Monday, December 7, 2009

So . . . About That Spinning Wheel . . .

I have, in fact, purchased a spinning device. Notice, I did not say "spinning wheel." Although extensive research into spinning terminology suggests that this device may be considered to be generically a "wheel" despite the absence of an actual wheel. No treadles either. No footmen. Have you guessed yet?



Yep, it is an e-spinner. A HansenCrafts miniSpinner to be precise. What we have here is an Ashford jumbo flyer with sliding-hook yarn guide in Kevin Hansen's beautifully carved mount with a tiny but super powerful motor in the base. Also comes with a foot pedal that operates in two modes. I love it.



Alas, on the day it arrived I had just come down with a dreadful head cold and could do no more than set it on the table next to my laptop and admire it from afar between sniffles, sneezes, and naps.

But then, oh, then . . . when I began to feel better . . . I put the miniSpinner on a low table to the right side of the bed, plugged it in, piled my fiber on the left side of the bed, lay back on my pillows, and spun. Now that was fun!

The whole process was so different from spindling that I had trouble at first determining when the fiber had enough twist in it that I should allow it to wind onto the bobbin. Working with some hairly, snarly Coopworth/Columbia blend acquired several years ago, I drafted away, struggling to keep up with the spinner (at one of its lowest speed settings). But it got easier, and by the second bobbin I was doing better.



Plying was really exciting. No worries about direction. Instead of flipping the switch to the right, I flip it to the left. Done deal. Woohoo! And this is where the speed is seriously great. It was so quick that I had to remind myself to stop from time to time to move the yarn guide. The only oopsie came when I got down near the end of my singles. That stuff I spun at the beginning of the very first bobbin? Uh, not so spun. It just fell apart. Heh. Lesson learned.

So here is what I have to show for my first spinning experience. About 100 yards of a more-or-less-worsted weight "rustic" yarn.



It's the oddest stuff; reminds me a little of the Knitpicks Suri Dream I used recently to make a vest, although it is not nearly so soft. But, just like Suri Dream, there is a narrow core of yarn with a fairly decent twist and then a lot of hairs sticking out that make it much thicker. I certainly didn't set out to create this effect (wouldn't know how), so I'm guessing it's a feature of the fiber, which came with its own supply of little twigs, nicely embedded, no extra charge.

It feels strange to be a beginner again. I had just got to the point where I could reliably and consistently spin any thickness whatever on a spindle. Now I need to learn to do the same on my "wheel." Much fun to come.

12 comments:

Liz said...

Congratulations, how exciting! That yarn you spun looks wonderful, I look forward to seeing more of your spinning. Have fun :)

Life Looms Large said...

So cute and so small! I'm so tempted!!

I'm not a spinner, but I love your tiny new espinner. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

Sue

Delighted Hands said...

This is a wonderful surprise! So when did you get the idea? Very nice first skein-very happy for you!

Sharon said...

That's one of my attractions to spinning. There's never an end to the learning curve. It must be one funny-looking curve~

bspinner said...

Congratulations on your "spinning device". I call my Ashford an electric spinner and since I've gotten it it's all I use to spin at home. There is certainly a learning curve but once you get the hang of it they are wonderful.

Tina T-P said...

I tried one last year when we visited Kathy at Sheep Thrills Farm in AZ - they are pretty cool - enjoy your new toy...er...wheel!

Tina T-P said...

P.S. = thanks for your kind comment on my 6 Word Memoir :-) T.

Knitting Linguist said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful acquisition -- and I love your first yarn from it. Have fun being a beginner again for a little while :)

twinsetellen said...

Oh, to be a beginner again! Isn't it fun to have the steep learning curve?

Sheila said...

Congratulations. You will be a pro in no time at all.

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~ Phyllis ~ said...

Congratulation on the "new toy". I habe been very curious about the electric spinners. I'm anxious to see how you like it once you become comfortable with it. Should be a great time saver.