Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Romney Locks

I've finally gotten around to de-stashing. I have more fiber than I know what to do with, so I will be putting up lots of it in my eBay store throughout the summer.

Right now I have Romney locks, natural and dyed, BFL locks in a gorgeous blue and an assortment of natural colors of a Romney x Merino wool from GenoPalette. Take a look and see if there's something there you'd like ot spin.

The Romney/Merino cross is discounted in the eBay store from my regular price of $2.50 per ounce. I have one pound lots available for $30.00 and half pound for $16.00. Not a bad deal for some really nice fiber! I have just got to clean out some of the fiber I have collected and make room for my weaving and other things.

I am also going to be listing a very lightly used White, embroidery (sewing) machine along with lots of thread and a Magic Box for making your own deigns and tranfering them over to an embroidery pattern. Before I list all of this equipment, I thought I'd post it here to see if anyone is interested in it. I'd rather do that and be able to sell it for a little less because there are no eBay fees to cover. So e-mail me if you might be interested in this machine and all the accessories.

Peace & Joy,

Monday, May 29, 2006

This and That...

'Raven at Midnight'
Custom spindle

I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday weekend. I spent much of my weekend traveling and visiting my mom in Northwest Indiana. Being on the road is always difficult and it's good to be home. Although the weather has gone from cool, even cold, to HOT and it's as if we skipped spring entirely and went from winter to summer here in Wisconsin.

Tomorrow is supposed to get a bit more temperate though and horse clipping is on the agenda for the day. For those of you who don't have horses, imagine using a pair of clippers similar to what the barber uses to shaves your neck to clip the entire body of one large horse. Then, do it again for the second horse! Of course, they have to have a bath and dry first so the clippers don't dull on the dirt and dust in their coats. The first year I body clipped my horse I did one side one day and the other the next. He looked very funny for about 14 hours or so!

Today was spent cooking and doing some laundry and then painting spindles. Now that it's evening, I feel like getting out and doing something but nothing is open and the weather is threatening rain in addition to still be really humid and very warm at 8:00 p.m. So it looks like I'll just curl up with the current book I'm reading and spend the evening relaxing. I've discovered, through experience, that I simply cannot paint spindles at night. I haven't found any lighting yet that allows me to do the detail work that natural light allows for. Maybe I'll have to look for a lamp that will work. But then again, it does make it so I must stop at some point and come in from my painting table and be sociable. So maybe having a cut-off time that comes naturally is not such a bad thing. I'll have to ponder that one a bit more.

I have a couple of new spindles up in the eBay store and also a pair of knitting needles. As always, I try to work some items in for my store along with the custom orders. I am going to have to put a real kick on here soon since I will be going on an actual vaction this summer and won't be working during that time. Needless to say, if you have an order in with me at present, you will get it before then.

Peace & Joy,

Monday, May 22, 2006

Spindles for Sale in eBay Store for a Charitable Cause - New Color Available

Celestial Blue Prayer Wheel
Mantra of Universal Compassion in Tibetan Script
"Om Mani Padme Hum"

Something new! I am selling spindles through my eBay store to benefit a project that I think is very worthwhile. All of these spindles are selling at a fixed price and all proceeds will go to the Deer Park Temple Project. You can read more about this project at:

Just as an overview, Deer Park is a local Tibetan Buddhist Center and monastery near Madison, WI. The head of Deer Park, Venerable Geshe Sopa, was an examiner for the Dalai Lama and he fled Tibet in the early 1960's. He later became a professor at the University of Wisconsin and retired after 30 years of teaching. From his earnings as a professor and with the help of others, he purchased land and started building a center for the local Tibetan community, the local community of monks and nuns and Westerner students who wanted to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism. He continues to teach at Deer Park and is in residence there along with three other monks and two nuns. Deer Park is also significant in that H.H. the Dalai Lama has visted numerous times and will again visit in the spring of 2007 to consecrate the new temple. The current temple, which is very small, was built as a pavillion to house the first ever Kalachakra ceremony performed outside of Tibet or India by the Dalai Lama. The site will likely be put on the historic registry and is a pilgrimage site for many Buddhists from around the world.

Aside from all of the above, Madison has a large Tibetan refugee community that is served by Deer Park and this new temple will be of direct benefit to this community. At present, there is not enough space where all of this growing community can gather to worship or socialize. I have come to know many of the Tibetans who fled their homeland and they never cease to move me by their joy in the face of such horrible tragedies and hardships they have suffered. They are such a kind, loving people and I am trying to do what little I can to help build a new temple for them and for the larger community.

It doesn't matter what your beliefs are when you look into the face of those who have suffered and been persecuted for their beliefs and many times simply for their ethnicity.

