Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Never Say Never

And never say never multiple times!
Back in 1998 I ran into Lucy’s shop holding a Knitter’s magazine over my head and proclaimed that “I need yarn!” So began my adventure in fiber.
At the time she was only open on weekends and didn’t have her wheel in the shop. At the time I had to be in Cambridge every Saturday and would spend my time in the shop watching her spin. When she asked if I would like to learn to spin I emphatically stated NO! I would never spin and would pay someone to do it.
About a year later, I felt this need come over me to try to spin. Lucy handed me a beginner drop spindle and some roving. I was hooked! Like most people I quickly figured out why it’s called a ‘drop’ spindle but I also quickly figured out how to use it. My problem was that I wanted to spin and not have to stop and wind up the single.
It only took about a month for me to order my first wheel. I needed one that was portable and could spin several weights. The Joy fit the bill to a tee. It took me almost 9 months to pay for it but the wait was worth it.
I could put down in the luggage bay along with my fiber and spend hours of quality time spinning in Foxwood’s bus parking lot. Although, the first time I was alone with it, far from Lucy’s help, it did not go well. I was ready to return it (in pieces no less)! With everything you have to remember about drafting the fiber, hand placement, coordinating the tread ling with your hands, etc I forgot she had casually mentioned that the roving had a bias and I needed to use one end. What I was getting was ‘novelty’ yarn. You know, thin and thick with huge lumps randomly thrown in. This was not how my yarn was coming out a couple of days earlier at the shop! Fortunately, I was able to get help and away I went.
Forward a few months later and Husband had asked what I wanted for Christmas. At the time, I wasn’t in lust with any particular thing so I told him I would let him know. That weekend I was sitting in the shop, spinning away when it hit me! I wanted a second wheel. And I wanted a Traditional. With the Lace Flyer! And I had the credit card with me.
Husband was at a buddy’s house watching the Pats and I caught him at half time. I told him that I wanted a second wheel and I had the credit card with me. No, I was not trading in the Joy. No I was not crazy. And no, it was not coming to the house until it was assembled.
It didn’t arrive in time for the holiday but just before my birthday. I used a honey oak stain with shellac to seal it, and then assembled it. It has served me well over the years.
I’ve spun progressively thinner 2 ply lace weight. I’ve been working with a beautiful natural Coopworth fleece that I got about 4 years ago. I hand washed it then separated the sections that seemed best for lace. When the mood strikes, I flick the locks gently and spin away. I estimate that I have about a thousand yards of 2 ply so far.
When I first started to spin, I had no plans to knit with my handspun. I just enjoyed the feel of the fiber in my hands and the product I was getting. I finally broke down about 2 years ago and started knitting small projects for certain family members, mostly Seaman’s scarfs.
My ultimate goal is to be able to knit a Shetland ‘wedding ring’ shawl using my handspun.
I have no plans to get another wheel but who knows. All it will take is the right place and the right time and I might come home with another!

And Husband? He didn’t understand why I ‘needed’ another wheel. So I asked him why he kept buying putters. And then it became clearer to him. And I get the secret pleasure of knowing that I have something to show for my money.

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