Saturday, November 08, 2008

Spin easy

After a long time of prevaricating I finally got myself a spinning wheel. I used to spin many moons ago and on an Ashford Scholar - I produced yarn but it was rather bulky and from Herdwick, Swaledale and Jacob's sheep. Things have changed a lot since then and even in the past 3 years since I've been considering this.

I prefer modern design wheels and we have an open plan living space which is limited in size therefore needed something small I could tuck in the corner. I also needed something portable since I need to be able to spin in the garden and in the conservatory. DH's attitude was that I should get what I really really want so that meant the Lendrum was a strong contender. And then a new generation of smaller more portable wheels have become available. I'd have liked the Schacht Ladybug but resent that anyone wanting to purchase one in the UK has to pay such a premium.

Trawling around Ravlery noticed that Majacraft were introducing a new entry level wheel and the early reviews were very good. Then found that there are few stockists in the UK but Hedgehog Equipment is relatively close to me so, arranged to go for a test spin. This was a wise move since looking at various articles on the internet had given me a complete crisis of confidence so I wanted to be sure that I could still spin before buying.

Well what can I say - arrived and Sarah had already put it together, sat down and away I went - the treadling action is wonderful and I can spin fine yarn.

As can be seen she's a plain minimal looking wheel with double treadle wheel and scotch tension. She's made from solid pine, plywood and MDF with a cream wash finish but only weighs 11 lbs which makes is so easy to carry up and down stairs.

Like other Majacraft wheels it has a delta flyer which was new to me but I like it lots and find it so much easier to use.
This fibre was good for getting used to the wheel and tension adjustment which is so sensitive but amazingly straightforward when you get used to it. It was then onto the fun stuff.

This is some shetland humbug tops from Shunklies Etsy shop. It's a completely new experience to be able to get the fibre this well prepared and a godsend for someone like myself who works and really does not have the time or space to wash and prepare fleece.

This was the beginning of the bobbin and

This is what I was spinning at the end and works out at 21 wpi although it has yet to be plied. The size of these bobbins and what you can get on them is astounding - this has taken yarn spun out of 130gms of tops and I wasted very little. I was extremely lucky in that under the introductory offer I got 5 bobbins included.

I am so happy with this wheel, ok she's a plain jane but I now hugely appreciate her minimal understated looks. Her portability and versatility provides me with everything I need and honestly cannot see that I'll need another wheel. The other huge bonus is that for the price of the nearest contender, the Susie I've been able to buy the Pioneer and get other accessories (all of which will fit this wheels) such as a plying set and Lazy Kate.

The comments and reviews by members of the Majacraft group on Ravelry were invaluable and I loved the way Lisa Souza who has lots more experience of spinning and wheels put it like this
"You buy the Pioneer for what she DOES as opposed to how fancy she LOOKS."