Monday, May 20, 2013

My first spinning wheel!

Oh my goodness, you guys...I got a spinning wheel! I'm really excited about this. Could you tell? :)
 
I wasn't look for a spinning wheel now. Mostly because I knew I couldn't afford one, but also because I was happy with my little spindle. So this was definitely a God thing! Basically, a friend of my parents' is a knitter/fiber person, and she was planning on buying two of our goat kids this spring. She knew that I was learning how to spin with a spindle, so she offered to trade her spinning wheel (that she didn't use much anymore) for the two kids and some chickens (not live chickens...already processed and ready to eat :).
 
After doing a bit of research online about the wheel, I knew I was going to jump on that offer. It worked out so nicely because it was a great value for the wheel (and everything that came with it), and my parents are letting me pay them back in farm labor instead of money. :)
 
I got the wheel on Saturday! And here it is. It's a Country Craftsman, made in 1992, according to the date on the bottom. {From what I understand, CC spinning wheels were handmade in Massachusetts by one man, and then by another when the first retired. The second maker has since retired, so the wheels aren't made anymore. They're constructed completely from wood pegs- no nails or screws.}
 


It's a double drive wheel, which means that the drive band is doubled over. One loop goes on the bobbin and one goes on the whorl. Since I've never spun on a wheel, I had no opinion on what kind of wheel I would prefer. Apparently double drive wheels (and CC wheels in particular) are good at spinning fine, consistent yarns fairly quickly.



I spent most of the evening experimenting and trying to get the hang of things. The bobbin that was already in was full of yarn that the previous owner had spun, so I decided to take it off and put an empty one on to practice with. Of course when I did that, the drive band fell off onto the floor. I didn't want to have to mess with the drive band this soon, but I have this uncanny ability for getting to know any new crafty machine very well on the first day I own it. {The day I got my sewing machine, the fabric I was practicing on got sucked down into the machine and I had to remove the needle plate and pull it loose. The very first day. I had never used a sewing machine before in my life and knew nothing about it. I panicked and thought I had broken something. :) Best to get the worst stuff out the way right at the beginning, huh?}

So I finally got it back on and put on an empty bobbin. Then the wheel was sometimes making a weird noise when I was practicing treadling (it hadn't done that before I changed the bobbin). I thought maybe I had put the whorl back on the wrong way, so I switched it. It didn't make the noise anymore, but now the whorl was right up against the bobbin and so the yarn was getting twist but wouldn't wind on. I had a few stressful moments before I realized why it wasn't winding on. I swapped back the whorl to the way it was before, and everything clicked. It wasn't making the noise anymore and was winding on properly.

Spinning on a wheel is fun! I have to admit it's quicker than a spindle (you don't have to stop and wind the yarn on manually) and I can draft quicker because I don't have to be glancing at my spindle to make sure it's still going in the right direction.

I practiced with a tiny bit of BFL roving I had, and then I decided to ply these two singles that I had spun on my spindle months ago. It's not very much at all, but I was going to practice plying with them anyway, so I might as well practice with my wheel. :) I think of this as Slytherin yarn...are these their colors? Anyway, these are the exact colors on the hardcover edition of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."


The wheel came with the matching stool, a lazy kate (see below), niddy noddy, orifice hook, four bobbins, distaff, a spinning book, and approx. 8 ounces of fiber. So many awesome accessories! I am probably most excited about the niddy noddy, to be honest. I've been using the back of a kitchen chair to wrap my skeins, so I'm thrilled to have the proper tool now. :)


Name and date of its creation (May 19, 1992) on the bottom of the wheel. It's one year, one month, and two days younger than me. :) And how ironic that I got the wheel the day before it was 21 years old!

 
The lazy kate and three of the bobbins. Please excuse the toilet paper roll (that's my handywork :). And I didn't spin that dark yarn- the previous owner did.
 

It seems a common thing for people to name their spinning wheel. I have never named my sewing machine or camera or things that other people sometimes do. {I did name my dress form, and I name dolls that I sew. I guess because they're more human-like, so it seems wrong not to name them? :)} So I'm debating about naming my wheel. I saw online where one lady named hers Aurora, which was perfect for a spinning wheel! Maybe I should name mine Rumpelstiltskin. Rump for short. Just kidding! :) But there is something wonderfully fairytale-ish about an old-fashioned wheel like this, especially compared to the modern looking ones.

Okay, I'm done for now. But I'm sure you'll be seeing and hearing about my wheel again quite soon, because I'm already smitten with it. :)

Until next time,

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! I'm so happy for you! I've always wanted a spinning wheel - my brother bought fiancée (now wife), a spinning wheel as a wedding present :) I'm so glad you have one!

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  2. Ooh, it's lovely! I love all of the accessories that came with it!
    God brought me my spinning wheel, too. There is no way I could have afforded one either, but a friend had one that had been her mothers and she basically gave it to me (for a very, very reasonable price). She's a Clemes & Clemes from 1974, and I named her Lucy. :)
    I love spinning so much. It's so relaxing and soothing...once you get all of the weird noises and the whorl and tension and everything smoothed out. ;)

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