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?
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.
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.
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…
But the further I got along in the project…
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…
The yarn is less consistent than my norm…
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.
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…
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!