Archive for the ‘Sock Machines’ Category

As part of our 2010 cyber-reorganization, we are moving and consolidating our cyberhomes.  You can get to our website at http://www.fancyfibers.com or just http://fancyfibers.com.

Our Farm Blog is now on that site instead of in a separate place! 

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We hope you’ll check it out and watch our new site grow!


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These last few evenings have been about getting ready for a big sock making push this weekend.  I still have lots of socks in my queue! So it’s ….

Get Ready…..

Get Set ….

Stay tuned for an update on Saturday when it’s going to be time to…


P.S.  Wonder what Daisy the guard cat is protecting on the front porch?? What surprises could be in these boxes ??

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This morning Ken went off to work (Boo Hoo — I liked having him home last week!) Ge’mar and I slept in and didn’t go out to feed until around 8 am.  The animals were standing around waiting for us, wondering what had happened to their usually-much-earlier-breakfast! 

After feeding, we ran over to Eagle Hardware Farm & Ranch in Royce City and picked up some fence supplies and a few other things that I discovered I needed as I strolled around the store eating the Christmas cookies Mary had put out.  Eagle Hardware is owned by Shawn & Mary Risinger, and they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  They carry the Stay-Tuff fencing materials that we use for our goat fences. Shawn is very knowledgeable about the product and eager to help. It’s always a pleasure to shop there even if it is a 50 mile round trip!

Next we went into town to Farmersville Feed & Grain to get sheep & goat feed (160 pounds), dog food (80 pounds), and a little calf manna to mix into the rabbit food to raise the protein level.  That ought to last a couple of weeks! If the weather isn’t too nasty tomorrow afternoon, we’ll stop back by Farmersville Feed to pick up the mineral blocks we ordered.

After getting all the errand running out of the way, it was time to get serious about putting Rock the sock machine back together.  The Welder had kindly brought me some 0000 steel wool (thank you, Little Brother), so I gathered up the rags and sat down to get oily.

The pieces had soaked all night in Marvel Mystery Oil. MMO is actually an oil and gas additive that was originally designed to clean all the gunk out of car engines when the fuel was not as refined as it is today.  Nevertheless, even with our newer “high tech” engines, it remains popular. Every time someone would ask the owner what was in the concoction, he would reply, “It’s a mystery!” and that’s how it got its name.

It is a deep red oil that has a very interesting sickly sweet smell, and it does a great job of cleaning all the gunk off of sock machines!  The first time I had to clean up a machine, Ken said that I was making the house smell like an automotive garage! I thought it actually smelled pretty good. The best way to describe the smell, I guess, is to say it smells like very strong Pepto Bismol.

The sock machine consists of a bunch of pieces, quite a few of which have little groves or channels that get clogged up with oil and lint from the yarn traveling in and around them. In my case, there may also be a little rabbit fur mixed in there! I cleaned each and every groove with steel wool and a toothpick, and sanded (?) every flat surface with the steel wool pads. Fun, huh!?

Then all those little pieces-parts have to be put back together with each screw in its proper place and holding on its proper piece.  The screws really do have to go back into the holes they came out of because very few of them are the same size.

In additin to screws, there are little pointers and adjusters and pins that need to be placed ever so.  When The Welder got finished with the fence (pictures soon!), he came in and helped me out. This was a good thing; he has almost a “sixth sense” about this sort of stuff AND he doesn’t mind the smell!

In the end, it was once more, a sock machine! It was too late to crank some yarn through it and adjust all the dials that make the needles go in and out, and up and down, at precisely the right time to catch the yarn that is being carried around in the yarn carrier at just the right height.  All that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Molli says, “Thanks, Mom, for putting this dishcloth here so that I can lay on it!

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Tonight something positive happened:  I actually cranked out an entire pair of socks without even one curse word!!  Yes, finally, I’m back in the saddle again!  Socks have been made!  Socks will continue to be made!

Why the cursing, you ask?  Well you see <cue violin music> I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately with my main hard-working sock machine, nicknamed Rock.  Rock is the best machine to take anywhere because he’s so dependable.  He doesn’t look like much; he’s not been cosmetically restored and powder coated like so many of the machines nowadays, but he is rock-solid dependable and easy to use.

These last few months have been tough on both Rock and I.  We’ve been busy demonstrating at art festivals and craft fairs, and he’s been dragged all over creation.  Men LOVE to see Rock in action.  They are facinated by the mechanical aspects, and the fact that he’s over 100 years old!

His last trip was to Boerne.  He *really* got a workout there because, not only was he doing sock cranking demos all day, he made an appearance at one of the two classes I taught.  When Kid-n-Ewe was over, and Rock and his companion (who is all looks and no action, I’m afraid) were packed up in their Black & Decker tool box and loaded into the trailer, I’m sure he was happy for the rest.

And rest he did.  There was a little rain on the way home, and since I got home at midnight, he didn’t get unloaded right away. Then I had to go to work the next day, and school the next night, and he didn’t get unloaded that day either.  As I recall it rained again.  See where I’m going with this?  In the next few days his case got rolled out of the livestock trailer and into the Bunny Barn, but still, he sat.  Another crazy week or two of high school and university classes, moving houses, and yet another craft show came and went.

