The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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Upping the Ante

This has been a long, hectic week.  Man, I’ve just been dying to blog!

The Fibre Garden’s spin-in on Sunday was lots of fun.  I met this fellow Knitter of the Caribbean (Ravelry group, FWIW), and totally taught her to spin on my mini Bosworth spindle!  She was great too – made very decent first yarn, and no drops 🙂

I helped my stash out with some Corriedale colour:

I also replaced the BFL top that went back to nature in the moth heat treatment.  Just enough to spin a 2nd single for the glorious lace I plan to knit.  Last but not least is the 111 g of California Red roving that’s already a bouncy 2-ply yarn!  Don’t recognize that ginormous bobbin?  From the FG’s Spinolution Mach II.  On loan to me…

All 111 g in one go.  Before I go nuts describing the wheel can I just say that California Red is a very interesting wool?  Not esp. soft but the coarser red fibres fleck the yarn beautifully.  Point no. 1 on the Mach II?  Yarn capacity.  Here are the finished skeins:

This is 4-ply Coopworth wool from the Wee Peggy bobbins that I plied on the Mach II:

Big difference!

My other impressions so far are based on the 1:10 ratio that I have been using:

  • Treadling:  I thought it might have been spinolution for spinolution’s sake but I was wrong.  It’s what they call toe-t0-heel treadling.  It rocks sideways instead of a presser-foot action.  You get in touch with your inner market woman but even my size 7 feet comfortably reach the treadles.  I am not a tall person at 5′ 2½”… which is to say that Mom might gasp to see me at this wheel.  Gasp away Mom, it’s v. comfortable!  Treadling is so smooth & responsive that my bum ankle has yet to complain.  The Bellwether wasn’t kidding when she said you can give a foot a break:  her review is here.
  • Toe breaks:  That was a what?  why? reaction at first.  Well, that drive wheel has a back-spin to her.  Even after a full-stop.  It’s that heavy.  I’m using the right brake.
  • Funky flyer:  This is the standard (i.e., non-art yarn) flyer.  I like the guide pegs.  They are easy to work with, and the yarn winds on evenly.  The flyer-bar is magnetized.  I get that it’s a solution for a MachI issue, and am overall okay with it.  You do have to make sure that the flyer bar is pushed all the way back after a bobbin change.
  • Orifice:  They call this an open orifice.  It’s really a hook that  speaks to me as a spindler.  I can shift my hands around without the knocking I got with a Majacraft delta orifice.
  • Drive band:  It does stay put while spinning but the lack of a groove on the drive wheel makes it jumpy when you are changing.  Jumpy = tricky to put back.  I’m pretty sure that a cotton stand-in would slide all over creation.
  • Tension:  It is scotch tension.  Just based on the Bellwether’s manual, I think it will give a little trouble.  You have to “rough-up” some internal leather piece.
  • Rabbit ears:  2 spare bobbins sit on short pegs off the top.  It’s terrible to wind-off from them, so I soon rigged me a shoebox kate.  Luckily DH has big feet – my size 7 boxes would never have held the honking bobbins!
  • In general:  I can spin on this wheel on the couch, which is nice.  It won’t range far at the 22lbs of awkward weight but has v. good momentum.  I like the styling but would feel differently if I didn’t have Miss Peggy for eye candy.  There are rocking noises that could be addressed but this is a loaner wheel & I won’t go there.  The sheer bobbin capacity, range of ratios, solidity & price are all pull factors for me.

I’m going to keep playing with the wheel.  This isn’t a foregone conclusion (not naming it) but I am excited to have these options at this price-point.  I know that they are very popular but frankly the Lendrum wheel just hasn’t appealed to me strongly.  The forward tilt, and single footman are holding me back.  I could come to eat those words because relative portability on a modern wheel is nothing to sneeze at (to mix metaphors).

My oregano has graduated from water to soil:

I do have knitting to share but it can wait for the next post.  Happy Friday!