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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hidden Valley Woolen Mill Sale coming up

I just wanted to give a blurb out for my local readers about the upcoming sale at the Hidden Valley Woolen Mill in Valders, WI (about halfway between Manitowoc and Chilton.)  Every year Carol Wagner hosts an Open House and has many gift items for your holiday shopping....

Holiday Open House Sale

November 22 ~ 24, 2013
Friday: 1pm ~ 6pm
Saturday: 9am ~ 6pm
Sunday: 10am ~ 3pm

Address: 14804 Newton Rd, Valders, WI 54245

Carol has a beautiful fiber farm and does wool processing.  
She sells yarns, spinning materials, weaving items and quilting fabrics too.
During her sale, she features gift items from local artists too. 

She lets me put up a few baskets on display for the sale... 
so I fill them with hotpads, hats and of course, my socks! 

I am wayyy behind on sock production lately, being sick for the last two weeks.  So this weekend I was cranking away furiously to get more socks finished.  For my new readers, I have an antique circular sockknitting machine and I make the coziest wool socks!  (if I say so myself)  I also make acrylic socks for those who don't like wool.  It takes me about an hour to do a complete pair.  The machine is fascinating to watch, and if you ever get a chance to see one in operation, do so.  

This is my 1925 Gearhart sockknitting machine. It's finicky, cranky, irritating and frustrating at times.  But it's also FUN!   I love the socks it makes, and I use all different kinds of wool yarns to make interesting combinations of colors in my woolen socks.  

I have had this particular machine for about 5 or 6 years now, but I have been cranking since 1997.  This one is slowly wearing out from my heavy usage, it's skipping teeth on the gears it's gotten so worn, and the hand shaft is wearing down and no longer tight so it skips. It is getting wobbly and loose and is not operating properly.  I am spending more time than usual fiddling with it.  ARGGHHH

Today Steve and I did a little "operating" on it. We examined it closely and determined three things that might help it function better. He ground off a tiny bit on the end of the shaft so the handle could ride in more closely to the gear wheel. The flat washer holding the handle on the shaft was running too tight, so we bent the washer in a concave shape and it holds everything much better.  Then for grins, I figured I was wearing out the slots on one side of the cylinder where I create the toes and heels... its like double the use of the slots on one side of the cylinder vs. the other side I unscrewed it and rotated it 180 degrees and I will start using the other side of the cylinder instead.  Voila!  All three fixes helped, and the machine is cranking smoothly again..... 

We pretty much laid low this weekend, and hunkered down for the snow fall.  I made some comfort food like beef stew and somemore bars.  I did manage one run to Walmart to replenish a few supplies.  Steve and I both are still down with the cold/flu/infection yucky stuff... but we are doing better.  Not 100% yet, but on the upswing. Finally.

We didn't get much snow this weekend, but it was pretty and soft and silent during the night.  I went out in the front porch to take this pic....

I know it's not in focus, so it's not the best picture.  I think it conveys the soft silent peaceful night in our tiny town as we got our first snowfall of the season.  It was special... and I am glad to be able to look out of my warm cozy home and see it and experience it.

We will see how I feel in mid-January when the Winter Doldrums set in! 


  1. Nice to see your machine. I have a 1924 Gearhart. I am still learning, making my 7th pr tonight. I haven't started using the ribber yet. still getting really comfortable with the rest of the machine first.
    We had snow a week ago and it has been below zero here in ND for a couple nights.
    Glad you are feeling better.

  2. You and Steve are geniuses to figure out how to make the machine as good as new! It's getting cold enough I think I will get out my beautiful cozy pair of socks!

  3. I remember your pic of you dipping your toes in the Pacific. Yesterday, when it was snowing in Wisconsin, I dipped my toes in the warm Gulf waters at Siesta beach FL. But i always loved snowy days too!

  4. I'm fascinated by your ability to repair that old machine! The socks look wonderful!, especially that turquoise pair! That's my favorite color!

  5. I am glad that you are feeling better, enough so that you can knit socks! The socks are so pretty. Are these machine washable? Do they require any special care? Are the wool ones itchy? I am thinking about getting some for my son, he hunts a lot.
    I looked on your etsy site and didn't see any care instructions. Crank away girl, I love them!

  6. Looks Burrrrr cold.
    That is a really cool sock knitting machine! Sounds like you have it 'socked' in for a few more years!

    The pic out the window, first snow, reminds me of a Christmas Eve in my hometown when I was a kid. Cool stuff.


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