02 August 2010

introducing the spinning wheel

This is Caitlin. I briefly posted yesterday, mostly to get pictures I could put up on Ravelry while I was asking a tech question. But here she is, in the living room, by the balcony.

And here she is in the spare bedroom/study/storage room/place where all the craft junk ends up. She has an eighteen-inch flywheel, and stands, at the tallest, about 35 inches. If you don't count the bit that looks like a distaff (I don't know if it is or if it's just meant to be decorative), she's somewhere between 28-30 inches tall.

According to my research, Caitlin is a bobbin-lead spinning wheel. There is no marking visible on the wheel, so I don't know where she was made. I do know that she was a fairly decent bargain, as most spinning wheels I've seen on eBay have been over twice what this was and we only had to replace the hooks on the flyer assembly. Also I need to buy a washer or two tomorrow because the bobbin slides forward a tad and then the fibre wraps around the spindle shaft. Other than that, she needed cleaning, and the spindle shaft had to be twisted back to its proper position so the hole for the orifice was actually visible. That's it.

I wasn't actually in the market for a spinning wheel, given how expensive they usually are. The last time I'd seen a used one for sale locally, it was at an antique shop, and then it was a couple hundred bucks. It was very pretty, but it would have been impractical at the time, and I don't even know if it was in working order. I was pretty happy with my drop spindles, although I wasn't really looking forward to spinning up some beautiful blue merino I bought at Christmas on my spindle, given that there was a decent amount of it. I haven't been doing much spinning over the last few months, but I'm slowly making my way through some purple merino using my top-whorl spindle. I love spinning but between school and moving and everything else, it's been easier to shelve it for a while and just knit.

J. dropped by Salvation Army on his way home from the produce store on Saturday, noticed the spinning wheel, and told me about it when he got home. We did the practical "can we afford it?" bit before I went to look at it, then we bought it and brought it home. I've been practicing treadling, and I started trying to spin when I ran into the problem of the bobbin moving a bit. That'll be fixed tomorrow and then I can practice properly. I have some practice wool I bought last year and there was a decent amount left over from my practicing with it on the drop spindle.

My efforts so far have not been encouraging, as coordinating treadling and handling the fiber is not as easy as it looks. I'm so used to the vertical aspect of spindling that feeding the fiber in horizontally feels very strange. A decent amount of practice should fix that, though.

In the meantime, it is getting late. Good night!

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