Last September I learned I had some money coming from my Grandma’s estate. Being lucky (and wise?) enough to have all of our basic needs covered and, frankly, a lot of non-needs as well, I knew this was to be earmarked as “Bucket List” money. The sort of money that you use for something purely for enjoyment’s sake. Which got me to thinking about things I’ve always wanted to do but never done for whatever reason. The obvious choice is a trip. Someplace the mister and I can go together, make some memories, preferably not on the beaten path. We’re thinking Italy. I’ve always wanted to eat my way from one end to the other and back again. Might not be quite that grand, as it turns out one of my good friends from college is about to be stationed just outside of Venice, so it may become more of a return to Venice, visit the J’s kind of trip. And I’m OK with that too. It’s really more about the food than anything else so if I can enjoy some of the best food the world has to offer AND see a good friend while I’m at it? How can you go wrong?
The second idea was the one that was a little less obvious but, all things considered, a much more monumental deal for me. I decided it was time to finally learn to spin. On a wheel. This is an important distinction. I’d learned to use a drop spindle several years back and, while it amuses me, it’s not something I enjoy enough to, say, make enough yarn to knit a sweater. Or a sock. Just a way to pass time at reenactments, really.
But the wheel… Oh how I have been fascinated by spinning wheels since, really as far back as I can remember. Friends of my parents had a great wheel in their dining area and I remember staring at it in complete and utter fascination every time we were at their house. Which actually wasn’t all that often, but that’s how strong an attraction I felt to the wheel. But wheels aren’t cheap. Or small. Both of which were something of a problem. But Grandma offered me the opportunity. So I decided to take the plunge. But for once, I decided to approach it wisely- borrow a wheel from a friend who had one to lend and had often offered to do so and take lessons. Before making the investment, lets confirm that I actually love the process.
So I took lessons at Bahr Creek Llamas, a small knitting & spinning shop just a piece up the road. Brigitte is wonderful. She’s got lots of experience to share and lots of encouragement to offer. And, to no one’s surprise, I was in love. This was a dream about to be fulfilled. So I researched wheels and came up with a plan of what I thought I wanted.
The classic “Cinderella” wheel wasn’t the best fit. Small house, large wheel, lots of cats, this just doesn’t add up to hours of spinning bliss without having to shut myself into my sewing room. While I love to spend time in my sewing room, I don’t necessarily want to be restricted to it. So I was leaning toward an upright wheel. Something with all the classic fidgety widgets, turned baubles, all things that scream spinning wheel but in a smaller package. And something that could go reenacting with me.
But then I tried the Schacht Ladybug.
And I fell in love. And I started to question everything I thought I wanted. The bug is a very modern girl. She would not be able to go reenacting at all. But she was such a joy to spin on. I was sure she was what I wanted.
Until I met the Sidekick. Millie and I were instant friends. She’s tiny. She tucks into random little corners of my living room taking up no space at all. She’s whisper quiet so I can spin while watching TV and not disturb man nor beast. She’s perfect.
And now, we’re quickly approaching the reenacting season and I’m realizing as much as every reason I came up with for buying a modern wheel, all of which are still valid and reasonable, I don’t really care. My camp life has changed in the last few years. Used to be I’d bake up a storm. Pies, bread, stew, soup, I would spend all of Saturday cooking myself to exhaustion and feed our group. And I loved every minute of it. But there aren’t as many of us anymore so I haven’t been doing much cooking.
Last summer was all over the board. I didn’t cook, I didn’t knit, I didn’t sew… I managed to keep three kittens from panicking amidst a herd of ferrel children. And it took up the majority of my days. But the kids won’t be joining us in the field anymore. Spike, it turns out, is not such a huge fan of cannon fire (a problem when you spend all of your time in artillery camp) and really, they’re almost full grown and there’s not enough room in the tent for the five of us. So they’ll stay home and I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands. Time I would like to spend spinning.
So, remember that wheel I borrowed to learn on? It was still at my house. Circumstances hadn’t brought me together with her owner until the start of March so she sat in my sewing room taunting me. So I started scanning the used equipment boards on Ravelry looking for a wheel that fit both the look I needed and came at a price point I was comfortable taking into the field. It’s going to take some abuse between the truck and it’s hazards of heavy things waiting to crush all things delicate and the aforementioned ferrel children will paw at her constantly. And I found one that might work. So I mentioned it to the mister.
And I waited to be shot down cold.
But I wasn’t. He understood. And he reasoned that, without the kittens, there should be room in the truck for the wheel. They got most of the back seat last season so this means open space this season. And I searched and I dreamed and I had a hand to forehead moment. Why not just ask if the borrowed wheel might be for sale… I think I knew the answer and it was funny because her owner couldn’t seem to say yes fast enough. I’m not entirely sure what she’s even going to cost me because I think my friend is just so happy to have the wheel go to someone who will love her (plus she has 2 more at home and it was really her husband who spun but he passed away nearly 12 years ago). It seems we’ve got a deal to come to some sort of trade arrangement at some point in the future. I have no idea what that will mean in the end, but for now, it means I have a collection. A small collection, of course, but a collection none the less. And I couldn’t be happier!