Spinning Adventure Part 2

Two of the women from my weaving guild offered to meet and spin with me so I could try out my Hitchhiker spinning wheel and get some help.

It did not go well! Even the experienced spinner was a little flummoxed by my wheel and said she didn’t think it was working quite right. We really didn’t get any yarn going.

I had kept up my alerts for used spinning wheels but haven’t had luck. The prices for used wheels anywhere within even very generous driving distance were very close to retail.

I read that Ashford was raising their prices in October so I took the plunge and bought a Kiwi 3 from a dealer that had them in stock vs outsourcing the order to Ashford. The idea was to get it before we went to vacation to Cape May, NJ the last week of September because I read about a store that had spinning lessons there. I picked the Kiwi because it folded up and didn’t take up that much room. I was debating the Joy but that was very small and since I have the tiny HitchHiker, I thought something that was portable but also a little taller and easier to see would be nice.

The wheel did arrive just in time! I opted for unassembled and unfinished to save money so I took a sunny day, waxed it and assembled it. The directions were really good! I didn’t have any major issues.

Then we realized that between the dogs and their things and having to bring linens and beach stuff to the house we were renting, we really didn’t have the room in my Matrix to bring the wheel.

I didn’t even get a chance to try it out before we headed to the beach.

It turned out okay because we went to that store and it was a little odd. They weren’t terribly friendly and there was almost nothing spinning or weaving related in the store! I thought maybe I’d be able to get a niddy noddy, fiber, maybe a case, more bobbins etc but they had nothing but a tiny amount of fiber in a weird glass case. It was one of those stores where you feel like you are interrupting someone in their home.

There was a group there knitting that also was a little strange and talked about us to the owner while we were right there. My husband found a good needle felting book he would have bought but it wasn’t for sale. Sometimes I wonder if people open these stores just as a tax shelter (is that a thing?) and to have a way to make people their friends. There was not much for sale. I guess it was my fault for assuming that a store that offers spinning lessons would also have spinning items for sale. Why is that so common? The store where I took my weaving classes doesn’t even sell cone yarn or shuttles.

We took a lot of games and crafts on the trip and ended up not really doing anything. The weather was nice and walking the dogs and picking up food took up more time than you’d think in the evenings. We spent a lot of time on the enclosed porch (the house was very fussy and carpeted and my husband fell down the dangerous stairs which put a damper on things) and it was a little dark in there at night. Matt did manage to do some work with his lucet following along in our new lucet book but my cardinal pin loom project went untouched so I’m not sure if I would have spun anyway.

I spent Tuesday trying the Kiwi out I can get something that looks like thick yarn going! More than I can say about the HitchHiker.

Tomorrow we are headed to a festival and might stop at a fiber store on the way. They are a little over an hour away and also offer spinning lessons so I’d like to check them out. Their social media looks promising! I really wouldn’t mind taking a class, I’m not sure if I can really get the feel for it via a video and I don’t want to lean on my weaving guild to help me for free.

A Spinning Adventure

I saw a listing on Craigslist for a small spinning wheel at a reasonable price and got in contact. They were in Northern Virginia which mile-wise isn’t too far from Baltimore but traffic down there is bonkers. I’ve been stuck in traffic there for hours at literally 2 am.

I decided to go for it and contacted the seller and she said that she wouldn’t ship it but it was still available. She said she was free week days. We made plans for Thursday post rush hour. My car battery was dead when I went to leave and I had to take my husband’s car but somehow I got there in an hour and ten minutes which has to be a speed record. No traffic at all. Note to self—leave at 8:50 AM on a Thursday next time you need to run to NOVA.

I had mentioned I had never spun before and she said if I had time, she could show me how to work it and might have some wool to get me started. How nice is that??

I ended up staying almost 90 minutes and chatting with her and met her cute dog. She got rid of her dining room table to make room for spinning! Something my husband keeps telling me we should do with for looms/weaving. It was a lot of fun and she sent me home with the wheel and some bags of wool.

I even got to stop and pick up our favorite bánh mì at Bánh Mì D.C. Sandwich on the way back. If you think you saw me driving up 95 with a banh mi in my hand, no you didn’t. I had brought a cooler so I brought some some for dinner too and a fun pandan dessert. I even treated myself to a cà phê đá. So good!!! Why don’t we have a place like this in Baltimore??

It would have been the perfect day if my car had started! Luckily I found this place that will come to you and install your battery and it was somehow cheaper than buying a battery at the auto parts store?

I don’t quite have the hang of spinning yet but I managed to do a tiny bit and have been practicing treadling while distracted by talking, weaving squares for my temperature blanket and watching tv. I might try the drop spindle, I don’t think I’m getting the drafting quite right, it keeps being too thick. I have some drop spindles from the thrift craft store and one from a lot I won at an estate auction that included the incredible rope machine.

I read some mixed reviews of the wheel online (people seem to either love it or hate it) and the woman who sold it to me prefers a different kind but it’s cute and good size for me. I thought two treadles might work for me because I found that I liked weaving with an even amount of treadles on each side best. It’s a little weird getting the rhythm going but I think I’m getting it. I really wanted a smaller wheel because we are space crunched and the fact that this one has a handle that looks like a hand cut out and treadles that look like feet is clearly a bonus. People said it was harder to get used to but I figure if I can get it going than any other wheel will be a breeze if I get really into it.

If I really can’t get the hang of it, I can always sell it and try a different one. I think some of the women in the guild spin because they were talking about Spin in Public Day coming up. So hopefully they’d help me!

I’m not sure if I really needed a new project now but it was too good of a deal to pass up at about a third of what they are retailing for currently. The few times I’ve seen wheels used they’ve been either pretty large or in need of a lot of work.