Monday, April 14, 2008

Fiber Fest Spoils

DFW Fiber Fest 2008 was the first weekend in April. I went last year and browsed the vendors and thereafter planned to take a class or two this year, but with the move going on I wasn’t certain I’d have the time. Turns out I was right about that, but we did have time to swing by as we were in town to finish packing on Saturday. I snagged some divine handdyed silk laceweight from Madeline Tosh, fondled some kid mohair yarn from Brooks Farm for a long time before talking myself out of it, and picked up 4 oz. of llama fiber that will become a hat for my husband.

Madeline Tosh Silk Lace Llama

But the best part? Walking around, my husband noticed all the little travel wheels that some of the vendors were spinning on and said, ‘we need to get you one like that, that you can take with you.’ And if just planting that bug in his ear wasn’t enough, he was serious about doing it right away. (Stay back, ladies, he’s mine!)

I didn’t expect to get another wheel for years. I was thinking maybe, if I was very good, Santa might bring me a Woolee Winder for the Symphony this Christmas. Of course I had thought about it, and hinted about it, but I just thought it would be a while. And I probably should have told him that it should wait, but, people, I am weak.

At first I was thinking I’d get a Little Gem – you can’t really beat that for portability. But the more I got to thinking about it, it seemed silly to spend so much for a wheel that I’d mainly use when I traveled. (And plying -- apparently they have huge capacity bobbins.) For the money, though, why not get something that I’d be happy to use every day, that was also portable? Why not examine my current situation and see if I can fill in any other gaps besides portability?

When I researched wheels the first time, it was really important to me to get a Saxony style wheel. In fact, the Lendrum Saxony was my first choice, and the Symphony was my second. Both met all of my criteria, I just thought the Lendrum was a little prettier. I still love the way the Saxony looks, but now that I know what I’m doing behind a wheel, I’m better able to appreciate the beauty of all styles of wheels. It’s more about the ingenuity and engineering of the design than the turning of the wood that gets me going these days.

The Symphony can be configured with the flyer either on the right or the left. At the time, I had never spun on a wheel and so didn’t know which way I would like better. I opted for the ‘normal’ setup with the flyer on the left, thinking that I would learn to spin to fit my wheel. Turns out, I spin with my right hand in front and I can only spin with my left hand in front about as well as I can write with my left hand or knit English. I can do it, but it’s not pretty. So I spend a lot of time twisted around in odd positions while spinning on the Symphony. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. If I had gotten the wheel set up the other way, I could pull the yarn across my body as I draft. As is, I pull it straight out and sort of behind me.

A castle-style wheel, besides being inherently more portable than a Saxony, also solves the problem of handedness. The flyer is in the middle; you can spin however you want. I flirted with the Lendrum DT and the Rose, but in the end I decided on the Schacht Matchless. I ordered it last Tuesday and it showed up today!

Schacht Matchless Schacht Matchless
Spinning some llama

Ain't she a beaut?! I am like a little kid with a new bike.

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