Thursday, September 16, 2010

(almost) speechless with Joy

Remember yesterday I said I might have another excitement to share? Well, say hello to my new best friend:

(and excuse me while I dance around the room for a moment.)

It's all very sudden, as is true for most of my irresponsible purchases. I started yesterday in the usual way - ignoring the dishes and flipping through various favourite web sites and blogs - and then I spotted a posting of a little-used spinning wheel for sale at a price significantly lower than retail.

Leaving aside the timing of this, just days after I bought an insane amount of fiber it would take me months of dedicated spindling to get through, it so happens that the model offered, the Ashford Joy with a single treadle, is the exact one I had settled on as the wheel I would buy if I could justify one.

According to my research on this question, here's how you're supposed to decide on a spinning wheel: try out as many wheels as you can because they are all different and some are a better ergonomic fit for you personally or, alternatively, may prevent you from spinning the size of yarn you had in mind, etc. Also, think about what you want to do with it - will you travel with it? will you spin six hours a day making yarn for sale? will it sit out in your living room or be stored when not in use?

My criteria are so limiting, I didn't bother with any of that.

I needed something that's small when in use and smaller when it's tucked away into a closet, ideally something a friend already uses so I can get advice quickly.


Since Kathleen Taylor is the only longtime spinner I know who works regularly on a wheel, and since she happily uses the very compact Ashford Joy with a single treadle, I decided this would (simply have to) be the perfect wheel for me in every way, assuming I ever stumbled across a used one. I would have to go without new yarn and fiber for a long time to spring for new, and I don't quite know whether I could cope with that. Springs might start flying out of my ears or something.

So most of yesterday went to scurrying around the house waiting to hear whether somebody else had leapt on this offer before me, and then figuring out how to get to it to collect it, and then collecting it.

Once I had it I decided I might as well go for broke, more literally than is good for me, and choose some special fiber to celebrate it. And of all the fiber I've spun on the spindle, my favourite has been hand-dyed merino from Fleece Artist, which fortunately my favourite closest LYS, The Naked Sheep, keeps in stock. I love my Soaker socks-in-progress so much I went with a similar colourway.

I'm not spinning with that yet - I'm sticking with some super inexpensive undyed wool it's okay to make mistakes with. And believe me, I will be making them. I still haven't figured out how to get the fiber to twist before it gets onto the bobbin thingy, though after I put the wheel away last night Kathi explained it has something to do with just not letting go of the fiber till it's twisted (why didn't I think of that?)

Okay, so this experiment might possibly go horribly wrong and I might be one of those rare people who haven't got the knack for a wheel. But maybe it won't. And even if I don't get to eat out for two or three months - I've got my own spinning wheel to find out with. Hurrah!


Unknown said...

Congratulations! It's surely is beautiful. Can't wait to hear your reviews of it. I'd love to learn to spin. Maybe one day...

Mary Keenan said...

Start with a spindle! It's so cheap that way, and you learn the vitals of drafting out the fiber (while finding out whether it's really your thing or not.)

Kathleen Taylor said...

Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!! She's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

WAY to GO !!! So excited for you! And so jealous ;-) (Ilona aka hert)

NessaKnits said...

You enjoy your purchase. And the spirit of triumph!

heklica said...

When I first learned the English word 'contraption', I thought I'd never have a chance to use it. I was wrong! :) I'm sure a lot of beauty is bound to come out of something so complicated.