The other wheel.

I’m not sure what prompted it, but I decided to get out my other spinning wheel today. The wheel I use almost exclusively is a Lendrum, but I also have a Schacht Matchless. And today, I unearthed it from the unspeakable mess that is (was) my office and dragged it (gently) into the living room.


(I think my project for next week—spring break, that is—very well might be to set that disaster of a room back to rights. I’ll save that for another post.)

See that brown yarn on the bobbin? I knew there was more where that came from. I just knew there was a whole other bobbin full of that yarn and a chunk of fiber left to be spun, thus ensuing even more rummaging around in the rubble. Half an hour later, I finally found it, and I prepared to start spinning.

I’m not going to lie; I was a little nervous. The Matchless, being double-drive and all, is an entirely different animal from the Lendrum. I thought it might be out of tune after a few years of neglect, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it adjusted. I was worried I just wouldn’t be able to spin on it.

I saw down, drafted out some of the fluffly BFL wool, started treadling, and voila! I was in business. It didn’t squeak or squawk. It didn’t yank the wool out of my hands, nor did it spin out into a loose mess. I kept thinking, This is just gliding along like butter! And it was.

When I bought this wheel, I bought the spinning fiber with it—four ounces each of the brown and of the white/brown blend seen in the background. I bought this wheel and that fiber with a plan. (A plan?!) Spin each color into singles and ply them together.

I don’t know what happened. I just walked away from it.


And then today, I came back.

I do have a suspicion about what happened. I think I was having trouble solving the bobbin problem. See, I only have four bobbins. If it takes two bobbins to spin up each of the colors, what am I going to ply onto? As I spun the remaining brown fiber, I pondered this question.

The most obvious (yet least satisfying) answer is to buy more freaking bobbins. Well, yeah. But they’re not that cheap. And somehow I have it in my mind that I am going to spin through this stuff in approximately 2.5 minutes, so how am I going to get these mythical extra bobbins shipped to my house that fast? See my problem?

Then I had an idea: What if I filled my third bobbin with white/brown yarn (remember, the first two bobbins are preoccupied with solid brown), and then instead of spinning white/brown onto the fourth bobbin, I start plying the two together on that fourth bobbin?

(Did you follow that?)

Then, as I was finishing spinning the brown and still had a half-empty second bobbin, I had another idea: What if, instead of switching to the third bobbin to start the white/brown, I just fill up the rest of this second bobbin with it?

Whoops, the yarn missed a hook there on the flyer!


I tried to think of ways that could go wrong. The only thing I could think of was this: So I’ll probably have three bobbins of yarn—one with all brown, one with all white/brown, and one that is half brown and half white/brown. If I start plying the all-brown bobbin with the all-white/brown, one of those bobbins is going to run out first, and if it is the brown one, I’ll be stuck because the rest of the brown will be buried under the white/brown. Of course, I could wind the intervening yarn onto the newly empty bobbin, but what a pain in the rear.

The most logical thing, I think, is to start plying the all-brown bobbin with the half-and-half bobbin, and that above crisis should be averted.

Other than that, I couldn’t think of a reason not to have two singles on the same bobbin, so I went with it!

There I go again, missing that last hook! Weird!

I just attached the white/brown to the brown and continued as if it is the same yarn. I mean, I guess it is.

So…this whole plying business could get hairy, especially since I will have eight ounces and just one free bobbin to ply on for a while.

Another option would be to ply with the Lendrum. I have a jumbo flyer for it—with jumbo plying bobbins. I just really want this project to be done with the Matchless.

We shall see.

•••

Meanwhile, Firebolt is still in action. Today, I was knitting on it in public, in the hospital lobby.


No one said anything, as often happnes, but a few people were eyeing me. Maybe it was because I had my earbuds in—the universal sign for Don’t speak to me. I wasn’t trying to be unfriendly. I was just finishing listening to the most recent episode of Dear Hank and John.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

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