Yes, yes, I know, it’s been a while. But I have an excellent excuse and some not so excellent ones. The best: a friend gave me her spinning wheel. Need I say more?

Knowing nothing about spinning or wheels or what wool or other fiber to use to spin, it’s been quite a trip and learning experience. For starters, is the wheel functioning properly? Is it an easy wheel to learn to spin with? Heck, I don’t know, never touched a spinning wheel before this.

Click here for a picture of the wheel. The wheel I have was made in 1969 by Anthony Cardarelle, I know because his name is engraved in the wood. Apparently he died a year or so later, in 1970 (?) and the Clemes brothers who had been working for or with him, continued with the wheels.

Immediately a major problem presented itself: how to re-hook the treadle to the footman.  As you can see, the picture of the spinning wheel was of no help. But a phone call later I had the fix. Lacings from a baseball mitt. Apparently this connection had been broken and was fixed with some sort of electrical wire that was way too stiff. But the leather did the trick.

Other than that I see nothing that needs immediate attention. The thick leather coming from the maiden and holding up the orifice could be renewed, and perhaps the belt could be, too.

I’ve tried spinning and am challenged beyond anything I might have ever tried. My yarn gets twisted and twisted while I am holding on to it for dear life. I’m not letting it go to the wheel apparently. Then I let the twist go into my wool and end up almost across the room and the yarn is still not on the bobbin. Eventually….

But Houston, we do have yarn. See?!

first yarn

Yes, I know, too much twist. I told you! But this is my first attempt, not that the other attempts look any different. But the fun factor is very high! Spinning, just like knitting, gets all the good hormones flowing I am so fond of.

This Saturday is a local spinning meeting and I will go, along with the wheel, and see if others find any fault with the wheel and can spin on or with it. Can’t wait to find out. Plus some suggestions how to get rid of so much twist. I tried with tension, nope, didn’t make a difference. Tried spinning slower, I mean I have been racing along treadling like a maniac, in the hopes of getting the yarn on the bobbin faster, ha…. Also, it’s hard to go slow for me without going into reverse. You see my many problems. And let’s not forget the time I actually started spinning my hair along with the wool. Oh the disasters I’ve had already. But I am still at it.

So far I have spun my knitpicks wool (blue-green), some wool (un-dyed) I had around the house from when the children were small and we did crafts together, and then plied my two attempts at spinning together, washed the whole thing and am waiting for everything to dry.

But before you get jealous, I doubt it is knittable. But it looks nice. And yes, I did let the yarn rest a day before going on to the next steps.

My knitting has suffered a little, it’s not like I split in two and can do both at the same time. I wish. Besides looking at my started socks with my new needles from Signature (check them out here), I joined a KAL making my first shawl. This shawl has been a huge challenge for me, not as big as spinning, but right up there. It must be my age and the loss of an ability to count and never having been good at following directions.

Now the farmers market is calling and a visit with my friend who gave me the spinning wheel.

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