Just a quickie, as I sit having my coffee in the airport before my flight to Denver. (I’m giving a talk/performance/standup/whatever the hell it is that I do tonight in Loveland, if anybody wants to come. I think it will be superfun.) I’m totally ready for this trip, and I think I actually nailed the packing, except I forgot a pair of shoes. (Not totally, I mean, I’m wearing shoes, but I forgot to bring shoes that won’t look stupid with the skirt I packed, and now I have to choose between not wearing the skirt, and looking stupid. I do both of those things all the time, so I’m not super stressed.) I’m looking forward to a nap and knit on the plane, but I wanted to update you on what happened with the wheel.
Putting it together, it turns out, was pretty easy. It was together and almost spinning really quickly. Getting it together right though? That took time – and I’m still not there.
I can spin on the wheel, but not well, and it skips and stalls. After a long conversation with Judith, I think I’ve solved about half of the problems, but I’ll need some new parts to solve others. Most of the problems have to do with the spindle. This works just like a drop spindle does. The spindle spins, and adds twist to the wool – whammo, you’ve got yarn. The whole wheel part is really just a drive system to keep the spindle spinning. The spindle is attached to the “mother-of-all” and then the wheels turn it with drive bands. That little wheel on top is an accelerator head, and I’m happy to have it.
It used to be that the spindle was attached to the mother of all with strips of leather that were held in place with little wooden plugs in the back. I didn’t have any leather, so I just tied them there, which didn’t work at all.
Then I got the brainwave to put buttons on the back so that I could tie them tighter, and that’s working a little better. The leather’s going to be the thing though.
The next problem was that the upright that held that whole setup wasn’t right. The drive band was rubbing the spindle, and that can’t happen. On the phone with Judith, texting pictures to her for reference, we pretty much got it licked. Joe’s dad had lovingly refinished the wheel, stripping off some old paint and cleaning it up, but in the process had removed the wear marks that would tell me how the pieces were put together, and I’d erred on the side of gentleness. An hour later I was whacking the uprights in a lot tighter, and things were starting to fit better.
It’s nowhere near ready, and there’s going to be more work yet getting it really going, but I’m super excited about it. I think I can get this wheel so that it runs really well, and I love the idea of something so old coming back to a useful life. I haven’t figured out yet where you put a wheel this big in a house this tiny, but right now it’s in the dining room- which is totally not a long term solution, because it’s pretty fragile, and I think Lou is going to have a really hard time keeping his hands off it. I’ll figure it out though.
All right! I’d tell you more, but they’re calling my flight. Next stop, Colorado!
(PS. The November Retreat at Port Ludlow is open for registration. The theme is “Emergency 911” and we’ll have knitting rescue and repair (that’s me teaching) Spinning rescue and repair (that’s Judith MacKenzie) and knitter/spinner rescue and repair, and that’s Carson Demers. He’s a physiotherapist/knitter/spinner. Amazing guy.) If you’d like to know a little more, you can look at our Facebook page, or email us at Strungalong@yarnharlot.ca. We’d love to tell you about it.)