Friday, July 25, 2008

New Spinning Wheel "Launched"

Finally, after a year, I have a spinning wheel again in the city. I bought this lovely Lendrum from Elisa, a fellow guild member. She was so sweet and threw in extra bobbins and a big bunch of fiber. We finally got the wheel into town last weekend. I took it out of the box last Sunday morning, all eager to assemble it but the big knob was stuck -- probably the finish on the bottom of the knob adhered to the finish on the wheel. Happily, on Monday morning the super was able to turn it for me. When I got back from work I put it together. It's so easy and logical. The double treadle is very comfortable. I like the way the orifice hook is built right in so you don't have to go fishing for it. I must say that it does spin fast and that I had to learn not to sit too far back.

Elisa included a basket of cool accessories. There's a fast flyer (bottom left of basket) for cotton and silk. Towards the back of the basket is the jumbo plying head (plus 2 jumbo bobbins). The most exotic and intriguing is the quill head -- at the very back of the basket. The metal spoke is protected, thank goodness, by a plastic sheath. I watched Jenny spin paper with it at a guild demo and I can't wait to try something like that.
I was even able to produced a skein this week. I'm thrilled with the ease of this wheel. I chose some Black Welsh Mountain Sheep fiber, bought some years ago. It's a very challenging fiber -- greasy still, short, wiry fibers and very rough. It'll be great for rug hooking. I washed it last night in hot water with a little synthrapol. In the last rinse I put a little lavender oil and hair conditioner.

Plying was a little more tricky -- as Alden Amos told us, plying is a whole different kettle of fish from spinning. I'd spun very tightly but after some fiddling, was able to get the right amount of twist. And, wonder of wonders, I produced a balanced skein. My usual trick is to underply but I may have finally overcome this tendency.

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