As the Dalai Lama puts it, "My religion is Kindness".

Peace & Joy,

To get to my eBay store, simply click on "Auctions" to your right. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Animal Portraits...




I tend to get quite a few request from people to have their animal companions painted on their spindles. I wanted to share a few of these portraits with you for this post.

I'd also like to share a new spindle with you. I am now producing a larger spindle with the "Raven" whorl. Big difference is that the overall length of the spindle is about 15" or so. That gives you around 13" under the whorl for a large copp or for plying.

This spindle has a long, stable spin time and also gives me a larger palette to work on for more detailed paintings. The whorl of "Digger" that you see above will be one of these larger spindles.

Prices wise, they will run a bit more due to more materials and a higher shipping cost. They will still be well within the current price range of around $30.00 - $40.00 per spindle.

Peace & Joy,


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

So How Do You Do That?

I thought I make take a little time here and post exactly what the steps are for making a painted spindle. The process is much more involved and time consuming than most people may think.

First I take basic stock dowels and wooden wheels. The dowels come in sections that have to be cut into 11" lengths for standard spindles. I cut these on a chop saw and then use a fine grinder to take off the edges of the dowels. Next I sand them with three different grits of sandpaper to get them silky smooth. After this, the one end must be drilled to accomodate the hook. I don't own a drill press, so this is all done by hand with your standard cordless drill. Now the dowels go into the freezer! More about that later.

Next the wooden whorls have to be hand sanded. Many of them are very rough and need multiple sandings. I start with a large grit sand paper and wet the whorls after the first sanding to bring up more grain. After they have dried, they are sanded again. This process is repeated until I get a smooth surface. Many times, this is a matter of sanding, wetting, drying and sanding up to 5 times. Now a notch is hand filed on the edge of the whorl with a metal file. Finally, the whorl is sanded with a very fine grit sandpaper and then a sealant coat is painted over it.

Now the whorls are ready for base coats of paint. I pick a background color and cover the top of the whorl or the entire whorl, depending on the design. Lighter colors can take up to 4 coats of paint to get a good finish. Darker colors usually only require two coats. The whorls are each sanded lightly between coats of paint.

It's finally time to paint the design on the whorl. Most of the time, I just pick up a brush and rough in the design and start painting. With more complex designs, I may draw the artwork on a piece of paper first and then tranfser it with graphite to the whorl so that I know it's going to come out with correct proportions. Painting a whorl can take up to 2 hours of solid work but most are around an hour each.

Once the whorl is finished, it gets 2-3 coats of a sealant spray on both sides. Now it's time to assemble the spindle.

Okay, remember the dowels are in the freezer. I do this so that they shrink ever so slightly and will fit snugly in the hole of the whorl. Due to this method, no glue is necessary. When I take a dowel out of the freezer, I have to work quickly before it warms up. I do one at a time and coat the top end with a bit of paraffin first to facilitate getting it through the hole in the whorl. Sometimes it's really difficult to get the dowel through and it needs to be tapped in with a wooden mallet so that it seats far enough from the whorl.

Finally, the hook is inserted into the dowel and I give the spindle a trial spin to make sure that it is well balanced and that there is nothing that needs correcting.

I take pictures of every spindle I make and keep a file of these. I also send out pictures to customers before they pay for their spindle so that they can approve the artwork. So far, I have had not had a single spindle turned down but if someone doesn't like their spindle, I expect them to say so and I will re-do it to meet their expectations.

Last but not least, the spindle is wrapped in tissue, packaged and sent off via USPS to its new owner.

Needless to say, I typically get around 2-3 spindles done per day. Some days I can only get one finished if the design is particularly complex.

Peace & Joy,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Spindles...

Hi All,

I just wanted to post some pictures of spindles out of a group I just finished. Hope you enjoy them!

Peace & Joy,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Eeek! It's Been So Long....

Well April sort of disappeared without my noticing that I had not posted a thing since mid-March. I am sorry that I haven't kept in touch or kept up with the blog. Life has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

First of all, I haven't had any horse related accidents. That's a good thing. I have, however, been having what my gastroenteroligsit thinks are gallbladder attacks. So I am going through testing for that right now.

We also had to move our horses recently to a facility that is twice as far from our house. I am still working out how to get there and back and fit it all into my schedule without spending the whole day doing it.

Other than that, it's been a really cool, gray spring here and I have been pretty low energy. I have not forgotten any of your orders and I will start having more to ship out this week and next. My schedule got a bit bogged down with a larger wholesale order that I had to get out the door. So expect to see more things very soon!

Peace & Joy,