Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spinning on a rented wheel

The rental spinning wheel at Lettuce Knit finally became available so yesterday Nyron drove to work so that we could pick it up and take it home. I've rented it for 2 weeks, so that should give me plenty of time to practice.

My initial concern was that this Ashford Joy would give me as much hassle as the Ashford Kiwi that was set up for the class. Of the 3 wheels that we got to try out, the Ashfor Kiwi and I did not get along right from the start and when I sat down at the Joy last night I saw right away that it took after its cousin wheel. I found it really hard to get the wheel spinning and then once I did It would start going in the wrong direction with no warning. After half an hour that included much swearing I finally gave up and settled down to watch CSI: Miami and do some knitting, which never fights back.

Towards the end of the night Nyron, who'd been asleep on the couch since we finished dinner, got up and asked me to show him how it worked. This helped calm me down and he was able to watch objectively and see what was making the wheel suddenly stop turning or turn in the wrong direction. The wheels we learned on were all 2-treadle wheels and the Joy only has one, so the spinner can't rely on being able to use the push of the other treadle to carry it over the apex of the wheel. With a single treadle, you have to get enough momentum in one push to carry it over, and I wasn't getting it. This was causing the wheel to halt before it got going, or to keep its momentum going in the same direction once I did. This is good for me to know; I don't like single-treadle wheels. :)

Of course, we only figured this out at bedtime, so I didn't have a chance to work on it more, but I got up early this morning (see how dedicated I am!) and spun for a half hour before work, filling the rest of the bobbin I started last night. I'll fill the second bobbin when I get home tonight and maybe even get them plied. I'm really just aiming for making yarn that is knitable at this point, which my attempts in class did not accomplish. I feel pretty good about this so far. The cost of the lesson included $25 in roving so I made sure to get braids of different fibres so that I could have some diversity in my practice. I plan on using all the skeins from the different types of fibre to knit a plain garter stitch scarf for myself. I think it'll be a great way to showcase my early life as a spinner and the colours I picked should look very interesting together. The yarn is certainly slubby enough that even simple garter stitch will have some interest and texture. Pictures to follow.

Until next we knit!



At 6:30 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like you had a ... fun (?) evening! That is interesting to know about single treadle wheeels ... I am going spinning on Tuesday, and will likely be test driving a few wheels then, and will keep that in mind if I get frustrated. Its good that you stuck with it, and have the plan to make a scarf with the yarn ... nice way to recall your beginnings as a wheel spinner.

What colours are you spinning?

Your SP11 Pal


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