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Plunge

Through the stunned afternoon, when it's too hot to think
and the muse of this inland ocean still waits for a name,
and from the salt, dark room, the tight horizon line
catches nothing, I wait. Chairs sweat. paper crumples the floor.
A lizard gasps on the wall. The sea glares like zinc.
Then, in the door light: not Nike loosening her sandal,
but a girl slapping sand from her foot, one hand on the frame.

Walcott, Midsummer XXV

In the right mood, the prosaic looms mythic and immense.

Spinning is good for me, I think. The breathing, the rhythm, the tiny adjustments of hands or feet to maintain consistency, the ability to see with the fingers - improvement at these things seems to me to come from deep intimacy between producer and process and product, from long experience, from plain old practice. Less room for scholarship and pedantry; more for doing. I'm absolutely forbidding myself to go about this in the way I do everything else - no excessive treadle-counting or twist angle-checking for me - and instead, to try any and everything I can, avoiding freaking out about waste or imperfections and learning from the mistakes. Monumental, in its way.

When I first started thinking about buying a wheel (which happened with rather alarming speed after my very first encounter with a spindle), I decided that portability and versatility were my biggest priorities. As I did some research, though, it became clear that true portability necessarily comes at the expense of drive wheel size and, hence, versatility. At Maryland Sheep and Wool, at Spinning Day at The Mannings, I tried all kinds of wheels - nearly all the Ashfords, the adorable Merlin Hitchhiker, Louets, and lots of others. The Lendrum was high on my list for a long time - pretty portable, lots of ratios - but then I sat down at the Schacht.

I'm happy that it'll do everything I'll ever want to do, of course, but my reaction to it was a lot more visceral, more intuitive, than I expected. Everything about it is immensely appealing to me, on a level I can't quite explain - the sturdiness of the build, the heft of the wood, the way the flyer assembles, the responsiveness to the smallest adjustments. It feels precise, know what I mean? There's nothing crude about it - and on top of everything else, I think it's a great-looking piece of furniture.

So now, it's here, and I couldn't be more pleased (June, Amie, and Chris at Clover Hill all gave hugely valuable advice in this - thank you so much!).

I guess I'm not much used to extravagance - it must have gone to my head, since I went kind of crazy at the store today. I've got:

More bedtime reading than you can shake a stick at;

Luscious alpaca in a warm, naturally tweedy brown;

The most lustruous, softest, daintiest silk top you ever saw - I'm thinking of dyeing this in deep, tonal shades of blue and green for a shawl pattern I've been dreaming about;

And some Euroflax in this delicious melony color (curiously named terra cotta - not in my world, it isn't) for a pattern I'm anxious to start working out. Sketching and swatching tonight...that is, if I can tear myself away from the wheel for two or three minutes altogether.

Knitting

There has been a little knitting around here - just a very little though, in the form of (gasp!) socks. Test-knitting, in fact, for a charming little set of patterns coming this week.

Administrivia

For the third time in as many weeks, some enterprising spammer has cleverly put my email into the "reply to" field of his messages. This spells annoyance for lots of people, I'm sure - not least for me, having gotten thousands of returned emails from bad addresses in the space of a few hours each time. If you've sent me an actual email in the past few days, it may very well have been thrown out with the mass junk deletions I've had to do - please do try again!

Comments

Oooh, now I want to spin more than ever. I have had a spindle and a little sample of roving that I bought off ebay for over a year now, but I have no one to show me how to use it, and I don't know how feasible it is to learn from written directions off the Internet. Not that I have tried all that hard, knowing full well that when I figured it out, it would be the start of another expensive and time-consuming addiction.

And you're right, a wheel is a fabulous piece of furniture. I'll just live vicariously through you for a little while yet!

I can hardly wait to see what you do with the Euroflax - I have a bunch waiting to be a skirt.

