The Second Wheel

No, not the third wheel . . . though my partner probably feels that way sometimes while I’m busy spinning. No, no, the second wheel.

When I first purchased my Ladybug, I warned you (and myself–and my partner) that there would likely be other wheels in my life. This week, I am picking up a used (and pretty old) Ashford Traditional from a fine lady in Northern PA. The wheel looks to be from the 1970s or 1980s–the Ashford site is pretty great and has a PDF of their models through the decades. This allows you to see so much about the history of this particular wheel: what has changed and what has very much remained the same. My wheel may not be perfect (indeed, I have yet to meet her), but I was assured that she is a workhorse and will spin well. [As an aside, does anyone know when farming terms came to be applied to spinning wheels??]

For me, this second wheel means having the ability to spin when I am in NY visiting family. We are there quite often and I really can’t justify dragging my Ladybug *that* far, given how she sits awkwardly in the car on her short trips to and from guild meetings. I chose this used wheel for several reasons: the price was right; there was no shipping, as I could pick it up; and Ashford Traditional wheels are easy to service given that they are relatively ubiquitous. This last fact means that the parts are also easy to find. More than anything, it will be nice to not have a wheel I need to worry about. It’s a back-up and a farm-house wheel for my time in NY when I just can’t stand to be away from my wheel. Oh, and did I mention there will be a farm visit? Yes! Some sheep, some felted soaps . . . it’ll be a Farm Focus post in a few weeks.

And yes, I could just go with the old drop spindle (and that was my original, back-up plan) . . . but sometimes serendipitously, the stars align.

But first, the meeting. What will she be like? Will we work together well? Will she need a dusting and some tuning? I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous, just as I was with my Ladybug. But, then again, back then, I didn’t even know HOW to spin! Heck, I had never even sat down at a wheel or even touched one. No, this time, I’m ready for the first meeting. I’m going to bring a little fiber bouquet. Oh, and the soon to be former owner is going to show me some tricks with the tension . . . can’t forget about that in the nerves of the moment.

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