the most well know is Sheldon Brown who sadly died in February 2008. His website, which is still being maintained is an amazing wealth of information for the care & maintenance of your English 3spd along with other cycling information. He was also a huge fan of the Raleigh Twenty  and wrote extensively about them too! Lovely Bicycle has a great review about the Superbe and even more importantly she has a brilliant post with advice for buying a bike on a budget. I recommend reading that post if you are considering buying a bike, as you will end up with a far better quality bike by following her $.02 than if you were to buy a modern 3spd bike.




I need to keep my hands busy…mainly to keep me from placing them around certain people’s necks & squeezing till their eyes bug out…Suffice it to say with the Summer Holidays and currently all 4 of us in our 750sqft house I’ve been keeping myself quite busy.

The frantic sewing pace I had going for a while has slowed down as other projects took over.

The months started with Tour De Fleece (yes, I know that is a 5 year old link, all organizing of Tour de Fleece has now moved to the Ravelry forums) prep. I have a rather large collection of batts and braids of hand dyed or hand blended fibers and decided it was high time to deal with them. Before I started spinning, I needed to find a pattern to use up as much of the eventual yarn as possible. I figured an afghan was a good idea, but didn’t want to have to lug around a massive bit of knitting! I needed small bits of knitting that would later be seamed together. May I present The Barn Raising “Quilt”. I’m not at all concerned with the squares being symmetrical.

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After 2 weeks of near constant spinning, I was running out of space for all the singles I had spun as well as bobbins. I am currently waiting on the delivery of a bulky flyer and some extra bobbins for my wheel so I can continue to the second stage of the process by turning the singles into 2 ply yarns or possibly Navajo plying to keep the long colour repeats in some of the fiber.

As I wait for the delivery, it’s going to be a bit as my local-ish spinning supply store (Gemini Fibres) are on vacation…So I moved along to another project… crochet.

Cal Patch has recently put out a crochet rag rug tutorial video on Creative Bug which was well timed as I had a lot of left over fabric scraps from my sewing binge.


I worked on the rug for about a week…then had to stop as my right wrist & shoulder were SCREAMING at me. Clearly the previous two weeks of spinning and the week of crochet had not been ergonomically correct…Stretches were done, things are less stiff and the rug was ripped out to be given a new life as a woven rag rug.

The floor loom was dusted off, a warp was wound off, then I lost the cross while warping the loom…a frustrating learning experience…One cannot have too many ties on their warp! The kids acted as Loom Minions and helped me get a very arsed up warp onto the loom and then I was off…


Abi even asked to be shown how the floor loom worked!

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My progress on the rag rug was briefly interrupted yesterday by Liam having a play date…3 boys between the age of 6-8 don’t need strict supervision, but a parental presence in the room acts as a deterrent for the occasional wild idea. Thankfully, the rigid heddle loom was in the living room where the boys were playing and it had a very near complete project on it. I say “Had” as I was able to finish the Rothko shawl. This was the painting that inspired it.

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I woke up this morning filled with a bunch of ideas for more weaving projects which will also help in getting the assorted stashes of fiver & fabric under control and give my shoulder a nice break…