Monday, January 27, 2014

One year younger than me

I came home with this Ashford Traditional wheel on Sunday.

 *updated with new photos*

Twins went straight to work spinning the wheel. I don't even need to treadle! It's twin-powered!

I couldn't resist trying it out with a bit of alpaca roving that had come with my newest spindles (intended for trying out the spindle and learning to spin, but I'm proficient enough with my spindles now).

The wheel needs oil and some TLC (dusting, had to reorient some of the flyer hooks, springs for the brake band...) I'll need a couple more bobbins (it only came with one) and I'll have to purchase/build a lazy kate at some point. I am also thinking of adding some painted details to the wheel because I'm not in love with the finish - but I really can't be bothered to sand it down and refinish it! It'll work as an earthy base coat that I can slowly detail - as I once did with my bedroom in my youth.  My parents haven't repainted, so my detailed knotwork still adorns the walls and ceiling corners.

I digress. All I really want to say at this point is SQUEEEEEEEE!
I've wanted a spinning wheel for a long time. I'd given up hope of getting one second hand in my area for a price I could afford. (Hence I recently spent my Xmas money on a couple more spindles and fibre instead; not expecting a wheel to come up.) Then I received some money for a shawl I knit and this came up on kijiji within the week. Clearly it was meant to be. She'll look lovely posed next to my lap harp Amalthia (a Stoneyend Eve) when I eventually organize my office/tea room. One day in the nearer future. I'm inspired by the wheel to make the space usable!  Plus, now I can organize the space around my fibre needs. Spinning corner, fibre basket, reading/knitting chair, good lamp... desk for the laptop so I can grade assignments... warm rug - which I should spin and make from a local fleece. Yeah... *dreaming now* *I'm back*
Seriously, that would be wonderful.

Stay tuned for more spinning updates as I'm wrapping up that Red fibre experiment using different spindles. If only I had one more ounce now to compare on my wheel. Oh well, guess I'll have to do the comparison again with a different fibre and all my tools. Darn.

Friday, January 10, 2014

easy as apple pie?

I've become fairly proficient at spindle-spinning on my existing spindles and especially making lace weight yarns. I like lace. I knit lace.
But it was time to mix things up a little and spin outside my comfort zone. Time to try something new.
I've heard (and experienced for myself) how difficult it can be to shift from fine singles to bulkier. I decided one way I would try to combat this was with new tools. For starters, a heavier top whorl was in order. I went shopping on etsy and found this cute mid-priced top-whorl. I had xmas money to spend.  Then I saw the matching bowl for a heavier support spindle (sold together; 2oz spindle is quite heavy) and decided this new tool would also be good to experiment with. Add a bit of fibre and I had a lovely order.

lavender batts were my chosen fibre. the rest came with the top-whorl as part of a starter kit - BFL, merino, and alpaca
The new support spindle has certainly taken some getting used to. It does not spin as quick or long as my light weight Tibetan style spindle. I was having difficulty adjusting, so I took my questions to the Ravelry group for support spindlers and received a lot of great advice. With some more practice, I'm working up a new rhythm that not only is adjusted to the spindle but to making thicker singles. I've similarly been working on making thicker singles on the new top whorl spindle - as shown in the top photo - using the same fibre (merino).  I think it's going well.
The colour of this fibre reminds me of green apples with a little bit of pink/red.  Alas, I only had Pink Lady apples on hand to photograph, which is not quite the apple colouring I'm thinking of.

Apples made me think of warm apple pie.
Which gave me the idea that perhaps I'll pair this small bit of experimental yarn (plied) with my Pumpkin Pie fibre. The green would add some cute contrast stripes or border or... well I've yet to figure that out. I need a project idea first. Then I'll spin the Pumpkin (from Waterloo Wools).

Pie made me think of the phrase "easy as pie" and as I reflect on that I think that pie's not so easy to  bake. Filling is simple and flexible, but the crust? That requires skills and an awareness of how to adjust it for different circumstances - or it will fall apart as you roll it out.  Rather like experimenting with different spindles, thicker singles, different fibres... (no, I'm not the cook at home and I can not make pie crust so please forgive me if my analogy is grossly inaccurate. But I do watch Food Network with my beloved cook.)

I'm not the only one practicing with my new support spindle. One toddler is quite taken with it and is trying to learn to spin. However, she keeps twisting it in the wrong direction (to my spinning).

The eldest wants to spin too (she rotates my Turkish spindles for me on occasion). Neither is ready to sit still and learn. (20m and 5.5yrs)