The First Spin

As you all well know, a bit over a week ago my Schacht-Reeves arrived on my doorstep in two very large boxes. Of course, as is only right, we’ve been spending the last week or so getting to know each other.

Do you hear angels singing a glorious chorus when you see it, too?

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Or is that just me?

I’ve been sharing progress shots as the spinning of my very first project was happening, but I thought it would be fun to bring it all back and show the full project unfold in one post.

It all started with the wheel, of course (cue angels singing), and this braid of BFL from Three Waters Farm.

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Named “Lost in the Rain,” this is one of those super special colorways that I added to my stash simply because it was so pretty and I knew one day, I would spin some magic with it. My first spin with my Schacht-Reeves seemed like just the ticket.

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I’ll be perfectly honest with you because we’re friends here, and I’m a firm believer in the importance of honesty. The double drive has had a learning curve accompanying it. As I mentioned when I first shared the wheel, having been a Scotch tension girl since I started spinning, the double drive kind of confused me in the set-up. And then it took some getting used to just to get spinning. It got easier with time…

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But the further I got along in the project…

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Well, I started to get a little sloppy with it.  There were some over-twisting issues that plagued me and as the bobbin filled I had a harder and harder time making a neat bobbin and keeping the whole process balanced.

You can see my… ‘opportunities’ in the finished skein…

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The yarn is less consistent than my norm…

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And despite a warm water bath, so you can still see some of that extra twist lingering. I could have weighted the skein while it dried to take some of that twist out or even just run it back through the wheel, but I opted not to. It’s not so over-the-top that it won’t knit nicely and I can always choose to knit something more heavy wearing to take full advantage of that extra strength provided by the uber twist present.

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It’s a pretty skein regardless and at somewhere between 300-400 yards of fingering weight yarn, I’ll have lots of options for how to use it.

There’s no good way to show it in photos, but I can definitely see and feel the point in the plying where the double drive and I stopped talking past each other and started to speak the same language. What I’ve learned is that where the Scotch tension is very direct, double drive is a bit more nuanced. With Scotch tension, as the bobbin fills, you adjust the tension incrementally as you go to keep the uptake where you want it. With my Lendrum, this tends to translate to many small increases on the tension over the course of a spin allowing me to maintain more or less the same rhythm and speed throughout.

With the double drive, it’s so much more subtle. So far, what I’m finding is that it’s actually your hands and feet making minute changes throughout the spin much more than any adjustments to the wheel. Attention to keeping that harmony between your hands & feet and the wheel is of paramount importance. Exactly like the different set-ups achieve the same goal, you need a slightly different approach to make the spin go smoothly. Recognizing that I had to be attentive to different tells within the spin was my “a-ha” moment. It came about three-quarters through the plying of the Lost in the Rain spin, where, of course, you can’t see it.

But the next spin…

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I think you really can see the difference, don’t you? The bobbin is wound more smoothly, the over-twisting isn’t present, the singles are pretty consistent. All in all, it just looks more balanced. And this spin is being spun on the biggest whorl available, moving relatively slowly with both feet on my giant single treadle to keeps things nice and smooth. This is especially noteworthy because these heavier spins are much more challenging for me, so to get them this consistent is an accomplishment even on my Lendrum, let alone a wheel I’ve had for a little over a week.

And thus, the first spin on my Schacht-Reeves is done and the second is well on its way. The lessons continue to be learned, the familiarity continues to grow, the knowledge reaches new depths. On and on, the new wheel spins!

18 responses to “The First Spin

  1. Love reading about your wheel adventurers. I drool with envy over the Reeves. It’s beautiful. I have been considering upgrading to a Lendrum DT. Those who own them rave about them. I don’t think I’ve read a bad review about the Lendrum! Perhaps one day with practice, I might spin a bobbin as awesome as yours!

    • I’m sure you will!

      What do you currently spin on? My other wheel is a Lendrum DT and it was my only wheel for the past 6 years. It’s super versatile and a total workhorse. I’m actually still actively spinning on it, even with the Schacht Reeves here. Since it’s light and easy to move around, it’s the wheel I take outside on the deck to spin or travel with. Currently, though the wheel I have next to my desk (as opposed to my living room chair 10ft away LOL!).

      • I am a self-taught spinner, learning from trial & error, books, dvd’s, and helpful blogs ;)) I spin on a pre-owned Kiwi 2.. I don’t have access to shops that allow you to try out different wheels before buying. What impressed me about the Lendrum was the positive reviews and I love the idea of being able to see what you are spinning on the bobbin! I am always peering over my Kiwi to see when I need to slide over to evenly fill the bobbin. It seems to me that the Lendrum might be a more nuanced wheel, being able to adjust for more ratios. I haven’t finished with the Kiwi yet; I know i have much to learn from her, but I think a Lendrum would be a great teacher, too!

      • I’m self-taught, too!

        I don’t have experience with the Kiwi so I can’t compare. The Lendrum definitely gives you lots of options and ratios to work with though. Keep your eyes peeled to used ads as Lendrums do come up from time to time!

  2. Not being a spinner, all I can say is that both skeins are lovely! I see what you’re talking about in the consistency differences between your first and second, but the first is still really lovely and will knit up beautifully. For your first skein on a brand new wheel – well, you’re just amazing! KUDOS!

  3. I know you see only flaws in that first skein, but it isn’t bad at all! Amazingly good with so much to learn and get used to – a faster wheel, new tensioning system, etc.

    Did you chain ply the first skein, or two ply it? If the latter, then you need to give your self all kinds of credit for even spinning, those colors are lined up pretty darned well! And if it is chain ply – well, my chain ply is ALWAYS over twisted and kinky, so I think that yours looks heavenly, lol.

    Yes, I heard angels singing. 🙂

  4. Sarah, Good morning. You mentioned using a slow whorl and the spinning became more even. Did you use a schacht slow whirl or super slow whorl? I have a Schacht Flatiron and was wondering, as I would like to see more even and consistent spinning results.

    Thanks,
    Liz

    • If I’m reading correctly, the slowest whorl for the Schacht Reeves in 9.5:1 which would be somewhere between the faster ratio on your Flatiron’s slow whorl (8.5:1) and the slower speed on your medium whorl (10.4:1). Does that make sense?

      I think a lot of the increased consistency just comes from slowing down and paying more attention to how deeply I’m dipping into the fiber supply. It also gives me a better feel for the wheel itself. Hope this helps!

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