Let the spinning wheel turn!
Hmmm, I started spinning years (well a few decades to be precise) ago, and there weren’t many choices out there for wheels, at least ones that I could afford. I really started spinning because I was too cheap to buy wool yarn, and couldn’t stand knitting with anything else. I am a yarn snob, after all.
So for a long time all I had was a workhorse of an Ashford traditional wheel. Stained it walnut and spun on it until the wheel warped. And then the flood gates opened. New wheel, what’ll I get???? Suddenly there were more options! So I bought a Louet S-15 (the kit wheel version of the S-10) and spun on that for a while. thoughts??? Irish tension is weird and aptly named, you almost have to be high on poteen to get the tension just right. Well that wheel managed to stick around for a few years before I discovered that you couldn’t spin thin on it. Once you’ve been spinning for a while the question arises “How thin can I spin?” and the ole S-15 wasn’t helping me reach my maximum potential. So …. what next?
On a trip to Duluth to visit my son I stopped at a nice little shop near Detroit, and experienced the “Cadillac of wheels” a Schacht double treadle Matchless — to the tune of around $800 (at the time). That’s a lot of money! So, naturally, I ordered one, and sold yet another wheel on Ebay (thank God for ebay)
I can tell you, you can spin THIN on a Matchless. But, alas, it was the noisiest wheel I had ever spun on! Clack, clack, clack-clackity-clack! I had to turn the T.V. up so loud that my husband was beginning to think I had a hearing problem. It had a 3 year warranty, and I put up with the noise for about 2, and then sent the entire flyer assembly back to the manufacturer for a good ole “look see”. They did not find anything wrong — oh well, EBAY — here we come. Sold yet another wheel.
What next??? — a good friend and spinner suggested that I might like the Majacraft Rose — it even was less expensive than my noisy Cadillac — so sign unseen, and with out a test drive, I sent for the Rose. No finishing to do, just put it together, give it just a spot of oil, and oh baby — oh baby, we’re talking smooth, quiet, EASY to treadle (even with those really high ratios). Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven…..I went absolutely BANANAS — started visiting spinning/fiber shops, collecting roving from Wisconson, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon — started visiting fiber festivals, alpaca, angora … the small fiber room grew to an entire 3rd floor of the house.
And, Of COURSE — I wanted to share my joy. Embarking on a part time career of spinning teacher at a local yarn store, I soon managed to corrupt quite a few fiber fanatics and turn them into SPINNERS!! Earning more income, I realized that I should have a few rental wheels — using my trusty Internet connection I sent for an Ashford Traditional kit, finished it, and sent for an Asford Traveller kit — finished that too. I did rent them out for a few months and then sold them to students. THEN I began to think “wouldn’t it be nice to have another wheel? ” since I had so much fiber, I could have several projects going at once, Ohhh and yes — I should have a few drop spindles too, just in case someone wanted to learn spinning with a drop spindle. Do you SEE where this is going???? Soon I had 4 drop spindles, was drop spindling to my hearts content, even managing to teach a few would be drop spindlers. ….. Then I decided — “Electronic Spinner” — that would be good for really large projects, right — yes right. voila — new spinning device in the house.
But I’m not quite finished, I was teaching more, earning more, and realized that I needed a lightweight, very portable spinning wheel — Yep — I got a Louet Victoria (we call her “vicky”) — all thanks to my students taking lessons and buying roving that I hand painted. Sadly, though, I would lose out on new students because I no longer had rental wheels. ACCIDENTALLY — I noticed someone selling a finished Asford Traditional for the bargain basement price of $225 — snapped that up, and someone else was selling a Louet S-10 for $280 — snagged that too. I’m done, right???
Nope — just happened to see a hitchhiker wheel all dooded up with a farm scene — what a cool little wheel!!! Bet I could spin in the car while Lou is driving (we have an Element) — guess what I’m getting for Christmas????
What goes up must come down
spinning wheel got to go round
Talking about your troubles it’s a crying sin
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel spin
Did you find a directing sign
on the straight and narrow highway?
Would you mind a reflecting sign
Just let it shine within your mind
And show you the colours that are real
Someone is waiting just for you
spinning wheel is spinning true
Drop all your troubles, by the river side
Catch a painted pony
On the spinning wheel ride