Finally, things slowed down long enough to unpack Rock from his box.  To my dismay, the box wasn’t water tight, and there was standing water inside.  My small tools were rusted beyond use. There was rust on my precious machine.  My heart sank.  I sat him on his stand, oiled him, scrubbed him as best I could, and hoped with all my heart that he would work.  After all, I had orders to fill from all those art festivals!

But he was angry.  (Can’t say I blame him.) He dropped stitches. He snagged other stitches.  His pieces parts didn’t fit quite right. A few screws worked their way out.  The first two days, I *know* I knit the same sock 4 times.  That’s about when the cursing started.  There was nothing to do but tinker, adjust, stomp my feet, drink (coffee), and curse. Eventually I finished the pair.

Tonight, however, Rock and I reached a detante. An uneasy truce of sorts. I bribed him with oil, and I plugged in a heater for him. And tonight, I actually made it through a second pair of socks without cursing.  Hope springs eternal that tomorrow I will be able to repeat this feat.  This is good.

My mother is part of a group at her church who make prayer shawls for people who are going through troubling times.  As I understand it, as you sit and knit or crochet on your shawl, you are supposed to say little prayers, or think healing thoughts, or some other such positive thing so that your hope and love and good vibes will travel into the shawl and on to the beneficiary, and be a blessing to him.  It’s sort of a karma thing, I guess.

If that’s the case, maybe I should burn that first pair of socks!

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Tomorrow is “set up” day at Huffhines Park in Richardson where the city will once again put on its annual Art Trails event.  Fancy Fibers is once again excited to have a booth, and even more excited that there has been some crisp cool weather lately!  Maybe everyone will be thinking about nice warm socks!

As with years past, I am pleased to share the booth with Cindy (Jacob’s Reward) and Laurie (Laurie’s Handz) and their beautiful hand knit, hand spun, and hand felted hats, scarves, purses, shawls, and other luscious items.  Between the three of us, we aim to cover all the bases for your cold weather comfort!

Can I get down yet?

Can I get down yet?

Tonight, though, was all about getting ready, after I went down a few rabbit trails.  Unlike most people, however, my rabbit trails involve real rabbits.  Caramel and Coffee are beginning to blow their coats, so it was time for their second round of plucking.  After they spend 20 minutes or so on the grooming table, they get to run around loose in my workshop, at least until they start trying to dominate one another.  At that point, it’s time to scoop them up and put them back in their cages.

While they were running around, I was packing up my sock machine.  Ken had most everything else already in the back of the Suburban. I’ll head to Richardson right after high school lets out tomorrow, and Cindy, Laurie, and I will get the booth set up, hopefully before dark!  Then we’ll be back Saturday morning for the fun!  Hope you will join us!

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These last two weekends have been FULL of fiber fun, so full, in fact, that I’ve been totally remiss in writing about them!

Over the MLK holiday, I met up with a dozen or so of my sock machine friends at the Apple Leef Farm for a crank-in. It was a blast! We had folks from the general Dallas area, and also friends from various points in Arkansas and also Barb Wilde, of Rosewood Yarns fame, from Boerne, Texas.

The fun actually started on Friday, but Shelly — my car pool buddy — and I did not arrive until Saturday (you know, that I-have-to-work-for-a-living thing). I managed to crank out two pairs of socks and a couple of “test” versions of some wrist/hand warmers (pictures to follow). Shelly came close to mastering heels & toes and has subsequently knit an entire pair of socks! There was lots of fixing and adjusting of machines to the point that Tammy came with problems and went home with a pair of ribbed socks. We also discovered we had a “natural” — Faye, who had never cranked a machine before, but who knit a beautiful pair of socks right away!

My photos are in my Flickr album, but they aren’t the best. Janis took some really great pictures, so take a look at them here. Shelly also has pictures in her Flickr album which you can find here.

Okay – back to cranking and closing toes!

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I’m in love!

I thought I had a mate for life in my Legare. My first love affair was rocky, but is still very special. It was an eBay deal gone wrong, and then set right again by the Champ Sockmachine Whisperer, Donna Peters. We’ve been together several years
now. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve always been there for each
other, through thick and thin, I could always count on that Legare. She
brought her friends over, that is true. It’s not like it was a monogamous
relationship. We both knew she could never be my only love.

But now, I’ve been seduced. It started out innocently enough, a passing
remark to a friend about wanting a machine with an 84 slot cylinder. Before
I knew it, my friend had introduced me to someone new. In a moment of
weakness, I brought her home. The relationship was safe at first. We
started seeing each other, but only from a distance, a passing glance as she
sat in her box in the corner.

Then one day, that passing glance just wasn’t enough. She approached me
boldly in the living room, calling my name. I .. I .. I . couldn’t help
myself. In a matter of a few minutes (well, actually, it took a little
longer than that), I had her clamped to a table. I threaded the yarn, hung
the loops of the set-up basket, and then just couldn’t stop myself. I
reached out for the handle, and fireworks went off in the sky.

I’m in love, with an Imperia.

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