Monthly Archives: October 2015

Schacht Reeves review

If you’re not a spinner don’t even bother with this post, indeed even if you are a spinner but aren’t interested in wheel reviews or Schacht don’t bother.

Ok, I did warn you.

Lady Mary

As some of you may already know, collecting (ahem) spinning wheels is kind of my ‘thing’. They’re quite an expensive thing to acquire really, sometimes I wish I had stopped at rosewood knitting needles…

But, I am who I am, and it is sort of my job. Well that’s how I justify see it anyway.

My latest, and long awaited, wheel is a 30″ Schacht Reeves in ash.

So I thought I’d write a little review as when I was looking at buying this wheel, I trawled the internet endlessly trying to find out how other spinners liked, or didn’t like, theirs.

Living in the far North of Scotland means that I rarely get to try out equipment prior to buying, however a new Schacht dealer has opened up near Inverness of all places. Lochness Spindle are a small business set up by Olga and Peter after she fell in love with Schacht products. When Olga offered me the chance to try her wheel, a beautiful cherry SR, I couldn’t say no. Needless to say, I was instantly smitten and would’ve driven off with her wheel given half a chance.

It’s a saxony wheel and the only non-custom built wheel that offers a right hand flyer, as well as the more usual left. This makes spinning for us lefties much easier and it was the main selling point for me initially. Schacht offer a choice of wheel sizes (24″ and 30″) as well as double or single treadles and the choice of woods. They are made to order and the wait is around eight weeks. The 30″ model offers a huge range of ratios from 14.5:1 to 38.5:1, with a superhigh speed whorl (bought separately), so it is fast.

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She is beautifully made. The photo above shows the scotch tension adjuster (not in use as I use double drive), carved from rosewood. Everything is wood, apart from the brass flyer shaft, wheel mechanism and leather flyer things (I’m so sorry about my lack of knowledge but not sorry enough to go and look the correct term up) (I’m equally sorry about my poor photographs, they are shockingly bad. I try to edit them to look reasonable but end up with effects like the really dodgy vignette outline in the first photo) and the bobbins are things of beauty in themselves. There are well thought out touches like the groove you can see above, to wind your working yarn end around for safe keeping and a convenient hole for storing the orifice threader. It’s relatively easy to change bobbins, you just flip the leather flyer holder off the flyer shaft, the trick is to hold the drive band while doing this so you don’t have to reinstall it which can be a faff. It comes with three bobbins and a lazy kate (untensioned disappointingly, especially since the Matchless one is).

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So how does it spin? It’s very smooth and quiet, the treading is light which was a little unexpected for such a large wheel. I find it easier than my other wheels and the treadles are huge so I can change position slightly when spinning for a while. It is fast but not intimidatingly so. I started off with the largest whorl while we got to know each other and found it very comfortable, too slow for my usual spinning but we made a gorgeous skein of duck egg blue merino/cashmere that I had been saving especially for my first spin.

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It’s more of a 4ply weight rather than my usual frog hair yarn.

do find the flyer vibrates at higher (although not that high) speeds, an issue that I had been warned about prior to buying it. So far I don’t mind this as it sounds and feels like the wheel is purring which is actually quite cute. It could become annoying though and an issue that a top end wheel really shouldn’t have.

Ultimately, she has captured my heart, I’m able to overlook any flaws as she is just so beautiful and all I want to do right now is spin spin spin. So I’ll see you in about a years time…

Wild Apple

I can’t hold off any longer. I really did mean to wait until I took some half decent photos, in daylight, with an actual camera rather than my phone, and actually wearing it but I have to show you.

Four months, on toothpicks, aka 2.5mm needles with hand dyed angora merino yarn in lots of greens and reds, and it’s finally finished. And IT FITS!!

Enough wittering, I’ll just show you my shabby excuses for photos:

  
the yarn and  pattern from Angora Garnet (here

  
The beginning of the stranded yoke

  
The yoke all finished

  
The first arm…

  
The inside of the colourwork

  
  
And done. Now what shall I do next?

Hello again

dip dyed banana silk

dip dyed banana silk

Morning world. I’m dip dyeing some baby alpaca for a weft this morning so while it’s ‘cooking’ I thought I’d catch up with you all.

I’ve found a reluctance to blog recently, hence my absence for a couple of weeks or so. One of the joys of getting older is that I find it so much easier to allow myself not to do something if I don’t want to.  I’ve also found it difficult to blog on an emotional level.

I have been incredibly impacted by the enormous human crisis occurring as the result of wars, persecution and poverty. Blogging about yarn has seemed trite and meaningless in comparison to that; which of course it is.

However, I am essentially powerless (apart from the tiny gesture of donating goods and money) and am not a skilled social commentator so all I can do is distract myself, and you hopefully, for a few moments, so we maintain our sanities.

Right…on with the usual drivel…

  
I am very happy with the current project on Ollie, called ‘Joy’, a dazzling blend of rich colours, that quietly glows in the studio. It’s a 6-shaft crackle draft taken directly from here and is fairly stress-free to weave, as the selvedges are nice and neat with no long floats.

It will make two baby wraps, both have homes already and there may be a little scrap left over that I’m tempted to keep for myself, just to make me smile when I see it. I like the idea of framing scraps as it would be a good way of displaying them, so who knows it may end up on a wall.

OK, I think my alpaca is nearly done so thank you for joining me and if you’re so inclined say a little prayer for those with more important things to think about than yarn.