Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Green Kiwi

In response to questions from Cate and Liz: my spinning wheel is an Ashford Kiwi. I bought it in 1998, after borrowing a neighbor's Ashford Traditional to take a spinning class. I knew that I wanted a wheel of my own, and I wanted to try a double treadle, but I couldn't afford the Ashford Joy (or the gorgeous Schact that a friend had recently bought) and I didn't like the Louet that I had tried. The Kiwi hadn't been available that long, but I did some research and I liked what I learned. So I went to a local Ashford dealer--which was a place where I had taken various fiber-related classes in the past year--and asked the owner if she had one that I could try. She said, "No, we don't carry those; I have heard that you can get your toes pinched and they aren't any good." I explained that they had fixed the "toe pinching" problem by adding a new part--which she should have known as a dealer, don't you think?--and that I was definitely interested in that particular wheel. She was very dismissive and tried to talk me into purchasing a more expensive wheel. This was not the first time that I had had a bad experience there, and I was quite annoyed. I left without buying anything, and I never returned. (I have since moved and have found other Ashford dealers who are friendly and accommodating.)

I ended up ordering the wheel from Paradise Fibers, as they were offering a package deal that included the matching skeiner as well as the high-speed kit (which added two extra ratios). And they also threw in more than a pound of merino--much of which I still have! I did the finishing and painting and assembly all by myself; and while I messed up in some spots, I was pretty happy with the final result. Someday I may choose to upgrade to a new wheel, but at the moment I have neither the money nor the inclination to do so.

However, this weekend I am neither spinning nor knitting. This weekend I am attempting to needle-felt an ox. How many of the rest of you can say that?

And what do you think it means when the post that inspires the most comments (in recent history) is the one about puking?