There is a new baby in my life, a beautiful oak wheel by J. Shiels of Inishowen, Donegal. This wheel really came into my life rather than me searching for her, she has a beautiful history and one that I will share in a later post but today I wanted to have a look at my adventures in spinning and whether it’s a lesson in frustration or a relaxing hobby that needs more of my time.

At EYF this year I got to chat with Louise from Spin City and I got to try out a wheel and I came home even more uncertain about wheels but with a gorgeous new spindle and fibre from Lousie’s stand which you can see below. My problem is that I live in Ireland and sourcing wheels is hard. Most are shipped from around the world and that bothered me when I know that we do have the talent here in Ireland. I knew about the gorgeous wheels coming out of Inishowen and I knew that for me this was the way I wanted to go. I wanted a handmade wheel, one that reminded me of playing in my dad’s workshop as a child. So there was nothing to do and I started saving.

Then a chance email from Colette, the wheels previous owner and a week later the wheel (yet to be named) is in my home, had a bath and is all oiled up and ready to spin. Largely because of the lovely ladies in This is Knit who helped with both storing the wheel and getting it to my home, seriously they are amazing. It is a dream come true. The wheel is a little heavy underfoot than I’m used to but today she is spinning like she was meant too.

The last few days have been spent learning everything about wheels, tension, yarns etc. I use to spin on a spindle to relax and take a break from knitting. I love it. It was a friend (hi five Roseanne) who taught me how to spin years ago when she was a staff member in This is Knit. I learned how to spin on an Ashford student spindle and some merino and silk Ashford fibre because that what was at hand. She went off home and I fell in love with spinning but not plying on a spindle. At EYF I fell in love with Louise’s spindles and so I came home and spun up one of my fibre batts from Ellie & Ada and again I found myself sitting and really enjoying drafting the fibre and winding on.

A bad picture of my wheel I know but look how she matches my 100 year old floor!

This is when I realised that spinning left me more relaxed than knitting. I wasn’t knitting to a deadline or feeling stressed because of countless wips on my needles.  I don’t even feel guilty that I’m making yet more yarn! I was just relaxed, happy and smiling. I realised that knitting over the years had slowly become my job and I didn’t have a hobby (cough gardening cough) but spinning now this I could do and not feel guilty about. I can spin and walk away and not have to worry about when I get back to it and it feels FANTASTIC.

When I spin I feel like I’ve had a holiday and I haven’t even left my house! I thought I would be frustrated learning how to get the wheel to do what I wanted but it’s like she just knows. I read a lot about Irish tension and how these wheels are perfect for plying and making bulkier yarns but I’m loving what I am getting off her today. I get frustrated with knitting sometimes usually because I’ve done everything right and it’s still misbehaving. So from that I assumed spinning would be too but I’m happily sitting on my favourite chair or coffee table spinning away. My shoulders are dropped and there is no tension in my body. I’m happy just to listen to the heartbeat of my wheel.

Prepare to hear lots about my adventures in spinning because this is going to be the summer of the wheel. Do you spin? Do you have a wheel or a spindle? What’s your favourite fibre? Tell me all because I’m really hungry to know!