This is the day where I let my brain turn to mush, after gunning for a deadline. One day off.
I dropped the boy off at school and did half my errands. These are things that have piled up over the past two weeks because what energy I had went to working and thinking. I went to the thrift shop and bought a pair of jeans and a new cotton jersey top that fit and look terrific. I picked up some white lithium grease for the new wheel, because the metal treadle bar is squeaking where it moves in the wooden sockets. (Coincidentally this should make the track for the sliding back door a bit quieter and perhaps less rough to move; it won’t solve the issue completely because most of it comes from a chewed-up track that was like that when we moved in.) I have to stop by the library and the grocery store on the way to get the boy after school, too. Yes, the school bus strike is still on, not being the potential one-day-only thing it was coyly suggested it could be. The boy is aggrieved; riding the bus is one of the best things about school.
It is HRH’s birthday today, and so I am making a Special Dessert. I may make a Special Dinner too, or as special as it can be with a five-year-old who has to eat what we eat. It is Wednesday and orchestra night, and for ease of prep Wednesday night is usually Breakfast for Dinner night; I don’t know what changing that up will do to our dinner equilibrium. I can’t quite bring myself to serve HRH eggs, sausage and toast on his birthday, though, especially since he usually makes it. Even if he enjoys it.
I tested the new wheel last night, and very quickly fell in love with double drive. I found a 6-gram handful of Falkland fibre to test it with, perhaps not the best thing because the only other time I have tried it was to test a Hitchhiker wheel at Ariadne Knits, my LYS, so I’m not that familiar with it. (That did not go well, if you are wondering. The Hitchhiker has some innate design/physics flaws that I’m sure I’d find workarounds for if it were my only wheel, but as it isn’t, I played with it for an hour and concluded that it was pretty and cute but not practical to use.) I remember the Falkland being sort of like Corriedale, but with a sproing to it that now reminds me of Polworth since I’ve spun that since then. The Symphony handled it beautifully. I first had the tension and takeup set too tight, so when I broke my single I couldn’t pull the spun stuff off the bobbin without it drifting apart. I moved the mother of all closer to the drive wheel and magically the single took more twist, and I spun a fabulously thin, strong single in a short forward draw worsted style. Alden Amos gave me a rundown of how to adjust tension on a double drive to attain certain goals and talked about the difference in ratio between the bobbin pulley and the flyer pulley, and thank goodness I have his book with details and descriptions and physics lectures, because double drive is only barely mentioned in my other two spinning books that focus more on drafting and plying and such. I then transferred my bobbin of singles to the lazy kate and chain-plied it into 15 yards of a sample skein, which means I got roughly 45 feet of worsted single from 6 grams of fibre. I forgot the check the WPI of the single, but the finished yarn is about 24 WPI.
I have the rapturous task of sorting through my big wicker basket of indie dyer fibre to choose what to spin first. I think I want to try something I’ve never spun before. As I said to Jodi Meadows, another writer who spins, there’s some Rambouillet from Squoosh fibre arts in a burgundy/brown colourway I think I might try, or I may finally break into the Northbound Knitting fibre I got last fall in a three-month subscription to her fibre club; perhaps the Wensleydale, or ooh, there’s some Rambouillet in a lovely blue-green colourway there, too.
I had to re-tighten the leather connecting the footmen to the treadles, but apart from that and the treadle squeak, I am tremendously pleased with my initial experience with the Symphony. I discovered an oddity, though; among the two whorls included in the wheel, the smaller one seems to have a plastic bushing in it with no threads, so I can’t screw it onto the flyer shaft. It’s also got an odd cut across it. I’ll take a photo of it and post it to the forums to see if it’s supposed to be like that (can’t think why), and if it’s not I’ll contact the North American distributor and ask for a replacement. Fortunately I ordered the extra-small/fast and extra-large/slow whorls to expand the wheel’s ratio range, so I have plenty of other options in the meantime. It’s just that one of the reasons I got the wheel was to have the 16 and 20 to 1 ratios at my disposal.
Today I also have to cram for orchestra tonight, as our principal will be missing which means I’m technically the section head (ha ha ha ha ha). I am mostly concerned about keeping up with the runs in the Beethoven hitting the right notes, and not losing my cool when the conductor turns around to wave his baton right at me, which is infallibly a recipe for startling me and making me lose my place.
EDIT: Contacted the North American distributor about the small whorl that doesn’t fit the flyer or match the construction of the other; turns out it’s a whorl for a totally different wheel in their line. They’re shipping me a replacement. Hurrah!