I had an amazing time at Maryland Sheep & Wool.
It is my first fiber festival in years. I went to MD S&W in 2010 when my daughter was under a year. So five years to be exact!
I went with a mission. I wanted a new wheel.
I got my Babe wheel in June of 2008. Wow. I have been spinning for almost seven years. Kinda hard to believe. Some times more than others, but still.
While I adore my Babe, I am feeling like the Irish tension is holding me back a bit. It is hard to spin very thin. Since the bobbin is pulling the yarn, it was really hard to get it to get super fine.
Again, could be me & not the wheel. But after so many years with it, I was feeling it was time for a new wheel.
So I had been researching. Spreadsheets. Info about the ratio, drive type, prices, materials, you name it.
I had a list of wheels I really wanted to test drive. Along with some that really just wouldn't work for me (too little room to grow, out of my price range, etc..)
I went to a yarn shop about an hour away to test out wheels. Myra at Woolbearers was so sweet. It is a terrific store. I wish it was around the corner & not an hour away.
They had four for sale & the owner had one of hers she was willing to let me test out. Two of the wheels, the Ashford Traditional & Louet S17 were both single treadle. So they were out right off the bat.
I had been looking at the Schacht Ladybug for ages. But I hadn't gotten to try one out. The other double treadle was the Ashford Kiwi.
Myra had her Matchless which she graciously offered to let me try. But I knew it was really bad idea to test drive it! It was soooo out of my price range.
So I tested the Ladybug first. It sang to me. I was IN LOVE!
I did try the Kiwi for about 30 seconds. But after the Ladybug, there was no way I was going to get that. (Also, it is also kinda limited. A good starter wheel. But I already have my Babe... So I needed to grow.)
I *almost* tried the Matchless as it was in double drive & the Ladybug was in Scotch. I wanted to see the difference in the feel of the drive systems. The Ladybug can do both. But I just knew it was a Bad Idea TM! So I didn't do it.
It was so hard not to walk out with the Ladybug... But I knew Maryland Sheep & Wool was the following weekend. And I would regret it if I tested out wheels & fell in love with a different wheel. So I waited.
I confess that I also wasn't thrilled that the floor model was the same price as the new one from the Woolery. It is my understanding that the Ladybug was used for beginner classes & such. That makes me a bit nervous honestly... Mind you, my Babe was used for spinning classes. But it was half the price of a new model. So it was worth it to get it.
I kept it in mind that I could go back and get it if I decided I wanted it...
So then it was off to Maryland for the weekend.
I decided to go MD S&W on Saturday. My SIL always goes on Saturdays. I was open to either day. Though I was leaning towards Sunday as it is supposed to be less crowded. However, my SIL told me a trick which I won't share on a public blog. *grin* So we headed off Saturday.
I spent some time walking around. And I have to confess I was really surprised there were only four vendors at MD S&W that even had spinning wheels.
One only had Ashfords *in their boxes.* (They may have had a couple out to test. But given I didn't take to the Kiwi, I wasn't very interested.) Another had a Lendrum Original & the discontinued Kromski Mazurka. Another had the Kiwi & a few others that weren't that appealing to me. (I completed forgot about them until just now since none of their wheels appealed to me.) But Susan's Fiber Shop had a whole bunch to test drive.
The Yarn Barn of Kansas was supposed to be there with a really large booth. But they weren't. No idea what happened. But they might have had more wheels as their website shows a bunch & they had MD S&W deals listed. So perhaps they normally have a bunch. I am not sure honestly. Then I went last time, I wasn't looking at wheels. So I don't know if there were any.
I plunked myself down at the wheels at Susan's booth. They had a lot of different models, including three of the Schachts - the Ladybug, Sidekick & Matchless.
I tried the Sidekick. I just didn't like it. No real reason. But I knew it wasn't my wheel. I avoided the Matchless again. Just knew it was a *terrible* idea to try it. *laugh*
They had the Kromski Fantasia. I have been drooling over it since I first saw it. It is gorgeous. But I tried it. Within seconds, I knew it wasn't my wheel. The treadles weren't right for me. Again, nothing bad, but not right for me.
