I bought the spinning wheel! I tried a Lendrum, a Louet Victoria, and a Kromski Sonata. The Louet Victoria was just too teeny and unstable--I could feel it shaking as I was treadling, and I wasn't even going fast. It was really a tough decision between the Lendrum and the Sonata. I thought I wouldn't like the angle of the Lendrum, the way it tilts toward you as you sit in front of it, but in person that's no problem at all. It was very smooth, and the angle of the treadles was very comfortable. The Sonata was not as smooth, but it hadn't been broken in yet and got smoother as I used it, even for that little while in the store. In the end, I bought the Sonata, mainly because it folds into such a nice, stable package and comes with a very nice padded bag. Also, it's lighter than the Ledrum and has a wider range of ratios (6.7, 12.5, and 14 vs. 6, 8, and 10 for the Ledrum), and the bobbins have more capacity. It is a lot bigger than it looks on the internet. Here's the scale.
I want to build it a wooden box for when I fly somewhere with it. The bag is padded and seems quite sturdy and nice, but I've seen the way those guys throw the luggage around when they're loading and unloading the plane. I'm thinking basically a small trunk with heavy-duty casters on the bottom and extra space for clothes and fiber purchases, since the airlines are suddenly only allowing one checked bag (without having to pay extra).
Before I gave back the Little Gem, I finished spinning all of the beautiful Hoobody roving. I figured I better spin it all on the same wheel if I wanted it to be remotely consistent. I thought that would take a long time, but I finished it in one evening without even trying. I just kept thinking, "oh, just one more little bit, and then I'll call it a night," until suddenly I was done. I re-wound it onto storage bobbins. Here's what it looks like.
Some parts have a lot more purple than others. If I wanted to make the colors evenly distributed throughout whatever I'm making, I should have split the whole thing lengthwise instead of breaking off a section, spinning it up, and then breaking off another section. I think it will be nice this way, though. I want to make a scarf, and I like the idea that the purple will be concentrated in some areas. Of course, I just realized that I want to make it in rows that run lengthwise and do at least some of it knit. With crochet, it doesn't matter--I can make any shape I want in any direction I want, but all that scarf wouldn't fit on any of the needles I have. Darn it. It seems like every time I try to knit something, I need to buy more equipment! (Ok, that's because I'm a beginner and didn't own a single knitting needle until February.)
Anyway, I did finish the afghan for Project Linus. There was enough rainbow yarn with a little to spare. (I probably could have made another row and a half.) Very happy about this--definitely did not want to buy yet another ball of this yarn!
It came out nicely and is very soft and cheery.
I finished that before we left for Asheville, and then I was trying to figure out what projects to take with me. In this regard, I'm like the Yarn Harlot--I always pack a completely irrational overabundance of yarn to work with whenever I go anywhere, way more than I need or will possibly get to. This time I took a cape in progress, a shawl in progress (both small), and some new yarn that I want to swatch for a sarong and/or some sort of head covering. It's Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton, in Brazilwood. It's pink with beautiful subtle variations in the color.
In the end, all of these projects remained in the bag untouched. I drove us up there, we had dinner, we collapsed. The next day we had breakfast, shopped all day, drove all evening, got home, and collapsed. Oh well--my yarn got to go on vacation too.
Asheville is a very cool city, at least for what little we saw of it. The Dry Ridge Inn was beautiful and comfortable. Earth Guild was totally fabulous, and after we were done there, we wandered around looking at the shops a little. Pansies were blooming everywhere, and we had lunch outdoors in the beautiful sunshine. Then we found a cool little shop with local rovings, handspun yarn, and hats, scarves, and wraps made by local artists: Asheville Homecrafts. They had a ton of beautiful things, all locally made, plus a fun selection of commercial yarn. I really enjoyed looking at all of these things, and I found it very encouraging. I can definitely spin as well as some of the homespun yarn they had for sale. I would love to have a local outlet like that to sell my creations in, but meanwhile, I should just get on it and get some things on Etsy.
Anyway, I couldn't leave without buying this gorgeous roving.
It's a merino blend, and I can't wait to spin it. Altogether, it was a truly fabulous trip. I'd love to go back and spend more time exploring Asheville.