Let’s be honest here

I’ve been spindling for a few months and I’ve gotten my sea legs on that but I had grown tired of the weighty spindle snapping my thin yarn and having to reach to the sky to finish getting my twist up the yarn. It wasn’t good for my back or my arms, so I needed the next step up.

I didn’t know how I was going to manage buying a spinning wheel because there isn’t a whole lot of accessibility to spinning/wheels in Wisconsin and I knew next to nothing about them. I wasn’t about to buy one online without test driving it. It’s like a car… gotta make sure you love it before you spend that much money on it. 

The ladies at the Caribou SnB were really helpful, though. They said I should either wait until next year and go to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival or I could go to SOAR. I decided neither were in the cards as I would probably be over it by the time WSWF started or I wouldn’t be able to make it to SOAR since I didn’t pay for the workshops. Jenny then told me about the marketplace open on Saturday afternoon. I brought it up to mom, asked if she’d go with me and we decided to go after our morning errands.

SOAR is short for Spin Off Autumn Retreat. It happens each year all over the US on a rotating basis and this year it was held in Delavan. Mom drove and I knit. I got to the decreases of hat 1 of 8 for the Marines. I didn’t have my DPNs otherwise the sucker would have been done by the time we pulled into the parking lot. Instead, I did as much as I could see, put it away and started on the lace scarf and got a few repeats done there.

The marketplace for SOAR was rather small, but there was so much stuff jammed into this room! I walked around, getting my bearings and checking out prices and such (there was seriously 200 yards of hand-painted worsted weight yarn for 70 dollars at one point) and that’s where I found this:

Abstract Fibers in “Rockstar.” I asked the ladies working there a.) about their Turkish spindle because they were making super thin yarn and b.) where I could find an Ashford spinning wheel. They led me over to Morgaine with Carolina Homespun (the home of the 70 dollar yarn and a $1000 spinning wheel…I’m not kidding).

Morgaine brought me over to another Ashford (the ‘cousin’ of the Kiwi) and taught me the major basics of spinning: how to hold the fiber, what direction to treadle, etc. and I started spinning my own yarn within a couple minutes. She went out and checked to see if they had an unfinished Kiwi and brought it back in and sold it to me.

I was sweating by the time the transaction was complete. But she gave me a good few pounds of this

Just a simple natural-colored roving that is so soft. It’s probably 100 percent Merino. I didn’t ask. I was too high from spending almost an entire paycheck on this wheel.

Mom also pointed out a book on spinning for beginners and bought it for me (she probably saw that this was one of the biggest purchases of my life and I was high off the adrenaline so thanks mommy!).

So we walked out with my free roving, my Rockstar and my Kiwi and we went on our way home after an hour and a half of shopping, stopped at the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago and bought some really delicious stuff, got a couple pumpkins for the seeds and stopped at Home Depot for some stain and polyuerathane  (sp?) for the wood.

I went home, cleaned out the garage from leaves and junk and set out some plywood to set my wheel on. I emptied out the entire box filled with pieces and bits and metal and hardware and ohmygodwhathaveIgottenmyselfinto?

I sanded every piece down until it was super smooth and then started staining. Mom came out and helped and soon we had this to show for our efforts

We moved all the pieces into the basement so they would dry faster.

Sunday morning I woke up at a decent hour, went downstairs and put on the first of two coats of polyuerathane. There’s a reason it calls for great ventillation– because this stuff REEKS. I turned on the giant fan we have in the basement hoping it’ll help the stuff dry and allow the smell to get out of the basement.

By 6 p.m. on Sunday I was too antsy and had to put the thing together and start spinning. There were a couple semi-sticky pieces but I attributed it to my hands being moist or the humidity in the house and ignored it.

After 1.5 hours I had a spinning wheel.

I tried with some roving right away but realized I needed to get more comfortable with the wheel so I spun up some of the red machine washable yarn into a 16-ply bulky yarn. I filled the bobbin and felt more comfortable with what I was doing. I started with the natural colored yarn and made it pretty well– the yarn only came apart a couple times but I wound up with half a bobbin full of the fiber.

The flash blows out the color of the yarn. Just know it’s really purdy.

The stain was Red Mahogany and WD-40 is now my best friend until I get some wheel oil. It’s doing the trick in that it stops the squeaks and allows for the spindle to actually spin.

On another note: Justin called yesterday! He has very limited communication now that he’s moved to a new part of base that was recently built but he’s OK. Only 6 months left until Homecoming!


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