They had the Kromski Sonata in its bag. The booth owner wasn't there and neither of the people working the booth knew how to set it up. They said I could come back later & perhaps the owner could set it up. A bit disappointing honestly. When I returned later, I was told it hadn't been assembled. So there was no chance of trying it. But the treadles look very similar to the Fantasia. So I don't think I miss anything in not trying it.
I avoided the Majacraft wheels. Beautiful. But out of my price range. So best not to get attached. Though they look like stunning wheels.
Next to the Ladybug sat the Lendrum Original. I really liked the feel of the Lendrum as well. So I went back & forth between for a while.
I decided to wander a bit more. This was in hopes that I could try the Sonata later. And I wanted to check out other places.
I came across the vendor with the Lendrum & the discontinued Kromski Mazurka. Really nice guy. Was kind enough to take the Mazurka down to let me play. It is *gorgeous!*
Though since it was discontinued, I hadn't even put it on my list. The moment he took it down, I suspected it wasn't the wheel for me. It was a single treadle! While testing it out, it landing in my lap *four times* within a few tries. I knew single treadles aren't for me! I push too hard on the treadle. Just not what I need.
The woman at the shop came back to the stall. She told me about how it was a rare find since the wheel was discontinued. I told her it was stunning. I did tell her it wasn't my wheel. But assured her it would find a good home with someone. I really hope it did. I am sure it was user error & not the wheel.
I went back the Susan's booth & went back and forth between the Ladybug & the Lendrum Original again. It was really down to those two.
It was feeling a bit torn until I heard the woman tell someone else the Lendrum was over $900! I thought it was less. My phone was dying or I would have checked the spreadsheet.
But I knew it wasn't that pricey or it won't have been on the list to try. They have it listed for $630!! That is crazy... In hind sight, I am really thinking I must have misheard the woman. It can't have been nearly $300 more! That would be crazy. And I checked their website. Their price is the same as the Woolery.
The woman said that was their last Ladybug.
Before heading down, I had read the Ravelry MD S&W board. There were two people selling used Ladybugs. One was $200 less than new. The other was the same price as new, but it had a Woolee Winder.
So now I was debating if I should get a new one or used. I contacted both people. All the while praying my phone wouldn't die.
The woman with the newer one without the Woolee Winder was terrific. She was so kind. I met her briefly but told her I had scheduled a time to look at the one with the Woolee Winder. She said to just let her know & she would meet up with me later if I wanted. So awesome.
I met with the woman with the one with the Woolee Winder. She was super sweet. She took me to her car & let me sit on the front seat to test the wheel out. It was a bit tough on grass & all. But it was good.
Here she is:
Thing was that with the Woolee Winder, 6 bobbins (3 regular & 3 high speed) and the on board Lazy Kate, it was a great deal. (Doing math on new it would be almost $500 for the add ons alone, not to mention $650 for the wheel.) And I have been tempted by a Woolee Winder since I have heard about it way back in the days of listening to the Lime & Violet podcast, so 2009-2010 maybe...
After spinning with her for only a few days, I can say happily that I adore her. The treadle is sweet & so easy. She is quiet and super responsive. I am already able to spin finer singles than I had been with a lot of effort on the Babe. All in all, an amazing wheel.
And the Woolee Winder is incredible! It is so sweet not having to pause unless I need to adjust something with my spinning. It winds so evenly and easily. Honestly, I think it helps with the quality of my spinning. But I could be imagining that. That could be about the wheel.
I confess that the tiniest part of me wonders if I shouldn't have just gotten a new wheel. But honestly, I wouldn't have gotten the Woolee Winder. And I think I may be an addict & advocate for WW now. And the WW bulky flyer is *cheaper* than the Schacht! So when the time comes, I suspect I will go with the WW. I don't *need* the bulky yet. I have my Babe wheel. Do you hear the "but..." at the end of that statement or is it just me? *grin*
I am going to end this post here. I am hoping to write some more about the *rest* of MD S&W. But if I don't splice it into two, who knows when I will get done with it! ALso, as always, I am long winded. *grin*