Congratulations on your wheel, Eunny! The Schacht is just awesome. I used one in my spinning class and absolutely loved it. It's a beautiful, sturdy wheel. Happy spinning!

Congratulations! ENJOY!

I felt the same way about my schacht. Beautiful, precise, well made. It's served me well for about 4 years now.
I don't find it too hard to carry around, I even tow it in my bike trailer.

I applaud your visceral approach. Intuition is what your brain does when there are many factors in a problem.

Do you have favorite music to spin to? I'm on a Pink Floyd kick, but need some new spinning music.

How exciting! Nothing like some extravagant shopping. Have fun!

I am honored I got to be there to see the new baby firmly seatbelted into your car. Thank you for allowing me and my Lendrum Germs to breathe the same air. Who knows? Maybe you got a little Norm Hall dripped on you, too....

Welcome to the wonderful world of spinning. I've been in this part of the fibre world for over 30 years, and still enjoy the thrill of finding a new and exciting fibre to work with, as well as the fine sense of working up an article from the raw materials.

Fantastic, Eunny! That Twisted Sisters book will point you in the direction of intuitive, relaxed spinning. It's one of my absolute favourites. Enjoy the Schacht!

So are we ever going to see you again? I'm pretty sure you're going to love spinning so much that we might not hear from you.

Congrats! Now, do you feel like naming it?

Congratulations!

Head-first. That's definitely the way to do it. Good for you. Beautiful wheel!

Socks? I'm excited (It's the summer of socks for me)!

And spammers suck. Like mean people.

Congratulations on your wheel! It's beautiful!

"Spinning Designer Yarns" is a wonderful resource. Another good one is "Handspinner's Workbook: Fancy Yarns" by Mable Ross. I'll warn you up front that's it's pretty technical but it's another great resource.

Let your ISP know that this is happening. They should be able to set up the mail server so it doesn't accept bounces (emails) it (the mail server) didn't sent. In other words, emails that didn't originate from you, won't be sent to you even though they *seem* to be coming from your email address.

I have never gotten the spinning bug. It worries me. I am, however really interested in weaving--no capital outlay there, right?

"...no excessive treadle-counting or twist angle-checking for me..."

Excessive? OK. But you'll still do a little bit, won't you? :)

oh man! my schacht is the single best thing i ever bought myself—i am NOT kidding.
the benefits, both fibery and not, have greatly outweighed any initial hesitancy i had about spending so much on myself.
and then, its beauty as a modern icon . . . love

WOHO... You got a wheel!!!! It looks lovely in its new home. I can not wait to see what you do with the Euroflax. I have wondered about the fiber for awhile.

I just got a spinning wheel too and am finishing up my first hand spun skein. It's about 8oz of some wool I dyed myself. I ended up getting a Lendrum and have been spinning a ton. Can't wait to see some of what you make.

I love how spinning is challenging a new creative part of you. The wheel is artistry in itself, and your joy in it fairly leaps across the DSL line. Looking forward to seeing the sock patterns!

Your new spinning wheel is gorgeous - like antique sewing machines, they always look good in a home. I don't spin but the books, yarns and fleeces look fantastic. Enjoy :-)

That's terracotta!

Your spinning wheel is a beauty! It fits in your house just right, too.

Oh, I am envious of your silk top and the alpaca....

And I just bought the same color Euroflax last week! What do you plan to make with it?

Hey, didn't you get the niddy noddy, too?

I just got a Schacht too, as a second wheel. I sat down at it and had the same reaction you describe (visceral, and excellent word!). Spinning on it is a completely different experience than spinning on my Ashford. And it shows in the yarn I'm now making too.

You went back and got it! Hurray! Have a great time with it!

The girls at cloverhill love us this week.... or they love Amie! Congrats Midge!

Congratulations - I can vouch that it is an amazing wheel and will indeed do everything you need it to do - many happy hours of spinning!

Reading your blog always makes me want to knit. Like my fingers actually twitch to touch the needles. Of course this is a problem now because I am at work and my fingers need to be touching tubes and pipets.

