You could be forgiven for thinking that I had dropped off the face of the planet given my blog silence for the last few weeks but in reality I’ve just been swept up in a whirlwind of summer holidays, mummy duties, pregnancy related medical appointments and the desire to sleep whenever I get the opportunity. Oh and I may have also been a little bit distracted by my new spinning wheel.
Earlier in the summer I ordered an Ashford Kiwi 2 wheel as a birthday present for myself only to discover that I would need to wait 6-8 weeks for delivery so I wouldn’t actually get it in time for my birthday. With patience of a saint (who am I kidding I moaned like an old woman for the whole time) I awaited my wheel. The week before I was due to go on holiday it arrived, flat packed!
I love a bit of a self assembly challenge and thankfully the instructions were really clear but Crafty Toddler decided she was going to use this particular week to rebel against her sleep training so it took me a few days to get it all put together and a couple more before I finally got chance to play on it.
The wheel (which I have named Hone in honour of the Shortland Street character I had a crush on as a teenager – it is from New Zealand after all!) has to live in my bedroom to stop Crafty Toddler thinking it belongs to her and she should be allowed to pedal it like mummy does. This means that I can’t just leave it conveniently set up I have to get it out and put it away each time I want to use it. This is where the Goldilocks equation comes in. I thought spinning wheel chairs were just a bit of a gimmick but having tried virtually every chair in my house whilst spinning trying to get a comfortable seat which is at the right angle and gives enough support whilst spinning I can see how they may come in handy. In the end I discovered that the most comfortable place or the spot which is “just right” is sat on the end of my bed which is fairly high. This seems to be a the best angle for not giving my pregnant hips too much trouble. Other aspects of spinning on a wheel which I needed to work through in a trial and error fashion to work out which was just right for me included;
– the angle I positioned the wheel at when using it, slightly off to an angle seems to suit me.
– where I positioned my feet on the pedals, too far forward and it made it seem like hard work and too far back and it just caused the wheel to slide across the carpet.
– how much I pre-drafted the fibre, most of which had been sat in my stash for a while so it was slightly compacted to begin with.
– the speed at which I pedalled.
I seem to have reached the stage now where I can just zone out and spin more or less on auto-pilot and I don’t work up quite as much of a stress related sweat as I did on my first attempt! Here are the results of my first three attempts on the wheel.
First off the wheel was this dark pink skein, there were a few thick and thin spots but overall it was relatively even (surprisingly un-art yarn like for a first attempt), 140g/ 242m on average about a DK weight.
Second off the wheel was this green and pinky/ orange combo – 100g/ 208m of a worsted spun 2 ply which made it roughly a sports weight.
Third off the wheel was this beauty, which to me just looks like Christmas in woollen form – 100g/ 285m which came out as a fingering/ 4ply weight yarn.
(All 3 skeins were 100% merino and spun as 2 ply yarns in a worsted style – don’t ask me whether it was long/ short/forward or backwards draw as I just made it up as I went along and stuck with what seemed to feel most natural at the time).
As can see the yarns have got progressively more even and progressively thinner, the one I currently have on the bobbin is I fear going to be a lace weight when plied so I may well have to put in some practice at spinning thicker again. In case any of you were worried that I was burning through my fibre stash a bit quickly and concerned that I might run out I perhaps should mention that the wheel came with a £15 voucher to be spent on fibre which translated to roughly 800g of sheepy goodness. I went for 100g each of 8 different sheep breeds all in natural colours. I think that should be enough to keep me going for a while.