A Full House

August 29, 2015

Good morning and happy Saturday! This weekend we have a rare convergence of both doggie and human houseguests. Usually it’s one or the other. Our doggie houseguests arrived yesterday afternoon and usually get themselves settled in pretty quickly. This time is a little different, mostly because Halo is new to our pack. They’ve met her before on afternoon visits with their humans, but this is their first sleepover. Having five dogs in bed last night was challenging, and there was a lot of jockeying for positions. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep last night.
Robert and Kevin, our human houseguests, arrive from Maine this afternoon. Robert is a knitter but not yet a spinner, although I am working on that. On their last visit he left with some of my handspun that he made beautiful mittens with. Perhaps this visit he’ll catch the spinning bug and give it a try. There are certainly enough wheels in the house for him to test drive, and that lineup changed a little bit over the last week.

As I suspected, my brother wanted to take my folding Lendrum home after his visit last week to test drive it more. He found the double treadle and the upright orientation of the wheel very comfortable, so I sent him home with the wheel, lazy kate, several empty bobbins, and more fiber to practice with. I hope he’s been practicing every day like I told him to.

The Clemes and Clemes Modern wheel on the left is sort of a grandson to my Cardarelle upright.

Just a few days later, another wheel joined my herd. My friend Joe Wilcox wrote about his flea market find on his blog and Tuesday night he stopped by to drop off this awesome little spinning wheel.

This is a Clemes and Clemes Modern wheel and quite a handsome one at that. I have always admired this wheel for its looks and I’ve seen them with a variety of finishes, often with hand painted designs. This one was finished with a medium dark stain but because the wood was so dry, it looked a little flat. A couple treatments with some rejuvenating oil changed that, and the flat finish is now a rich brown with just a bit of luster. I love how the surface of the drive wheel reflects light as it spins.

While this spinning wheel is small in stature, it weighs more than any other wheel I own, and is probably one of the sturdiest wheels I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard critiques from folks about plywood spinning wheels. Most of those critiques are about the aesthetics of plywood, and I get that it’s not a look everyone finds appealing. It certainly makes for an awesome drive wheel on the Modern. While it’s just 16 inches in diameter which might seem small, the Modern’s drive wheel is a solid piece of plywood about 1.5 inches thick which makes it quite heavy for its size and gives it great momentum.

So far there is only the one bobbin that it came with, but considering the fantastic deal that Joe got on this wheel, is still quite okay. Clemes and Clemes are still making this model, and I plan to order a few new bobbins as well as a lazy kate. There is a higher speed flyer pulley available that I may get too. The ratios, even with the higher speed pulley, are still pretty low, so this wheel may not be the best choice for making very fine yarns. It will do it, just not quickly.

However, it is going to make a great student wheel which is my primary plan for it and at some point in the future, perhaps at next year’s Men’s Spring Knitting retreat, it will go home with a new spinner in need of a wheel.

That’s all for this morning. I’d like to say that I’m going to get some spinning done now, but I have a million things to do before the house fills up with more people later. There will be time for spinning later, and maybe time for making a new spinner out of my friend Robert.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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