Saturday, May 23, 2009

Late Introduction

BOYOBOY, this post is long overdue. Allow me to introduce you to my spinning wheel, my Kromski Sonata, living with me since early January, and becoming a major part of my life.

spinning wheel

Getting a wheel was not in the short term plan. In fact, there was no plan. It was only October that I bought a little drop spindle, thinking I would tinker with it for a bit before deciding whether I even liked spinning I never mentioned wanting a wheel. I never even sat down in front of one. I had not attempted to spin on a wheel and quite frankly, I was a little wheel shy.

My friends kept telling me eventually, I would succumb. They tempted me by showing me their lovely yarns and clucking on and on about it all is. I resisted temptation. I played around a bit with the spindle, but I didn't feel like it would really catch on. In fact, the few lame attempts I made with the spindle left me a bit...ambivalent. Like I just didn't think I was that into it. After a few weeks of dabbling, I went back to knitting, and simply put the idea of spinning on the back burner.

Kromski Sonata set up

All throughout the fall months I was deep into other projects and then whoosh, Christmas was just around the corner so lots of little knitting projects were on my mind and on the needles. Oh, yea and then there was the complete collapse of the entire global economic system that had me feeling pretty pretty pretty gloomy. To say the least. I slogged through the Christmas season and figured, BAH - I gotz the knitting and that's enough for now.

Kromski Sonata (3)

So to say that receiving a spinning wheel for my birthday was a complete surprise is the understatement of the century. It is a rare thing to render me speechless, but speechless I was. Thunderstruck. Floored. Amazed. Incredulous. These words begin to approximate how my response upon learning the news that a spinning wheel was being delivered any day.

I mean, there were no whisperings of wheel desire, no wistful comments about wheels I had seen, no expression of serious intent to own a wheel. In recollection, there was NADA discussion whatsoever. So you can imagine how my husband blew my mind when he said he went on the Internets to research the options. How he landed on the Kromski line and chose it because "it looked pretty". He liked the classical turnings and the walnut finish. He thought it would "match our house nicely". Okay, WOW. He decided on the portable model after discussing with a dealer and realized there's lots of potential when one can have wheel and travel. Such a practical guy sometimes! What a great choice!!

Kromski in parts

Yes, I was amazed. And I was completely intimidated. Seriously. In waaaay over my head. But I didnt' want to admit that to him, so I said nothing.

The wheel sat in it's packing for a week or so until I could muster up the courage to unpack it and put it together. Then it sat in my little office for a week while I messed around with the treadles and watched a few YouTube videos on spinning. It was around this time that I got serious about the spindle. I figured I needed to learn how to draft the fiber and suddenly the spindle seemed a bit less intimidating when compared to the wheel. Strange, how my little brain works.

That's how the lumpy green Cormo yarn came into being. Call it the intimidation yarn because I made it almost as a way to avoid making yarn with the wheel. Crazy, right? Yea, thought so.

First Yarn

Husband kept looking at me a bit weird like he was trying to figure out when I would start spinning. I made some excuses about how I needed to practice on other things before diving in. He kept his mouth shut but I'm sure he wondered if he had made a mistake. I wondered it too.

Until I finally sat down late one Saturday evening and started to play. And before I knew it, I was spinning some singles. They were a bit of a mess, the tension was too high, the drafting was lame, the first attempts were not pretty. I imagine everyone's first yarns are similar.

fiber wheel and hanspun 066

But it was SUCH A RUSH. Like when I was back in high school experimenting with... oh, never mind. You know. That kind of rush. Only better. Oh man, I would spin for a little while and the intensity of so many things happening at once would reach a crescendo and I'd have to stop and walk away for a few minutes. My brain was exploding. It was too much to absorb and I could only take it in short intervals. I was up till around 3AM blowing my mind that night.

Imagine husband's relief when weeks later I announced to him how much I LOVE spinning yarn with this wheel and how this is the perfect wheel to learn the craft. He did good. Really really good. My friends look upon him with a sense of amazement (he digs that big time).

It's safe to say I have since succumbed to the siren call of the fiber. I joined fiber clubs and started to receive the most amazing shipments of rovings and dyed fiber. I started stalking independent fiber sellers and cruised flickr to see what gorgeous yarn was possible.

Fiber Collection

And I got a bit more serious about learning more. I turned to two books in particular, "The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn" by Judith MacKenzie McCuin and "Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn", by Maggie Casey. These became my subway reading for about a month. People stared at me. It's not every day people are reading books about spinning yarn while commuting, let's face it. Most people are content with consumer novels and Sudoku puzzlers. I'd go to bed with these books and fall asleep reading passages over and over, committing the information to memory.

So. In these months I've thought lots about spinning and knitting. What they mean to me. How I relate to them. Knitting was love at first sight. I fell head over heels in love. I took that first class and there was no looking back. That was three years ago. It became my salvation in many ways, too many to go into here. Spinning on the other hand, was a slow burn. I needed to be around it a bit before I made up my mind. I needed to spend time getting to know spinning. This is a love that grew over time. It's still growing and still evolving. Both kinds of love work. Both endure. They arrive at the same place from different paths. And I have room for both.

Kromski Sonata - flyer and mother of all


Sarah B. said...

What a fantastic hubby you have! I mentioned to mine the other day how great hand-dyed yarns are and he asked why I haven't tried that. What a can of worms he might just open!

Bethany said...

Oh, boy, he has earned so many good husband points! That is the best present EVER, especially with all the research he did!

A Kromski was one of my two choices when I was looking for a wheel. They are so pretty to look at, too! It just happened that I was able to get my hands on a Lendrum first.

This was a great post. Thanks for sharing the story.

barefoot rooster said...

oh, yay. glad to see this fantastic story on the blog!

Oiyi said...

What a great story of how you got your first wheel! Your husband is awesome! I keep telling my husband that the wheel is the one of the best presents he ever got me. Though my story is different since I pickd it out myself. But like you, I never spoke about wanting to spin AT ALL. Frankly, my few lame attempts at spindle spinning left me not liking the craft at all. But when we saw someone spinning at a local fair, he innocently asked if I would want a wheel. Now, I am addicted! I love spinning on the wheel.

Marie said...

As usual, it's like visiting a new and nice planet when I read your posts. Spinning! Wow...:-)

And the connection with the Gowanus Garden and your husband...with you the link. I like blog world.

Estorbo says perhaps Rudi can be an honorary cat. And he likes the idea of all that nice yarn.

Katie M. said...

Wow. What a wonderful story -- thanks for sharing. I can't wait to hear more about your adventures with your wheel.

Anonymous said...

Nice Post. I am glad that you can see it clearly

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Such an awesome post! So cool to read about your new interest:)