From whorl to wheel

I’m working my way – slowly – through a load of laceweight on my (only) spindle.

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This single – the first 25g – has taken me three months. Ah, actually, now that I look back on the blog I see that I’d finished the first 12.5g of this single three months ago… it’s been an exceptional three months, though.

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I’ve got a-little-tiny-bit-further-than-this-far into the next single. And I want to spin some heavier weight yarn – not least for the satisfaction of seeing some quick results from somewhere, with the possible side effect of bolstering my patience with the laceweight.

Initially I’d been toying with the idea of splurging a little cash on a new spindle, so I could start something heavier (and theoretically, quicker) – and then a tiny, sensible voice in the back of my head suggested I have a go at cracking on and mastering having a play with the wheel I bought in September. (That’s the first half of that laceweight at the bottom of that post in the link.)

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Mr. Snowman agreed.

So, I fixed the footman back on (a small person had dismantled it, and not in a good way – the screw and plasticky bit were still attached to the wheel, yikes), and off I went. Now when I first assembled the wheel and had a tentative exploration of its bits and pieces, I just couldn’t get my head round how it worked at all – I’m still not entirely sure, in fact. I could see how it wound on, but I couldn’t fathom how the twist went in.

There may have been a little Luddite-tinted mistrust going on.

So I ended up just tying a bit of cheapy acrylic onto the little loop on the bobbin, and treadling, and watching to see if anything happened to it other than it being pulled onto the bobbin. And sure enough, it did. Twisty twisty.

Heartened by this, I fetched a bag of fluff, attached it to my enormous acrylic leader, and off I went. And this is the result, so far –

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Close-up it’s quite fuzzy looking, and not that even. I thought I’d picked a bag of BFL from bluefaced.com out of the cupboard, but after a couple of minutes I could tell that it was the Shetland I bought from them – it’s certainly not as smooth as BFL, there’s odd coarser areas in the roving every now and then. Still nice to spin with, though. And blimey, the Louet just eats it up.

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I’m going to have to get my Supercook dyes out again though, or maybe chase up some Kool-Aid. Much as I appreciate the charm of fibre in its natural state, right now I want to see some colour – put it down to February whiteouts. Plus, I fancy getting some spangly angelina fibre, and that seems to be best suited to combining with something a bit more lively…

…I might have to spend a little pocket money on some carders, instead of a spindle.

I know that learning to spin with the spindle first has helped me in all kinds of ways as a beginning wheel spinner, but I can tell there’s a lot there that’s wheel specific that’ll come with practice, and hopefully a few hints from other spinners. There’s a WSD guild meets quite close by here, but according to the info I found they don’t meet up in the winter – still, there’s not a whole lot of that left, and it’ll give me some valuable time to practice (and trawl youtube and ravelry).

I don’t think this new string to my bow will cut down on the amount of spindle spinning I do – I love its portability, and the fact that I can spin in the bathroom while my littlest splashes about in the shower… or that I can spin in her presence at all without being marauded. She’s totally fascinated and delighted by the wheel, I can’t really think about using it while she’s in the room.

Speaking of the cold weather, the wildlife just keeps on coming – a couple of weeks ago we had a buzzard on the back fence, and now there’s a greater spotted woodpecker regularly visiting regularly for the fat balls we hang up for the birds. He’s costing me a fortune in lard and seed, but he’s worth it.

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The tawny owls are back in the woods too – I heard them the other night, for the first time in weeks.

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