I just got my Christmas present, and I believe it is the best present one could get!
It is an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel! Yay! It arrived on Monday, and I assembled it Monday night and started spinning immediately. You can see the dark blue single in progress. That’s a nice wool/silk blend (75% BFL/25% silk), hand dyed from Cloverleaf Farms. I started by dividing it into two piles of 30 g each, and then spun each half into singles. Then I plied the two singles together tonight to make my first wheel-spun yarn! (Technically, I spun a teensy bit of plain white wool first to get the hang of spinning and make sure no grease ruined my wool, and I then did a rather disastrous chain ply on it, so it was really the very first yarn.) Below is the finished dark blue yarn, along with the chain plied white and a short length of chain plied blue that I did with the rest of the bobbin after the other single ran out.
I was rather intimidated by the idea of spinning on a wheel at first, as the first time I’d tried wheel spinning a while back, I found it rather difficult. But I took to it like a natural. All the practice drafting yarn while spinning with a drop spindle paid off, and I was spinning decent singles within minutes of the finished assembly. I eventually even started to pay attention to the amount of twist in the yarn and got something that was not too unlike my drop spindle product. Plying took a little getting used to, but also wasn’t so bad, for two plies. I will certainly need more practice with chain plying, though I started to understand the source of my disaster with it.
It is the Year of Fiber, we must remember, and I actually have a last-ditch chance of actually spinning up all my fiber stash by the end of the year. There are some yarns I began spinning with the drop spindle; I am not sure if I want to finish them that way or move to the wheel. It’s a tough call, as the wheel is so much faster and produces nice two-ply yarn.
Anyway, I hope you have a merry Christmas! If you’re stuck on what gift to get someone on your list, may I recommend a spinning wheel? In my experience, it is the best gift ever and will earn you eternal gratitude!