Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Infinite Revolutions

A couple of weekends ago a co-worker and I went to a spinning class at a local studio space.  (Spinning yarn; not like, on a bicycle in a gym.  Which is what my roommate Chrissy thought.  C'mon, I ride my bike everyday, why would I need  class??)  

I LOVE spinning yarn.  I've been doing it for about three years: using a drop spindle and mostly pre-prepped roving.  I've finally gotten proficient enough to determine the thickness of my yarn, and to keep an entire skein even.  But as of yet, I haven been
 unable to make multi-plied yarn.  Also, spinning by hand takes forever.   So... I REALLY want a spinning wheel.  (At left is my current set up:  Marino roving, spindle I *cough: stole!* from MICA, and some finished, sparkly, yarn: similar to the yarn I gave Nellie for Christmas!)

I found out about the class a couple of months ago: originally it was supposed to be a multi week, step by step class, using both drop spindles and spinning wheels.  But, apparently not enough people signed up, so the class ended up being an informal spinning bee with an informative "class" before it.

About 12 women showed up: half of them toting a variety of spinning wheels, the other half carrying nothing except anticipation.  Those who were there to learn were outfitted with drop-spindles and  the instructors stash wool while the experienced spinners set up and got started.

I was the youngest woman in the room by, like, 15-20 years.  And I wanted them ALL to be my mentor.  (I know people my age spin!  Where are they all?  We should have a spinning bee of our own!)  You know that feeling when you're really excited and you can't keep still and you're like a 4 year old, bouncing around, attention span completely shot?  I was like that.  I wanted to
 look at the fancy wheels, the simple wheels, the electric spinning machine!   

This woman had just moved to Philly from Montana.  At the moment, she didn't have a great place to live, or many fibers friends.  She said that she spent most of her time lying in bed, cat on one side, dog on the other, spinning yarn on her electric spinning machine!  Sounds comfortable, albeit a little lonely.  Here, she is plying a wool yarn she'd been spinning for a few days.

Eventually, I annoyed the spinners so much that the instructor brought out a wheel that I could try.  And... I sucked at it.  I mean, I SUCKED at it.  I couldn't get the yarn to wind around the bobbin, so it just kept twisting and twisting.  And the wheel sucked in my fiber faster than I could separate and prep it, so the yarn was completely uncontrolled:  THICK, thin.... THICK...  Not even slubby.  Just sucky.  I made this little skein of reallllly over twisted yarn.  Totally unusable.  But... I am not one to be discouraged easily.  Sort of.  (This is a Louet Victoria: one of the more simple and portable wheels on the market.  I thought that would make it a little cheaper, but no.  $600!  Fucker!)

The secret motivation behind my fascination?  I really REALLY REALLY want to build a spinning wheel out of a bicycle.  (really bad.)  Rachel Faller's boyfriend did it last summer and I covet it with the passion of a thousand biblical sins.  Unfortunately, I don't know anything about spinning on wheel.  Also, I never took physics.  And I don't have a welding studio?  I know, it seems grim, but I am determined!  So here's my dilemma:  I got some money for christmas specifically for the purchase of either a new sewing machine (the tension on mine is fucked) or a spinning wheel.  Should I just suck it up and buy a cheap, used wheel to practice on?  And collect the bike parts separately?  Or should I go ahead, teach myself physics, and forge on with my bicycle scheme?  I'm so torn.  Help!

In the meantime... I have just a few other projects I can work on....

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh my dear Nora,

Get a second-hand wheel for now and learn what makes it tick. that way you will know what you want out of your bicycle model. After that you can help me build a loom.