14 April 2012

More from Grandma Shirley the Great Wheel

I’ve been doing more spinning on the great wheel, as I have been feeling inclined to do a bit of walking back and forth in front of the fireplace.
This is what I have accomplished so far: the skein is the first ‘real yarn’ I spun on the great wheel, 152 metres of very nice, very soft fluffy yarn. The two little cones of singles are yesterday’s spinning – some of which I was working on while I did the video, and the rest of which I did up after supper. It really doesn’t take long at all to fill a cop (that’s the name for this little mini-cone, for the non-spinners in the crowd).

Today, I tried a new technique for plying: I made a plying ball. This seems like a wasteful extra step: you take the two singles and wind them together, under tension, onto something else (I used my lovely nostepinne, which is sadly underutilized now that I have a ball winder). The idea is to get the two singles lined up next to one another with all the tangles taken out before you start the plying process, which twists the two against one another. If your singles are stored on bobbins, and you have a tensioned lazy kate, this is not a big issue as the tension on the bobbins tends to keep the excess twist that singles need to have under control. With the singles just on a cone of paper, though, they were a bit unruly, and taking the time to wind up a plying ball made the process of plying at the wheel extremely relaxing.
I suspect that it takes the same amount of time, overall, but the frustration level is less: when I’m plying on the great wheel, I have my singles on the floor, and I’m not able to keep them evenly under tension like I do when I’m plying from my Lazy Fred or my shoebox kate at the wheel, as I keep moving around, changing the amount of tension on the yarn between my hand and the bobbins on the floor. So, the plying ball takes just a little bit of time and then I can dance at the wheel, my rhythm never interrupted by tangles in the yarn.
Here’s the second batch of yarn, measured out on the awesome PVC niddy noddy my father-in-law made for me:

The second skein is now hanging up to dry (giving the finished yarn a somewhat abusive bath in hot and cold water then whacking the skein on the bathtub several times really improves the finished yarn). This batch came out to 105 metres of yarn, so that’s 257 metres overall, spun in remarkably little time, and I’m quite happy about it. That’s enough yarn to do a pair of socks or mittens, a decently slouchy hat, a smallish shawl, or a child’s vest. Or a teddy bear.
I’ve lots more to spin though, so who knows what this will end up becoming!


  1. made me smile ;-)

  2. And I thank you for teaching me the wheel dance! :)

  3. Nathan & Dawn5:04 pm

    I might not know much about knitting, but cute is pretty much universally identifiable. And that teddy bear is adorable! :)

  4. Isn't that bear just perfect?

    It's the classic "Bear". I may have to make one. :)


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