Friday, 15 February 2008
Wheels within Wheels
Last year I didn't even own a spindle, now for some reason ( most likely my fault ) there are three spinning wheels in Knitting HQ and one in quarantine in the shed. I blame my Knitting Bee chums, Julie and Kit who first introduced me to the joys of spinning. Kit kindly lent me a Louet 10 wheel which is so easy to use and looks like a design icon. I loved it so much that I went to Ebay and bought one of my own. That brought the tally up to two drop spindles and two wheels. Last week I spoke to my sister in law Babs ( hello! ) and she had news of two wheels languishing in Fife. I got the details and on a lovely sunny Saturday we sent off to collect them.
Sometimes serendipity has a melancholy tinge. The wheels had been used by a spinner who recently died. Rather than just give them to a charity shop or worse, throw them out, her husband wanted the wheels to be used by another spinner. Someone who would appreciate them. One wheel is made by a Scottish company called Haldanes, it is at least twenty years old. The other is over one hundred years old and comes from Germany. This one has evidence of woodworm, hence the quarantine. I feel a sense of responsibility and I want to make sure that they get good homes. I'm wondering if a textile museum would like the very old one and I'm still thinking about keeping the Haldane wheel for myself but only if I think it will do something that the Louet 10 can't. Otherwise I will find it a worthy spinner.
We took the Haldane apart, washed and waxed it and then Archie discovered skills hitherto unknown - he is a natural born wheel engineer. Hours of internet searching discovered it to be a double drive wheel and long after I'd retired for the night, he remained sorting out flyers and whorls and drive bands.
I finished my handspun wrap that I've been working on since October last year. I started spinning it with a drop spindle and fininished with the Louet 10. It is a lovely example of a learning curve - the spinning starts out crunchy, overspun and uneven and ends up beautiful and soft and still a bit uneven. Perfection is overrated - I'll take hand made and imperfect every time.