Thursday, August 2, 2007

Urban Sheep

So, you saw my post from yesterday, right? I did indeed buy a spinning wheel! The reason it is still in its box is that I bought it unfinished, thinking it would be fun to choose my own stain and do it myself. In making this decision, I completely ignored the fact that I find this sort of choice absolutely crippling. After an hour of standing in front of the stain samples at Home Depot--China Red? Spice? Antique Red? Cherry Blossom? Clear Poly? Tung Oil? Wax?--I left empty-handed. Since I need to finish the wheel before I assemble it, I am temporarily stalled. This condition will correct itself in a day or two and I'll be able to show you a picture of the wheel itself (finished, I hope), instead of the box.

But aside from the glorious excitement of buying the wheel, the journey to get it was an adventure in itself. There is only one spinning wheel dealer within 100 miles of my house. It is a sheep farm in one of the many unincorporated areas that surround the city of San Diego. Are you surprised that there is a sheep farm in San Diego? Me, too. I always forget, living here, that outside the city is the country. This farm is only 20 miles from my house, but it would never have occurred to me that wool-on-the-hoof was available so close to home!

So I drove out past the city limits, off the main road, onto a dirt road with streets named "Peace Valley Lane" and "Shady Grove Street" and "Keep Out Road", past the Lemurian Fellowship (who'd have thought lemurs would have their own church?), and out into farm country. There were horses! And cows! And--best of all--sheep! I pulled up to the farmhouse and got out of my car. There didn't seem to be anyone around (man, was it quiet), so I wandered over to the goat pen, where a very friendly angora goat climbed up the fence and licked my elbow. Ever wonder where mohair comes from? From him. I call him Fred.

Eventually, it occurred to me to call the owner on my cell phone and let her know I was there. She appeared from somewhere and took me to her shop. And in the name of all that's holy, I almost passed out from sheer joy. It was a whole building just full of yarn and roving and looms and spinning wheels and every imaginable sort of fiber in every possible color and some I think may not have been discovered yet. I just kept turning in circles and babbling and picking things up and putting them down and babbling some more. I think she laughed, but I was pretty distracted.

Finally, I calmed down enough that she was able to show me the wheels and set me up with some roving and I spun my very first, absolutely disastrous, ugly, lumpy, overtwisted, undertwisted, bright orange yarn. See? (It kind of came untwisted on the way home, so it looks even worse now than it did when it came off the wheel.)

I'm so proud. I have high hopes that my next attempt will be, well, better comes to mind.

12 comments:

Sarah said...

You know, I've been thinking about it after our email conversation yesterday, and maybe it would be a good idea to go with the lightest possible stain? That way, you could always re-stain it later, if your tastes and decor change. (Assuming you felt like taking the wheel apart and re-staining it!)

Kristin said...

FYI- you would have to sand if you were planning to re-stain.
Good luck with the color choice. I would find it crippling too! Can't wait to see it in action

P.S. Well written story, I felt like I was right there with you and Fred

Sarah said...

I like the wheel. Congratulations on your new hobby. I like the tung oil natural finish option. This is another one for you if you are interested: Hemp oil http://www.hempola.com/products/hempwood.htm
Happy staining!

uberstrickenfrau said...

Oh dear, you have got it bad..tell your hubby to get that second job pronto! And might as well ask the lady if she will sell you her farm cuz I betcha thats how she ended up there.

Suzanne said...

Did you say orange??

Sharon said...

Lemurs are deeply religious. However, they are also extremely secretive, so their spiritual beliefs are not widely known. ;)

You'll be spinning like a champ in no time!

Quail Hill Knits said...

Its great that you will now beginning spinning a different kind of yarn ---- But I am curious. Where did you go to find a sheep farm? I used to live in Vista and I never was able to find spinning of any sort while I was there.

sophanne said...

exciting exciting exciting

i think the Lemur are an offshoot of the Dahli Llama

sophanne said...

make that Dalai "Llama" I used to be an excellent speller.

MelissaKnits said...

I would say tung oil or wax myself...Girl did a mahogany stain on her Kiwi which is nice but a little unnatural for me. My trad is waxed.

YEAH!! Your first handspun - which I cannot se because the pic does not load, but it does not matter. I believe you that it is everything you say it is, but you hvae to keep it and in about six months take it out and laugh a really really lot.

annmarie said...

I'd hate to see the recessional at *that* church...

Kim said...

That's great lumpy handspun! Believe me it only gets better the more you spin! Congrats! I don't know what to say about the stain decision. Maybe ask the lady you bought it from what she'd recommend.