Friday, September 05, 2008

Update on that spinning thing

Um, so, I told you all I bought a spinning wheel, right? I can't really explain it. I went to Midwest Folk and Fiber Festival planning to browse, maybe pick up a skein of handspun or two. I really wasn't expecting to buy a wheel. It's not like I don't have a wheel, it's beautiful. It's just also a big pain to work on, because it was definitely not made for a beginner. See, the foot pedal likes to fall off from the wheel itself, and the drive band confuses me a lot.
So I met these cool people from spinundrum , sitting there with their spiffy Hitchhiker wheels,
and they talked me into trying it. I played with it for a bit, and I started to get the hang of it. I thought it would be a great way to learn, especially because the wheel is small and portable - it even came with its own tote bag. I should get some better pictures later, but here it is with some pretty blue wool I'm spinning.

As you can see, it has a cute little foot-shaped pedal. The drive is friction based, which means it's all simple points of connection. You pump the pedal, and it turns that big wheel. The big wheel turns a little black gear, the gear spins the flyer that holds the yarn. It's all very straightforward, and just a bit noisy. It's not enough to bother me, but I've read that it's noisier than other wheels.
Naturally, I went crazy right away. I had bought two bats of roving from the sellers, one cotton candy colored bat, and one tonal red with a little bit of gold sparkle. I spun the cotton candy first.
It can only really be described as beginner's handspun. It's not so much thick and thin as thick and thicker. But I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt.
Here it is sitting on the spare bobbins. The bobbins are apparently interchangeable with the Ashford Joy, so finding more shouldn't be a problem. I'm going to have to get some more, because three just isn't enough.

So I have about 60 yards of very bulky, very random yarn. I'm not sure what to do with it. It's about enough for a hat or a small clutch. I'm leaning towards hat, but I might just pet it and love it and call it George for a while.

Here it is with my couch. This picture shows the texture pretty well.

And here it is with the Spanish Inquisition....I mean, with Duncan. It's not a great picture of the yarn, but we always need gratiutious cat pictures.

Of course, I couldn't stop there. No, that would be sane. I had to immediately begin on the other bat I bought (say that three times fast) and spun it up within a day or two. I am so incredibly happy with this yarn. I would buy this yarn if I saw it in a shop. It's so very me, it's irresistable.

I managed to spin a lot more thinly and consistently this time. I couldn't believe how much I improved from one yarn to the other.

Oh, and the wheel also came with a PVC knitty knoddy. The knitty knoddy is a way to estimate the yardage of the yarn, and also to put it into a nice skein. The advantage to the PVC is that you can wash the yarn to set the twist (don't think too hard about that, it just needs to be done) and you never have to take it off the knoddy. Sure, the wood ones are a lot prettier, but this is just convienient.
I think this is about 80 - 90 yards of this yarn, and it's probably about an aran weight. I am utterly in love with it, and can't imagine anything special enough to make out of it.
As you can tell from the first picture, you can see I started spinning some pretty teal blue wool as well. I'm done with a lot of the spinning the first part of it, but it's also going to take a while to ply, and I'm running out of bobbin room. I'll get to it though. I'm sure it's going to be something for my mom, because it's exactly her color.
I am spinning some white and purple wool on my other wheel, which is going to go a lot better now that I've got the hang of the whole spinning thing. Besides that, the only fiber I had left was some alpaca. Apparently alpaca is just a bit trickier than wool, so I'm going to hold off on that for now. I picked up two more things (I'm not sure what to call them. One is in a bag, the other is in a ball) of roving at Stitches - one is firey oranges, reds and yellows, a blend of wool and silk, and the other is grey wool with bits of recycled sari silk fiber thrown in. I'm looking forward to those. I guess that means I better get working on the first stuff


Anonymous said...

So glad to "see and read" your update on that spinning thing. It looks complicated, but I think the main idea would be to control the roving ( I guess this is right) in order to control the consistancy.

Good luck and keep us informed.
Enjoy Carol

DK said...