I think most of you know I have become increasingly interested in learning to spin yarn, adding another dimension to my fiber interests. I signed up, along with our neighbor Anna, for a class on Beginning Spinning, down in Mineral Point, which takes place in June. A few weeks ago, I thought it was a good idea to buy a drop spindle so that I would have a little experience with spinning before the class, hoping that I would be good enough with the drop spindle that I could move onto a spinning wheel sooner.
Don and I were invited over to visit a co-worker of his, Cindy, who also happens to own and spin on a wheel. Her husband, Steve, also spins, but on a drop spindle. At that time, I was practicing on my drop spindle, really not knowing if I was doing it correctly or not, but definitely NOT enjoying it. Steve gave an amazing demonstration......he made it look so easy....and FAST! Cindy then got on her spinning wheel and did a demonstration as well, leaving me hungering more than ever for a wheel. :) Cindy's spinning wheel happens to be a Kromski Spinning Wheel. She has the "Symphony" model, a Saxony style wheel, and I have been interested in their Castle style spinning wheel, the Minstrel. Kromski Wheels are made in Poland by the Kromski family. :)
The more I read and looked at websites online, brought me closer and closer to what I did 2 days ago.........that was to go out to Susan's Fiber Shop, so that I could look at what wheels she had in stock, and to possibly sit down at them to see how they fit me, etc. I did know she carried the Kromski wheel that I have been lusting after (drooling over) in magazines and websites, so knew it would be a good idea (fantastic idea!) to go, check it out, and compare it to other wheels. Her shop opens at 10AM and I was there soon after she opened. I lucked out and she had no other customers, so she was able to take me back to the wheels and give me her thoughts and suggestions about each one. The Kromski "Minstrel" is the one that really had caught my eye (online/magazines), which she had in clear finish and walnut. I also sat down at an Ashford Traveler. It, too, was comfortable, but I was drawn back to the Minstrel. She sat down at 1 minstrel and I at the other, so she could demonstrate how to spin on the wheel. She then handed me some roving and had me "try" to follow what she'd just demoed. Obviously, I did not do tremendously well, but I think the drop spindle spinning made it a little easier for me by knowing how to draft somewhat. I was spinning!!! Yes, the "yarn" had slubs in it, but it was holding together!
I left Susan's with the Kromski Minstrel strapped into the front seat of the car, bringing it home, along with some of the same roving we used in the demo. I have been able to practice and feel better each time I get on the wheel, even seeing some consistent areas of yarn. :) Of course, there are still slubs, but they are expected for awhile......or so I am told. :)
Here is my Minstrel, sitting in the middle of the floor of the sun room. I had to find a rug to put it on, along with my stool, so that it wouldn't walk away from me as I was spinning. I found that out "after" I began trying to spin and finding myself reaching/leaning forward a little more than when I started. Working in the sun room has been very enjoyable. Obviously, I have plenty of light. The Wheel is light enough, so it is easy to bring in to use, and then move back to where I am temporarily storing it....beside my desk. I'm not sure where it's "home" will be yet, but possibly in the front room nearer the loom.
This is my attempt at spinning yarn. Notice the "various areas" of thick and thin? I could call this "novelty yarn", but it is just beginners yarn. :) Hopefully, I will have a more consistent yarn to photograph soon.
Getting a comfortable height for me has been a little bit of a challenge, too. I went around measuring the various chairs, ending up with this piano stool, adding an angular foam pad, and topping it off with my sheep fleece. I'm finding this very comfortable and a good height.
Above....Don was able to catch me actually practicing spinning. Below....just a "poser"!
Isn't it a beautiful wheel? Molly Bee, of renowned fame (http://mollybeesattic.blogspot.com/), asked me what I was going to name "her".........hmmmmmmm....."her"? LOL....I'm not sure if my wheel will be named, but if I do, I'm SURE, that HE is a boy! LOL