Friday, April 22, 2005

Guild Meeting

I went to a drop-in, casual gathering of a few of the members of the local Spinners and Weavers Guild yesterday morning. The ladies were very helpful and answered a lot of my newby questions. I showed them my spindling efforts and they seemed impressed that I was able to do as well as I did with only a few days practice and using an homemade spindle.

I returned in the evening for their formal meeting and have decided to join the guild. I was hoping I could rent one of their spinning wheels right away, but there is a waiting period of several months before a new member is allowed to rent equipment. *sigh* I really don't blame them though. They wouldn't want to lose their expense spinning wheels.

One of the members overheard me saying how disappointed I was about not being allowed access to the spinning wheels right away, and she stepped forward and offered to teach me how to spin and to let me use one of her spare wheels. I wish I could just rush right out and buy one, but every spinner I have talked to has cautioned me to try spinning on many different styles and makes of wheels before making a purchase.

I originally thought I would want one of those fairy tale type spinning wheels, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that a smaller travel wheel would probably be better. I likely would want to take it to lessons and guild meetings. A smaller size would actually be more practical in the house too. A local woman sells many different wheels and is willing to let people try them. I'll have to learn to spin a bit and then go talk to her. She also happens to be the closest source of spinning fiber.

The guild also has many looms all warped with "group projects" and for a small fee that covers the cost of supplies you can sign up and weave off one of whatever they are making. At the moment there is a tea towel, a Christmas table runner, and a chenille rug/wallhanging that can be done. As the warping of the loom is what I DON'T like to do, this situation is ideal for me. Maybe once I have gotten back into weaving a bit I will be able to face the task of warping my own little 8-shaft table loom.


Felicia from sweetgeorgia said...

Hey Marlene! Whereabouts are you in BC? I bought my first spinning wheel last month at Birkeland Bros where they let me try out several different wheels -- Traditional (fairytale style saxony), Traveller (castle style) and the Joy -- all Ashford wheels. I came home with the Joy because it was compact and portable but I eventually want to get a double-drive saxony style wheel too. But that's all I tried before diving in and buying my wheel. Like you, I couldn't wait! =)

Marlene said...

Felicia, I am from Chilliwack. I am considering the Ashford Joy as well. It looks like part of the fun of spinning will be meeting a lot of new friends. The guild here is quite active, with weekly spin-ins, and having a portable wheel would be a real advantage. Do you find the Joy has all the features you need? Did you try the Ashford Traveller as well? Where is the Birkeland Bros outlet?

Felicia from sweetgeorgia said...

Hey Marlene, how nice to have weekly spin-ins! I don't really know anybody in Vancouver that spins...yet. I did try the Ashford Traveller as well, but my ankles kept bumping into the "table" of the wheel as I treadled. It was also harder to treadle. The Joy has weighted treadles and I immediately preferred it. So far, the Joy has been fantastic to use -- I use the highest ratio for spinning thin singles and then make a 2-ply or 3-ply with the lowest ratio. Birkeland Bros is on Main Street (near 17th ave, I think) in Vancouver. Good luck with wheel shopping!