Days 1 – 8 of the Tour de Fleece were all about spinning the lace project for my friend, Teresa. The progress was starting to go to my head and I wanted to give my hand muscles a new set of movements. Repetitive stress is not a syndrome that I want raining on my parade. So, I set the spindles aside, temporarily and sat at my new (to me) wheel.
This is a Fibre Garden ‘sock blend’: ¹⁄3 each of mohair, merino, alpaca. I have 103 g, and have already spun half to 113 yds of 3-ply. Today, I spun these 2 bobbins and ½ of the 3rd.
What is the wheel you ask? A Watson Martha that I loved before I even had touched a single spinning wheel. Her previous owner was ready to change to a more modern wheel, and in a great act of friendship offered to sell her to me. I got her shortly before Stringtopia at the end of April. There was a lot of pinching of self involved. My dream wheel:
She is custom Butternut from a tree that Mr. Watson had on his property in Ontario. My friend loved the colour, and the lighter weight of this white walnut wood. I cleaned her with a solution of Murphy Oil, and then rubbed her down with a tung oil.
As my friend always said to me, “This is not a wheel for a beginner.” It could be for ease of treadling, and stopping on a dime, and minimal oiling. The drive wheels need to be carefully aligned with the bobbin & flyer array. If anything’s off this wheel makes a noise. If all is well, she sings.
I have the 4 original matching bobbins, and have now used both whorls. The maker has taken a brilliant old design of using 2 smaller drive-wheels to be equivalent to having a single large, space-sucker-upper drive wheel. He didn’t just reproduce that. He made it as a beautifully-crafted modern wheel. It has sealed ball bearings.
My last spin on this wheel was this 2-ply from a Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks silk/merino blended braid:
I have hopes it will make a good Helix Scarf.