My mother gave me a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel for Christmas and it has been keeping me happily busy. After managing to put it together, then reading through the instructions, oiling everything up and then finding my stash of wool I had bought at the Fiber In two years ago, I began my new adventure of spinnning.
Things you should know about spinning wheels and spinning:
1- you have to oil it. My spinning wheel came with oil but I noticed online that people recommend using non additive motor oil as the cheap method. I also read online that the piece of leather on the flyer should be oiled every 15-30 minutes of use.
2- There is pencil roving available that is easier on newbies. It is predrafted so that you only have to draft minimally while becoming comfortable with spinning.
3- You will overtwist the yarn. The best way to slow down the twist while learning is to slow down the treadling. I want to immediately treadle like crazy because it’s what I’ve seen experienced spinners do. Slow down.
4- It is incredibly addicting and relaxing it. I’m enjoying my new spinning wheel and playing with yarn. I’ve already made a ball of yarn out of it and knit a pair of socks.
This weekend was the seventh annual Florida Fiber In which took place in Orlando this year. It began Friday night with knitting, spinning, crocheting and socializing. We arrived Saturday at around eleven am and sadly I got there just after the spindling demo had already begun. I had two main objectives for the weekend.
1- I was determined to learn how to use a spindle. A spindle is generally a long thin cylindrical object that looks similar to a top. It is used to create yarn from fibers such as wool, alpaca, linen or if you are really talented silk. A website that I like to visit is http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/HowToDropspin.shtml
2- Find someone who would let me use their spinning wheel.
Both missions were accomplished. I practiced with the drop spindle. I was warned that it takes a lot of practice before you can create anything resembling yarn. I did enjoy using the spinning wheel, although I couldn’t really control the twist. I hope to be able to practice more at some point in my life, with my own wheel of course. It is not as easy as it looks though.
All in all, it was great to go and hang out with people who like the same things. There were many people, women especially, knitting, crocheting, spinning and spindling. I got to see a lot of different devices, fibers and people. It’s always great to learn new things and to meet new friends.
Today my fiance and I drove three hours north to go visit the Florida Fiber-in up in Sarasota. It is a festival more drawn toward fiber and spinning but knitting/crocheting are included. It was located at the Hilton Garden Suites off of Tamiami Trail North. I peaked down the long hallway first, and watched the two women outside spinning. There was a standing wheel and an old antique Norwegian spinning wheel, both for sale for $400 each. I had a long conversation with one of the women. I had made the mistake of buying an old antique spinning wheel without any idea of what I was doing. For those of you who know what I am talking about, I am missing the lazy kate/bobbin, the footman (goes from the wheel to the treadle, the mother of all (part that holds up the lazy kate/bobbin) is loose, and there are assorted other minor problems. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about- I didn’t either until I started researching my purchase. I wish I had known what I was doing.
Back to the Florida Fiber In.
It was a great place, with lots of spinning wheels. I wish I had sat down and practiced- but my nerves were a bit rattled and I am ultra-shy! I bought some handspun from sunshine knit designs and may try to spin on my drop spindle. I wish there was more yarn and knitting. My lovely fiance wanted to leave so we were out the door entirely too soon.
I have decided that I have to have a spinning wheel. However, I have learned my lesson in that I’m not touching an antique (unless someone can fix mine!!!). Instead, I want an Ashford Travelor. Now is not the time to buy it, but I’m going to start setting aside money for it. I have a ton of projects in progress. I am almost finished with my wedding scarf and can’t wait to show it off! http://www.floridafiberin.org