Monday, June 2, 2008

I Got a Wheel! I Got a Wheel!

I have been very interested in trying out a Babe wheel. They are PVC and a good deal less expensive than most wheels. The closest wood wheel in price I found was a Fricke that Cathyz from Ravelry mentioned to me. The S-160 was still around $75 more than the Babe. Mind you, the Fricke seems like a great wheel. But I really didn't want to spend too much given I am new at this. I don't honestly know if I will fall in love with spinning or not. So I figured as long as the Babe wheel worked well, that is what mattered most.

On Sunday, I went to meet with the woman who is listed on the Babe site as a dealer. She is this sweet woman named Sherry. Unfortunately, she had to close the business for personal reasons. But she was willing to have me come into her home to try out the Babe Double Treadle Production wheel she had. She was so accommodating and kind about it.

She showed me her wheels. She has 11! She did explain some were her daughter's who doesn't have the space currently. But still. Wow. There were some amazing pieces including pendulum and walking wheels. Amazing.

She had me try treadling on the Babe Double Treadle Production wheel as that is what I came to see. I tried it in both directions to seeing how I liked the feel of the wheel. She seemed impressed that I continued to treadle as she introduced me to her husband. The wheel moved very easily and I found I was able to switch directions. It felt good. She suggested I should practice treadling when watching tv and such to get a good feel for it.

She then offered me some fiber to try out on the wheel. It was brown/grey & pretty sticky with lots of crimp. I forgot to ask what it was, but my guess would be Romney as it was similar to the Romney I have. And why give a newbie the good stuff? *laugh*

So we are talking and she says something about if I like to take it home. *blink* I really thought I would be ordering it through her. Not leaving with the one she had. So I asked her what she wanted for it. It was around $75 less than it would have been new! And I would have it that very day.

Of course I said yes!

Isn't it lovely?

Generated by Flickr Album Maker

Okay. So for most traditionalists, it isn't lovely. But it is lovely to me!

I actually sorta like it being a geek. It seems very creative to use PVC and wheelchair wheels for this. It is super light. Also since it isn't wood, I don't have to stress about humidity changes and such. Mind you the apartment is pretty dry, but you never know what will come in the future with the places I live.

More details about this wheel:

Sherry was so sweet about what I was producing. She kept saying it was "designer yarn" with all the slubs, plus the irregular thickness. *chuckle* I am definitely overspinning the fiber which is a super common beginner's problem. It is definitely not pretty stuff. But hey, I am learning.

She also gave be some fiber to take home with me. It is marked Finn. But of course did I use that? Nope. I used some roving that I picked up at the Yarn Tree. (More about that later.)

So here is a picture of my first spinning wheel singles!

Generated by Flickr Album Maker

It isn't ideal. But hey, I still like it. I don't know what I will do with it yet. But I am hoping to figure that out. *crosses fingers*

CathyZ from Ravelry mentioned that I could ply with some thread. That way it would give the strength of plying without adding more thickness as another ply would. There is a article about doing that. Though that does say it is a more advanced technique and I should be good at plying before trying it. Though that may not stop me from trying. *laugh*

Just gotta say again. "I have a wheel!" I kept saying that all the way home in the car with my husband. He was so good natured about it. He said it was fun the way I was bouncing! I was just sooo excited. *grin*

I also wanted to mention my trip to the Yarn Tree on Thursday. *sighs happily* Another great recommendation from CathyZ. She is taking classes there (which I would love to do some day). She suggested I could go there to get different fibers and see what I enjoy spinning with and what works best for me.

Of course, I went saying I would just pick up an ounce or two of 3-4 different things. Just enough to test. Well... I did end up with 4 different types of roving & a beautifully colored silk hankie. *sigh* There was a colored roving that was only $2 an ounce so I decided to pick up 4 oz with the hopes that I could use that to create enough yarn to create something I can knit.

I also got a Kundert butternut spindle. I really didn't like the spindle I got from the kit from Ebay. I was struggling with it a lot and felt it really wasn't good about maintaining a spin. So I decided to splurge and get a new spindle. I am sooooo glad I did. It really makes a huge difference. The one I got spins longer without as much effort.

I spent a good deal of time on Friday trying some of the fibers I got. I decided to try the Kona merino/mohair blend I got. It was beautiful to work with. *sigh* I am definitely getting some more of that. Of course, I didn't draft it out enough so I ended up with the thick/thin issue again. But it is better.

I think then I tried the pencil roving that CathyZ gave me. It is still too thick but it is definitely better. It really helped that it was drafted out already.

Then I tried...*sighs happily* the silk hankie. Oh man. I wish I could spin this stuff all the time. The fibers are super long so I could pull it way out and make it thinner than anything else I had spun. So I finally got some much thinner yarn. Though again, it is definitely bumpy. But there is definitely improvement. I wish I could spin that stuff forever. But at $17 for the 1 oz hankie I bought, I am thinking I need to rethink that. *laugh* I kinda knew I would love that. I adore pretty much anything silk.

So here is a pic of my singles so far:

My First Handspun Singles

I am so happy.

Just gotta say it again... "I Got A Wheel!" *grin*


Jamie said...

WOOT! A wheel! I'm so excited for you! I agree that the Babe is really cool & how awesome that you got to take one right away!

I'm impressed at your willingness to just jump in on all that different fiber. I'm way too cautious, but I'll get there. (I think I'm too nervous about getting addicted to the expensive stuff!)

Congrats again! Enjoy!

Alpaca Granny said...

Congratulations!!!! I know just how you feel.
If you will send me your address, I will send you a bit of alpaca roving to try.

Michele / akkasha said...

I am sure you could try new fibers Jamie. I bet they would be great. Though you are right about the price of some of them. I really shouldn't have gotten hooked on silk hankies! *laugh* But I hope I can buy some undyed for less. *crosses fingers*

Thanks Maple! You are so sweet! I can't wait to try your fibers. Though I know it is gonna get me hooked! I love alpaca. *sigh*