I know I have said this a lot, but I’m oh so good at neglecting my blog. Something that I do want to rectify, but y’know.. life gets in the way.
So, I guess first things first – I still spin, of course I do.
I have developed myself more as a spinner in recent years, and I am finding myself fitting more into a niche of what I like to do. I am, and always have been a fine yarn person. I love the process of spinning it, and the things I can use it for. I also have developed myself as a production spinner, so I spin fine yarn and fast a lot.
That doesn’t mean to say I spin nothing else, but fine yarn is my favorite, and my default. My default yarn seems to come out at a fairly fine laceweight nowdays.
With my love of production spinning comes a love of fast wheels. I mean FAST. I also entered into the world of custom/handmade wheels last May when I turned 21 and bought a golding travel wheel.
I came to a realisation that I am not going to put up with a lot of the oversights, inaccuracies and such that many factory produced wheels have. Handmade wheels generally have an extra level of detail to them that I like, so they are the way to go for me. I currently have 5 wheels in my collection:
lendrum upright, lendrum saxony, jensen ashley, schacht reeves 30″, golding travel.
I will soon thin that to 4 wheels as the schacht reeves is going, but the 4 that are not going are the wheels I use exclusively. Which do I spin on most? – ALL of them. I rotate them around. It depends what I’m spinning.
By far my favorite for production is my lendrum saxony. I own the flyer known by a variety of names – stupid fast flyer, the 60… Its a bobbin lead, air braked system that has a 60:1 ratio. It is the tool I have the most productivity with. You see it here. My wheel is cherry in case you wonder. Also excuse bad iphone pic.
The SFF is finicky, and there is a big learning curve. Plus you have to be able to draft fast enough. I actually love it, and it enables me to spin large quantities of mid-moderately high twist yarns. I spun up 6oz merino/alpaca/silk on it recently and that I calculated a rate of 650 yds per hr. I spin silk on the setup mainly, and it is great, but in a way I wish I could make it a bit faster as I really have to treadle to not outdraft it.
My golding is super smooth and silent, and does well for relaxed spinning. Top ratio is 24:1 which for my finer stuff spun worsted is ok, if a little slow. Longdraw I can get away with going for about 14WPI 2ply on it at the 20:1.
The lendrum upright is my favorite favorite wheel for travelling with. It is compact and incredibly versatile for its size. It is well engineered, and just works. When I haven’t got access to my saxony, I spin on the upright if I want to go for silk.
The Jensen is the newest addition. Its new and in black walnut. Very smooth, and easy to use despite having no sealed bearings. I have the high speed kit, but it still is a nice relaxed pace wheel for me. But, very pleasant and lovely.
In the pipeline is a very very very special completely custom wheel from a maker. I have no details yet, but it will be totally one of a kind!!
This brings me on to another point. In the last year, I have had a bit of an obcession. Spinning wheel mechanics. I am not at a point where I understand fundamental physics, engineering choices and am able to very accurately assess systems for errors. It comes with my background. Science is about taking a step back and thinking a lot of the time. So, I am having a massive amount of input into the design and engineering of my wheel which is cool!
With my new wheels, has also come a new hobby – weaving. In January of this year I bought an ashford table loom, and am opening my eyes to the wide world of weaving. I am a novice, but working on it!
I am also expanding myself as not just a spinner, but a spinning teacher. I have has the joy of teaching twice this year, and am a tutor this year at fibre east. I cannot wait!
I am also getting more into the writing side and publish for PLY as much as I humanly can! Jacey Boggs is the editor in chief there, and she does such an awesome job with that magazine, as well as being so laid back, and kind as an editor!
Last thing… I HAVE SHEEP!! yes, you hear me right. I am a very proud owner of 15 ouessant sheep. They are the smallest breed on earth, and are really very sweet. Flighty and very primitive, but lovely, endearing sheep. They are just going into lambing season, having had the first lamb born on st patricks day – the most adorable little black ewe! She’s a talented escape artist though!!
SO, assuming I keep up with this blogging thing.. expect ranting, spinning, lambs, spinning wheels, and probably a bit of physics/maths too! 🙂