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Spinning wheels go ’round and ’round

Not being enough of a geek already, I’m adding to my bag of tricks. I took a class on spinning fiber into yarn a few weeks ago with Ann Corbey at The Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA. I got to try a couple of wheels that were OK, but didn’t really enthrall me, but I learned a bit about spinning, and I learned a bit about what sort of wheel I might like to own.

This past weekend Peg and I were in Maine anyway (for another hobby-related event – Lobstercon ), so while in the area I took the opportunity to test drive two spinning wheels in two different shops. At Halcyon Yarn in Bath, ME, I tried the Kromski Fantasia, and at Spunky Eclectic in Lisbon, I tried the dual-treadle Fricke.

I ultimately settled on the Fantasia, and a lot of the reason falls to Peg. She said that the look on my face when I sat down at the Fantasia told her I’d found the right wheel already.

UPS should be delivering the wheel tomorrow afternoon. I’m kind of excited.

Of course, one does not need just a spinning wheel. There are all manner of accessories to purchase over time. One of the first is a niddy-noddy, a device upon which yarn is wound from the bobbin to both balance the twist and measure the yarn. Some folks dye the yard on the niddy-noddy as well.

Looking around at various vendors, I found that the durn things range in price from about $28 for unfinished wood to $50 or $75! It’s three sticks, people. Yes, they are often lathe-turned and beautiful, but I don’t think so. I read the Wikipedia article referenced earlier, which mentioned that “budget spinners” have fashioned them from PVC. A stop at Home Depot last night yielded two 10 foot pieces of 3/4″ rigid tubing and four TEEs. A bit of measuring (two 6″ pieces on either end and a 18″ piece for the main bit), and a minute of assembly provided me with a niddy-noddy for a price I haven’t even calculated yet. I paid $6.20 for the materials. I have enough tubing left for at least three more, TEEs enough for another, and the TEEs were cheap. I estimate that they are going to be about $2 each – not even in quantity. (I wonder if the local yarn shop might have a market for dead-cheap niddy-noddies?)

Stay tuned!

 

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