Last month, I was talking to my boss who has been shopping around for a loom. (I talked her into taking up weaving again, and she’s been having a blast.) I mentioned that I would love to have a spinning wheel someday, and she suggested that I take a look at craigslist and see what I could find. So I did, and one of the first listings I found was for a 1975 Ashford Traditional that looked to be in pretty fair condition. I went down to South Seattle to have a look at her, and lookie what I came home with!!
The woman selling her is a weaver who had bought her brand new in 1975 with the intent of spinning her own yarn to weave. She ended up using her maybe a few times, and she’s been in storage ever since. I paid a couple hundred bucks less than what a new Traditional would cost. I took her to the Spinning Guru at the Weaving Works, who hooked me up with a spring for the scotch tension, an orifice hook and lots of oil, and I was good to go. I took my first wheel spinning class that night!
I realized just how much easier it was spinning on a wheel after using a drop spindle. Drafting came much more naturally, and I wasn’t having some of the problems the other ladies in the class were having. Don’t get me wrong, my first yarn off of the wheel looked terrible! During the second class a week later, Shirley brought out about 1/3 of a raw fleece:
It was really cool to feel the wool before it’s cleaned and combed. I don’t know if I’ll ever go so far as to buy a raw fleece and go through the whole process of cleaning and preparing it for spinning, but you never know! Maybe someday. But for now, I’ll stick with spinning on Coraline.
I already have about 120 yards of this Coopworth/Corridale white and purple mix, and another skein of medium and dark Coopsworth plied together:
Just what I need, one more thing to eat into my knitting time! 😛