Archive for November, 2008

A quiet success

posted Monday, November 24th, 2008

Well, eventually oiling the plastic bearings on my Hitchhiker and spinning caused enough fiber/gunk to build up in the top/noisier bearing to cause it to stop turning entirely.  Not quite what I intended, but ultimately it did stop the noise over the weekend.. the shaft would just rotate inside the plastic bearing without the bearing moving, and was for the most part, quiet.  HOWEVER, my new sealed bearings arrived today (yay!), and initial testing shows they will work quite well, but they are a little bit thicker than the old plastic ones, so I’m either going to have to try to drill out my mother of all a little bit, or just build a new one to accommodate the new bearings so I can get the clips back on the shaft to hold it in place (spinning with just the top clip in place seems to be working “okay” for now though.. but I wouldn’t trust it long-term and it means the entire shaft can just be pulled off the wheel with very little effort).  I’m leaning towards just making a new one to avoid destroying the old one… as that seems like a safer plan.

Here are the old bearings next to the new ones… the new ones are so pretty 🙂

Old/New Bearings

I’m quite happy at the moment…. with my now quiet Hitchhiker.  I was able to track down a replacement spring hinge and get that installed Friday, which did solve the whorl against the wheel issue, but at a cost – the wheel now has a bit more resistance while treadling the smaller whorl (and I imagine that would only increase with the smallest whorl, which I don’t have), but it’s really not too bad.  I’m willing to live with that bit of extra resistance, if it means a quieter wheel.

My little renovation project will still continue with repainting some parts of my wheel that have withstood some wear over the past 2 1/2 years, but it’s spinning better now than it ever has.

Hushing my Hitchhiker

posted Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Earlier this week I formed a plot to quiet my Hitchhiker’s noise while spinning.  Almost anyone who has spun on or been near one of these wheels spinning knows that they do indeed make a bit of noise.. and I’m determined to do some problem solving and fix most of where the noise is coming from.  I’ve identified several areas on my Hitchhiker that I can say contribute:

  1. Mother of all bearings – mine are plastic, not sealed, and they sound like roller skates unless I drench them in oil… say every 20 minutes.  That’s far from ideal, and eventually they get gummed up and even noisier (soaking in hot soapy water and washing seems to help, but the cycle repeats).  I’m replacing these with sealed metal bearings, assuming I’ve ordered the correct size.
  2. Brake band.  I noticed that mine makes a specific chattering noise, that I was able to troubleshoot down to blaming on the spring itself.  The monofilament wasn’t the quietest material in the world either, but a majority of the noise was in fact due to the necessary spring.  Monofilament on it’s own doesn’t really work out so well.  So I’ve replaced my brake band with 1mm stretch bead cord.  So far it’s working out *really* well.  It’s elastic, so no spring required, and it’s smooth and slick like the monofilament.   Time will tell how well it holds up, but I’m encouraged by how well it’s performing so far.
  3. Whorl against the wheel.  This isn’t actually noise caused by the whorl traveling along the wheel (which does make some noise, but it’s not bad) but rather by the fact that the whorl isn’t held against the wheel with enough tension, causing is to bounce a bit as I spin.  This is impart due I think to a slight imbalance with the flyer, but neither flyer I have works any better, and some extra tension on the mother of all seems to solve the problem.  I’m somewhat convinced that this is due to the single spring hinge, so my plan is to replace the non-springy hinge with a spring hinge when I can find a replacement (I’ve found them online, but shipping is more than the set of 2 hinges is).

It will be interesting to see how much of a difference the new bearings and second spring hinge will make.  I will update as soon as I have replacements and can swap those out.

I’m also working on refinishing a few rough areas of my wheel, and finishing up a few parts I feel like I sort of left half-completed.  I have only been about 90% happy with how it turned out after painting it, but never really got motivated enough to fix what I didn’t like.  Now that my HH has reached 2 1/2 years old, I think some maintenence is due 🙂

Making progress

posted Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

The bars are coming along.. I’ve fixed a few bugs that I had found, as well as a memory hogging issue, and I’ve got a few people signed up to test them.  If you’re interested in testing them too, please PM me on Ravelry with your email address and API key, and I’ll email you a code snipped to use.  The flash display is somewhat customizable – you can change the color of everything as well as which type of projects are displayed, and I’m working on the ability to change some other things as well.

I got distracted from my Lizard Ridge by a super cute hoodie pattern I’m testing.. I have about 2″ of plain knitting to go on the skirt and then I can do the lace part, then finish off the sleeves and work on the hood.  The test knits I’ve seen so far look impossibly cute – I can’t wait to get a little bit more done with mine.  If i like how it turns out, I’ll probably make a bigger one for Kaia 🙂


(excuse the lensbaby shot, it was already on my camera and I didn’t feel like swapping lenses to get a quick progress shot)

Notice something new?

posted Friday, November 7th, 2008

All this week I’ve been working on a Flash widget version of the Ravelry Progress bars – it’s currently displaying my FO’s in the sidebar.  I’ve got a few more tweaks to do, and I want to add a few more features and I need to clean up my code a bit (okay, a lot) and add some more error handling, but it’s a huge step towards enabling those who can’t use JavaScript on their blogs to have access to Ravelry’s JSON output and add their WIP’s or FO’s to their sidebarstoo. I’m hoping that Casey will officially adopt it for Ravelry (and host the SWF file) when it’s completely finished.  Right now since I’m hosting it and I don’t want to unleash a can of worms, it’s not available for use by anyone else yet.  I will also release my source files when it’s all finished, for any Flash developers out there who want to play/tweak on their own 🙂

As if learning Flash and Actionscript 3.0 this past week wasn’t enough, the day before Halloween I decided to start on a *second* Lizard Ridge!  I’ve had the yarn for a few months and I was originally considering another blanket pattern, but the appeal of doing another LR was just too great, and I got started.  I’m knitting it all in one peice – no blocks or panels, and one week later I’m exactly 25% finished (6 pattern repeats in), and making steady progress.  I’m hoping to knock this out fairly quickly so that I can move onto some other smaller projects I’d like to get finished before the holidays.

I am absolutely loving how the colors (colorway #183) have been working out.

Lizard Ridge #2

Celebrating Colleen at TLC was a resounding success, raising approximately $12,000 for Colleen’s kids.  I am just in awe at the generosity of all who were able to donate items for sale/auction/raffle, as well as those who spent freely to help show her family just how much she was loved, and will be missed.  I did my part by bidding on and winning the Vespa Handspun, which was spun by Sara from fiber dyed by Colleen.  This yarn is beyond beautiful.  I’m not quite sure what I’m going to make with it yet, but I figure I have a little while to decide – and even if I just stare at the yarn for a while, that’s okay to 🙂  It’s kind of hard not to – like I said, it’s GORGEOUS!

Vespa Handspun