Spinning wheelapalooza

I have been keeping any eye out for second hand spinning wheels over the last month or so (and there was a possibility that I might get one sent over from New Zealand via a friend of a friend). A couple of nights ago I can across a Gumtree listing for a wheel and chair located about 5 miles away from me. We exchanged messages and I agreed to go and have a look at it after my Body Pump class this morning.

I did as much research as I could online based on the single image in the ad and the knowledge that it definitely wasn’t an Ashford Traditional (wrong number of spokes on the drive wheel), but was coming up a blank. I also checked what to look out for in a second hand wheel (that all of the bits moved as they should, a true spin on the drive wheel, no rust in the orifice of the flyer, etc.). So obviously, with 6 extra bobbins in two lazy kates, what looks to be the original orifice hook handle (with a crochet hook substituted for the original hook) and a chair, I bought it for the drop-down bargain price of £75 (I know, a steal, but it’s what they asked for it).

I would love to know more about the wheel if anybody recognises it, there are no makers marks anywhere except an M or W on the pins holding the drive wheel in place. Photos:

Whole kit and caboodleWheelPinsFlyerMother of All

Tour de Fleece – week 3

The first two weeks of Tour de France/Fleece saw me spin, ply, skein and soak 300g of Shetland superfine fibre into useable yarn. I spent week 3 in Ireland at the European Juggling Convention and managed about 30g of Blue Faced Leicester. I am very happy with my spinning progress over the course of Tour de Fleece and feel like my skills have improved as well as taking the opportunity to try some new techniques. I hope to continue with my spinning and hope to try out some wheels at the Bristol Wool Fair in September. After the remaining 70g of this BFL is spun up I have some new designs that need writing up and testing out, inspired by TDF, so keep an eye out.

 TDF collage

Tour de Fleece – week 2

The Tour de France has now been going for two weeks, with one rest day so far. The race has been attritional with riders competing with broken wrists, hands and tibias, but all I have suffered is a little bit of an ache in my left hand which I draft with. I’m pleased with my progress having spindle spun 300g of superfine shetland (and about another 5g of BFL) over 13 days, 200g of which has been simply 2-plied and 100g which has been chain plied.

I will be spending the remainder of le Tour in Ireland at the European Juggling Convention so won’t be able to put as much time in. I am taking a trindle, a nostepinne and 300g of fibre with me, though. And no juggling props (fibre is much easier to pack).

IMG158 TDF week 2 collage

Tour de Fleece – week 1

The Tour de France has gone through 7 stages (though not all of the riders have) and I have completed 7 days of spinning as part of the Tour de Fleece. So far I have spun up 200g of Shetland superfine wool using my new trindle. The first 100g I created a plying ball for (note to self, do not do this direct from the cops next time, massive tangle) and then plied into a heavy fingering/sport weight yarn. The second 200g I spun each cop into centre-pull balls and then bodged together a lazy kate using a couple of chopsticks and a cardboard box before plying.

Next up is learning to chain ply whilst spindle spinning. A disadvantage of spindling over using a spinning wheel is winding on the yarn to the spindle, transforming it for later plying and then having to wind that on too. Just having to deal with bobbins would surely cut down on a lot of that time, so I’m going to try doing the spinning and plying all in one, then skeining directly from the cop.

IMG134 TDF week 1

Tour de Fleece 2014

I am trying my hand at spinning this year, so armed with a range of drop spindles (I’m trying to wait before making an investment in a wheel) I am taking part in the Tour de Fleece. This runs alongside the Tour de France with spinners across the world challenging themselves throughout the Tour. Most try to spin each day that the Tour rides, taking the same days off, and setting themselves challenges on particularly hard days of the Tour (such as big ascents or especially long stages or time trials). I’m just going to try and spin each day and have aligned myself with Team Hilltop Cloud, centred around the Welsh fibre-dyer Hilltop Cloud Katie. Katie dyed a series of secret colourways based on Tour colours, which you can read more about here. No-one knew what the actual colours would be until they arrived and I opted for A, D and H which ended up being Team Death Star (inspired by Chris Froome’s Team Sky jerseys), Team Kwick-Fit (inspired by Mark Cavendish’s Team Omega-Pharma-Quickstep jersey highlights) and some Maillot Jeune (inspired by the sunflowers along the course as well as the leader’s jersey).

A couple of new spindles also arrived just in time, including a lightweight purpleheart trindle from Trindleman and a purpleheart and ash turkish spindle from Kerryspindles which I plan to use for plying, and a Tour de Fleece wristband (which is handy for tucking fibre into so that it doesn’t get tangled up with what you are spinning).

I will be updating my daily progress in the various ravelry groups and on my handspun project pages there, and instead of boring people to pieces with them here I will post a weekly round-up instead.

Here is everything ready to go on my trusty old bike:

TDF Collage

Allez!