Summer’s End (or how to justify a new spinning wheel)

How has your Summer been? Filled with sunshine and lollipops or missle and midges? We’ve had a little of both here but I am very much looking forward to the evenings draw in and cosying up with some spinning or knitting.

Before then however, we have the very first Weaving Heart Retreat next weekend; a few women who follow my work are coming up to camp, play with fibre and eat cake. What could be lovelier? I will blog more about it afterwards but we will be doing some warp dyeing, drop spindling and various other things depending on how the mood takes us.

As well as preparing for that I have lots to tell you and may actually need another blog later in the week to share the exciting project currently on Ollie, the big loom.

OK, enough of the procrastination, I’ll get to what I’d actually ‘like’ to tell you (the quotation marks indicate slight embarrassment). I have discovered a new dealer for Schacht in Scotland, near Inverness no less. This could be a very bad thing and I contacted them about the possibility of ordering a new wheel (see I told you). They are Lochness Spindle and a couple who both love spinning and all things fibrery (is that a word?!?) so set up shop a couple of months ago. I’ve been thinking about the Schacht Reeves wheel for a while; it’s a saxony wheel (think traditional Cinderella-type wheel) and various makers produce them but Schacht are the only ones to offer a right hand flyer. As I am left handed this is much better for me and luckily, Olga from Lochness Spindle has one I could test drive. We had a trip to Inverness yesterday and the Schacht Reeves is the smoothest thing I’ve ever spun on. I’ve read reports of how it ‘spins itself’ blah blah and I understand that a little now. Oh dear, watch this space, it gets a bit predictable doesn’t it?

Now regular readers will be aware I have managed to procure not just one but two new wheels already this year, as well as a Hansen MiniSpinner (did I tell you about that?) for plying. Surely this would be enough? It would seem not. Things have changed quite a lot since my beautiful Matchless arrived and I am regularly spinning wefts for my weaving; most recently over 1600m of lace weight for the project mentioned above. It’s becoming one of my ‘things’ which is how I’m justifying a new wheel. My matchless is my workhorse, is a dream to treadle and has certainly taken my spinning to the next level as longdraw in double drive is now my default drafting and spinning method. The ladybug is the teaching wheel; she’s solid and can take the odd bump so easy to transport. I have her set up in scotch tension for plying and the bobbins are interchangeable with the matchless.

The Hansen has proved invaluable for plying recently; anyone who has ever tried to ply the amounts of yarn I’ve been producing will appreciate this. I don’t actually like the electric part and I can’t see myself ever spinning on it but for plying while lying back watching some TV it’s great.

So where would a new wheel fit in? We certainly can’t afford it but after having tried one, I can see how it is much easier for lace weight and it has a wider ranger of ratios, up to 30:1 if I use the super fast whorl. As my own boss I like to provide my workforce (me) with good tools. I believe you do a better job with better equipment. So there you have it. I’m very skilled in justification.

I’ve been crocheting some too. Lucy of Attic 24 released a new blanket pattern last week with the prettiest colours ever, so down went the Bohus Cardi (to be honest, that’s getting veeery tedious with it’s acres and acres of stocking stitch) and out came the crochet hook. It’s made from lots (and lots) of granny squares and I’ve completed one row so far. Let’s see how long it takes until this is relegated to the WIP drawers; they are rather full right now, I really do need to start actually finishing something soon.

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