I've been plowing away at my latest spinning almost without incident, although this time I'm trying for as thin as possible so there's been a lot of broken yarn and angry putting away of the project until it behaves.
Today's milestone is that I hit the halfway point on this fiber, which I want to 2-ply, so it's time to start another copp (and not a moment too soon as this one was starting to get unstable).
Here we are this afternoon. From the left: a 100ml separatory funnel for scale, the roughly 2 oz of single, my new spindle (more on that in a sec), and the remaining fiber (merino/tussah by Ashland Bay).
I'm pretty happy with how this single has spun up. I've been paying a lot of attention to getting a consistent amount of fiber in my drafting triangle, and working hard on staying as thin as feels stable. I'm still working out good copp shape; as you can see I had a bit of a collapse at the bottom on this one, so for the next half I'm going to try criss-crossing the single as I wind it on.
So, the new spindle. A Bosworth midi, purchased this afternoon at Carolina Homespun, where the charming and efficient Morgaine showed me an endless stream of wheels (well, about six of them) while handling customers, friends, and a cat who was doing laps around the house. Her shop is amazing and if you ever get a chance to see it, you must.
Anyway, I felt the need for a nicer spindle then either of my two (heavier) Schacht spindles, and this was sort of in the middle of what I felt was a nice weight/shape range. Also, it means I now have enough spindles to make a 2-ply yarn without winding off onto skewers.
As far as the wheel tryout went, I'm down to three. I loooooooved the Reeves 30". It spins like fricking buttah. I could spin on that puppy forever. I felt moisturized when I got up. That was how nice it was. However, it is also $1600 in the configuration I tried (cherry wood; it's cheaper to get ash, but not, like, I'll take two cheaper).
Somewhat less expensive was the Lendrum folding wheel. It spun really nicely and reacted to me just the way I expected. An awesome wheel, and it has a bunch of additional ratios to allow me to spin faster (and thus finer). Or the Schacht Matchless, which spun equally as well (but doesn't have the option of such high ratios). But if I were going to (ahem) have two wheels, one being the Reeves Buttah, it would make more sense to have the other be a folding wheel that would be more portable.
So I think I'm going to dither over this for a while, mostly deciding whether to get the Lendrum with high-speed kit or just the plain Lendrum.
In the meantime, I'm not totally without resources. I have this "placeholder" wheel to tide me over until I know what I really want (and one thing I really want is to have the orifice on the other side of the wheel). It's a Clemes & Clemes from the 70's, double-drive, single treadle. (Clemes & Clemes is a Bay Area wheel maker, and they just recently re-started making wheels.) It needed some repair but nothing not obvious (the drive band had inexplicably been attached in such a way that it could not work and no sensible person would expect it to, one of the bobbins was unglued, and there was a ridiculous amount of fiber wedged into the wheel hub). My main job lately has been oiling it, endlessly.
It's working OK. Morgaine gave me some good pointers about how to arrange myself in front of it to make it work better, and suggested I use a heavier oil. In the meantime, I admit that I find it so frustrating that I often find myself just using the spindle because it is so much easier and less of a hassle.
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