Monday, September 18, 2006

The Love Schacht

I'm a relatively new spinner only having started on a wheel this past January. I tried many wheels during my search and was a good girl waiting to buy one until I'd done my due diligence. I had a feeling that the Schacht would be the one for me (thanks to the Hopester for the endorsement) but after trying one at the Ontario Handspinning Seminar in June (I actually stalked a poor elderly lady who had one and begged her to let me try it) - I knew it was a fit. I've had my wheel since the beginning of July and we're still getting acquainted. I haven't named it - does that make me a bad mom? Here she is in her special corner after giving my husband's retro uber speakers the boot to the curb.

I love the wide treadles and it spins like a dream. I know it's more wheel than I need right now but I'm planning to learn as quickly as I can so I can be worthy of such a beautiful tool. I especially love the laminate wood design shown here. I could sit and gaze at it all day. I should be spinning on it all day and now that my business travel is out of the way for a while, hopefully I can. Right now I'm just futzing around getting familiar with the wheel and playing with plying (jeeze - that sounded positively Seuss) and getting a nice balanced yarn.

My goal is to spin enough lace weight to make a shawl. I'm getting thinner (the yarn not me) but to make a 2 ply lace weight, it will have to be darn thin. I've jumped right into spinning merino which I now discover ain't exactly the easiest fibre for a beginner to start with. Exactly what is the easiest fibre to start with? I read that Bluefaced Leicester and Coopworth are good because they have long staple fibres but are they nice to handle? I'm a soft girl and that's why the merino blend is my drug of choice.

I did play with some Handmaiden merino sliver which had been hand dyed in a colourway called "Origin". Oddly enough, I purchased the same colourway in their Sea Silk yarn when I was in Victoria B.C. in August. I didn't realize it was the same shade at first. It's interesting to see the difference that plying makes. Here is the Sea Silk and my handspun side by side. The handspun is on the right and the Sea Silk on the left (like any of you needed to be driven there...pretty easy to tell isn't it?). The sprig of ivy is my artsy attempt to jazz up the photo. It's a 2 ply done on the Lendrum I rented from my guild. I've yet to ply on my Schacht - that's next and I'm going to ply up two different colours of merino wools from different suppliers. Just to see the effect. I suspect that if I had Andean (chained singles) plied this - it would be less "Barber polelike" (I was going to say Barber polish but that may actually qualify as a racial slur). I'm having fun and being away from spinning, knitting and yoga all last week has made me unbalanced - I need to regroup.

The only drawback to the Schacht is its lack of easy portability. I reason however that the number of times I need to lug it around are so few that it's not a deal breaker for such a great wheel. I also reason that I can always buy another wheel for portability. I'm chomping at the bit to try the new Louet Victoria. Hopefully they'll have one at Rhinebeck to try. I figure I'm just 31 sleeps away!!!!


Hope said...

I can't wait to try the Victoria too. I use the Schact in bobbin lead for plying. I would still rather have a bobbin lead Louet for plying. The Victoria is Scotch tension. You might want to try a higher speed whorl. Helps to spin a thinner yarn.

vanessa said...

so happy you got your wheel! we'll have plenty of wheels to try at winebeck :-) 31 sleeps, i love it!