Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Am Sold

The spinning wheel had me at 70 yards, spun and plied, in four hours.

It would have taken me a week to spin that much on a spindle. Granted, it would have been substantially more even, but I expect that will change with practice. And in spots it is barely plied--but it is yarn.

I really thought I was a spindle girl. I am clumsy and careless, so I tend to be leery of tools that move fast. You have less control over their actions, and if a finger gets in the way, uh oh. Even a sewing machine is dangerous to me--I almost sewed over my finger once because I wasn't paying attention. We don't have power tools in our house; we have 3 handsaws, a crank-driven hand-drill, perfectly ordinary screwdrivers and non-electric rachet sets. I feel like an idiot every time I get a handsaw out to do something, and people laugh at the drill, but at least I know how to use them and I'm unlikely to lose a body part. I need to go sssllloooowww.

But the only thing endangered with a wheel is your nice fluffy soft wool, soon to be mangled, and you can readily control the speed with your foot! (Yeah, I know, the sewing machine too, but it's really not the same.)

I love how everything on Odette is wood, metal or string. String! Somehow I expected that by now, in our planet's development, maybe spinning wheel drive belts would be made out of plastic or rubber. But no, it's pretty much the same wheel our foremothers used. It's like technology ground to a halt.

And yet, it still produces. It is awesome.

There's just one problem: my wrists did hurt after the first day (Melanie had warned me that might happen).

It's possible that I just overdid it in my enthusiasm for wheel-spinning, but it's also possible that I need to look at how I'm drafting and tweak it some. I started trying to learn the long draw (as described here (pdf)), thinking it might help, but so far I have found it challenging to control the draft that way--mostly my singles have been veering toward the too-thin rather than the too-thick. I pull against the yarn, and presto! I pull too hard and the yarn becomes a thread. My wrists do hurt less, though.

I have spun up the beginner's wool Melanie gave me already, and started in on some beginner's wool I ordered from Mielke's Farm. The skein above is a combination of the two. Last night I also started in on some of the red roving I bought at Mind's Eye, because I have four bobbins, why not? When you have two spindles, having four bobbins is an unimaginable luxury.

Just like spinning 70 yards in four hours (for me, at least!)

*I would take a picture of Odette in her foster home (my living room) but the light is too dark for the camera phone :(


melanie said...

eeeee hee hee heee!!! I'm so happy you and Odette are getting along. I have to say, she took to you much faster than to me. Sore wrists, yes, how are your legs??

You have her at least for the next 6 months, so no need to overdo it in the first week!

Laurie said...

Looks good! I found the wheel so much more controllable than the spindle. The learning curve is a quick one, especially if you spend that kind of time at it.

If you find you are fighting the drafting, you are probably letting twist into the back hand. Are you brnging Odette on Sunday?

margene said...

There is a spindle class at the new shop in town in Feb. I think I'll sign up.

claudia said...

Whatever it is, we can fix it.

Cassie said...

I love my spindles, but in some ways the wheel is actually less work and more relaxing - or maybe just more productive and therefore more satisfying. Sounds like you're hooked. ;-)

julia fc said...

Hey, Amesbury's the next town over from me! oh, last post. But hey, spinning on a wheel is much more fun at first than a spindle, if you ask me. I like the spindle better now than I did, after spinning on a wheel for almost two years. Great job!

Sneaksleep said...

Finally! Someone else who is as scared of sewing machines as I am! I even own some power tools, but for some reason I am petrified of sewing machines. Nice meeting you in person at Claudia's!

mf said...

I was bummed I couldn't make it to Claudias,, maybe next time, sounds like you had a great time!
Great Job on the yarn!! Congrats!! Now when are you getting a wheel?? ;o)))