My spinning wheel arrived on Wednesday. I was so excited that Ray and I opened the box immediately and I stared lovingly at my box full of packing peanuts. Well, that was all that was visible at first, but with diligent fumbling by Ray (I couldn't reach into the depths of the box) we withdrew from the blankety-blank packing peanuts the many parts of an Ashford Traditional SD spinning wheel.
We contemplated the pieces of wood and some metal, the with baggies of tiny oddments, plus a sheet of paper with screws taped to it, and scratched our heads. I went online and looked for assembly instructions, which I found, but could not understand. Then we picked up all the pieces and gently put the back into the box, atop the blankety-blank packing peanuts and decided that I would have to call for help.
The next day my sister came to my rescue. She did most of the work of assembling all the pieces with me putting in my two-cents worth, usually to late to prevent having to dismantle something. Such as realizing after the side rails were attached and the wheel on, that the rails were upside down. I think the most difficult part of the entire process was when sis was trying to get the locking pin lined up in the wheel.
Finally we were able to admire it. I treadled it a bit to try to get used to the rhythm. The drive band kept jumping off the wheel, to which my sister said, "that is an operator issue, my work here is done!". Isn't she just the best sister in the whole world? She certainly is to me!So, I went to the best source of information that I know of for all things yarn, MY PLURK PALS! I told them what the drive band was doing and I got a couple of responses to check my tension, which I tried to do until I realized that I didn't have any fiber on it yet, so that couldn't be the problem. Then Silver said that my wheel may not be lined up correctly with the flyer and winner, winner, chicken dinner, that was it! I made the adjustment and there was no more trouble.
After treadling for a little while longer, I tried to decide what would be the first fiber that I would try to spin. I was having so much trouble with the decision that I simply decided to spin the first fiber that was gifted to me for a wheel warming. That was the mystery fiber that Knitting Dragon sent to me.
It was not easy at first, and it was not looking as good as my first drop spindle yarn, but it was going much faster. As I kept spinning, it started to get a little more even, and not as bulky or awkward. By the time all the fiber was spun up it was beginning to look like my spindle spun yarn! Unfortunately, my legs had begun to swell from not being elevated (I have lymphdema), so I had to stop for the evening.
Today, I re-watched videos on how to Navajo ply (which I had never been able to do with a spindle) and then went for it. Again, it started out really rough, but as I went along it started to become very rhythmic and by the time I was done, I was feeling pretty good about Navajo plying. The final result is not the best yarn in the world, but it is mine and I love it. It is not even and ranges from a DK weight to a bulky weight 3 play yarn. It is approximately 30 yards of yarn.
Now it is hanging to dry in my living room, so that I can look at it. I am trying to decide what little thing I can knit from it as a keep sake. When I knit it up, I will post a picture here so that you can see the grand finally of my first spinning wheel project.
Finally, I can't say enough about the amazing woman who sold the wheel to me and all the trouble she went through to get it to me. She is an amazing person and fellow raveler, and I am eternally grateful to her.