Mmm, the Schacht. Enjoy it! I've been eyeing one myself, trying to convince myself that spending that much money on a wheel would be a good idea.

Good luck with the letting go while spinning. I find that to be rather difficult but ultimately the way to make the best yarn, or at least have the best experience while spinning.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the silk!

Oooh, how fabulous! I think the Schachts are gorgeous wheels. That will be my next one! I can't wait to see what you spin up. Have fun.

Socks? Socks?!?!? I had to smile. Maybe you haven't eluded the sock bug afterall...

I know it's asking a lot, but please post your adventures on the wheel. I may never own one, but then again, you never know. Stupid question time - why do people want to spin? Is it the measure of control and satisfaction involved, truly making something from beginning to end (other than growing the actual wool on your back)? Is it the economy of it? Do you save tons of money by buying roving and spinning it yourself? These are things I've been wondering. I'm strongly considering going to SAFF in October and *maybe* taking a hand spinning class while there.

I think you'll love the Schacht. It's a great choice. Like you, I tried many wheels before I settled on the Schacht and I've never looked back. The thing spins like a dream. Have fun!

Congratulations on your new addition! I hope you enjoy it!

I just ordered the Twisted Sisters sock book the other day and I've heard good things, so enjoy that too.

Can't wait to see the new patterns you're cooking up.

Congratulations. It is wonderful that you've gotten a wheel that you really love. Spinning is magical.

Looking forward to the sock patterns!

Congrats on your purchase!!! I believe spinning is the ultimate control of our own fantastic artistic medium! I bought an Ashford Traditional about a year ago and I simply adore it.. All other wheels made spinning too much of a chore, but the right wheel makes spinning a true delight.. Thank goodness there are so many options for us now!!!! I'm sure that silk will be yummy... You do need to check out the handpainted roving at Carolina Homespun.. Simply luscious!!!

A lovely wheel. Glad to hear that there has been sock knitting. Please let us all know if the euroflax is hard on your hands.

That tweedy brown alpaca makes me want to whip out my brush and comb -- it looks so much like my own hair! Enjoy your wheel and books and fiber -- I know you will.

I wanna learn to spin! I wanna a wheel! But drop spindles are relatively inexpensive, and I can hide it from hubby until I am deep into my new addiction.......Asked Hubby for sheep a while back. He just gave me the "sheep eye."

I've never regretted buying my Schacht. You're going to love spinning with it.

I'm so happy for you. :-) I'm waiting for my own new wheel to arrive, and the anticipation is positively gut-wrenching! May you have many happy hours getting to know the Schacht and producing exactly the kind of yarns that you envision clearly in your mind but can't find in any shop.

Congrats on your Schacht! I've had mine for a few months now and have been enjoying it's flexibility.

Hehehe... I picked up my first wheel on Wednesday. I just plied my first yarn on it. It's in the sink soaking. And here I thought I was doomed to spend my paychecks on yarn when I started knitting. I couldn't help myself the other day and have discovered Merino/Tussah. BTW, see if you can find some yak/merino to touch. It's hard not to just shove your face in it.

I feel your fever. And I know the speed at which a spinning wheel can appear.
But please fix the books on the shelves. They are crying out (can't you hear them) to be straightened, their spines in perfect alignment.
Go on, you'll feel really good when you're done/

There is a reason it is named "Matchless". I chose that wheel from the start as well, and as soon as I let myself buy one, that is the one I'm getting.

You will love the Twisted Sister sock book. It was one of the first spinning-related books I got and it is still a favorite. Which book is on the far left?

I know it wouldnt' be long before you got a wheel!

The In sheeps clothing book is fantastic! So much information!

A Schacht omg i'm so jellous. I have been searching for one at a price i can talk my husband into. I love the Schacht I used at my spinning class. Enjoy enjoy!

A tattler is worse than a thief... Jasper

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