After two months of practicing on drop spindles, this weekend I had the opportunity to try my first spinning wheel.
It’s a Louet S75, borrowed from a kind friend who is looking to find it a new owner.
Boy, am I a sucker.
My friend must have known that once I got my hands on my first wheel I would fall in love. It’s like a first boy friend. A first kiss. There might be a better wheel for me out there, but after the thrill of touching this one, it’s hard to imagine feeling this way about any other wheel.
I wasn’t intending to purchase the first wheel that came along…
Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more.
The first hour or two with Willie Wheelie were very frustrating. He didn’t want to play nice and kept jerking the yarn out of my hands. Not coy. More like a 10-year-old crush punching me on the arm and running away.
All the technique I learned using a drop spindle flew out of my head. Heck with the 10-year-old crush metaphor. It was like trying to lasso a very small weasel.
Capturing the weasel.
Eventually, I figured out how to adjust the wheel so that I could capture the weasel. Then the drop spindle technique started to come back. I was able to spin in short spurts.
The treadles gave me trouble for a while. It’s very difficult to pay attention to your feet, hands and yarn at the same time. I was continually snapping the yarn and letting the weasel off the leash. When that happened, the weasel was very hard to harness again. I ended up with a pile of discarded yarn scraps that looked like this:
Eventually I figured out that I needed to treadle backward a bit to get to a more stable bit of the spun fiber, before attempting to treadle forward again.
I was beginning to learn its wily tricks.
After about three hours I ended up with a bobbin full of yarn that looked like this:
This morning I got up at 8:30 and sat down to spin with renewed vigor. After yesterday’s practice, everything went much more smoothly. Either the weasel was tired and slow or I was smarter and faster. After two or three more hours I had a second bobbin that looked like this:
Spinning on a deadline
Why did I feel compelled to get all this spinning done right away? Other than the fact that I tend to get obsessed with pretty new toys like this?
Next weekend I’m attending a spinning party. There will be lots of more experienced spinners there. I’m going to get someone to teach me how to ply. Who knows, I might get some usable 2-ply out of this endeavor.