Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Serried Schacht Spinners

Four Schacht spinning wheels lined up and ready for action.

Abi Hutchison of High Prairie Fibers invited a group of to visit her beautiful home and studio in eastern Iowa for a "Spinners' Play Day*" yesterday. Abi and her husband, Michael, who runs Iowa Parrot Rescue gave us a really wonderful time. We got to see old friends and new, the beautiful parrots, the new bird house, Abi's fabulous studio with her big drum carder and pin drafting machine, Michael and some of his friends played great music for us, and there was excellent food. A good time was had by all, and I, for one, am looking forward to the next such event!
*OK, there were spinners, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and all manner of fibre artists there.

Jill makes Navajo plying look easy

Michael provides music for us to spin to!

The Riedel Deal!

We went to a garage sale the other day and picked up eight of these lovely Riedel wineglasses for 25 cents each! A nice subject to practise photographing glassware with!

I have posted the setup for this shot on my Flickr page.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DIY Reflector

I have long liked the idea of the California Sunbounce, but it's very expensive, so I decided to have a go at making my own. the frame was to be constructed from PVC tube, and fitted with a two-sided cloth cover, black on one side, and silver on the other.
Here is a brief description of the project:

First, as I wasn't too concerned with the overall dimensions of the finished product, the lengths to which I cut my tubes were purely arbitrary. The only measurement that mattered at this stage is the length of the handle piece, as it had to fit the frame. The lengths I cut were:

(A) 4 side pieces @ 19 3/4"
(B) 2 end pieces @ 24 3/4"
(C) 2 handle standoffs @ 3"
(D) 1 handle @ 19 1/4"

The fittings required are:
4 90 degree elbows
2 45 degree elbows
2 tees
(All the tubes and fittings are 3/4" Schedule 40)

The only tools needed for the job are a hacksaw, a measuring tape, and a marker or a pencil.

The completed frame.

I wanted to be able either to put the reflector on a lightstand, or to be able to attach an arm with a strobe on it. To do this I got a 1/4" x 20 coupling nut. Used for joining lengths of threaded rod, this is just like an ordinary nut but much longer. The one I got is two inches long.

I then drilled a hole on one of the tees, at a 45 degree angle to the plane of the tee, and bonded the coupling nut in place with epoxy resin adhesive. The portion of the nut sticking out from the joint will allow me to hold it with a wrench or adjustable spanner to avoid strain when affixing fittings.

Lightstand/tripod fitting with 5/8" stud attached.

The next thing to do it make the fabric covering. I used a remnant piece of black cotton. This was cut to size, hemmed and fitted with Velcro tabs.

Then we* stitched a piece of silver lame to one side, giving a reversible reflector/flag. (*"We" being Maggie. Thank you for your patience and help with the sewing)

Et voila! The finished reflector! And the cost? A bit under $25 - not too bad, eh?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Farm Crawl

It's been a long time since I blogged, so here goes:

We did the Farm Crawl on Sunday, a fun tour of six wonderful family farms just south of Des Moines
. It was a fabulous day, and hundreds of visitors toured between the various farms. Each farm is unique, there's a goat dairy, a pumpkin patch, an orchard, honey and preserves, produce and livestock, all chemical-free and natural.

A steel Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton sculpture at Pierce's Pumpkin Patch.

Marianne being chased by the dinosaur :)

Just some of the amazing variety of gourds and squash at Pierce's Pumpkin Patch.

Maggie meets some of the goats at Reichert's Dairy. These are LaMancha goats - they naturally have very tiny ears.

It's really refreshing, in a land filled with GM corn and beans, hog confinements, factory chickens and feedlots, that there are people that really care about the environment, food quality, sustainable farming, and the general health of our planet, and are actually DOING something about it. Congratulations to Blue Gate Farm, Reichert's Dairy Air, Dan-D Farm, Pierce's Pumpkin Patch, Coyote Run Farm and Schneider Orchard! Keep up the good work!