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Quebec, Adam

August 27, 2007
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There is just too much beautiful stuff this week. I’ll try to cut down on the words to make up for the pazillion photos.

This is a “Quebec” Canadian production wheel made by David Paul at The Merlin Tree. It came to my house on Thursday evening. The first photo is a very accurate representation of the color – despite what some of the lighting has suggested, there is no red or gold in the color, it is true walnut brown.

The wheel is a replica of antique wheels made in the late 1800s in Quebec and used by women who were doing production spinning at home for woolen mills. This is number 47 of 50 that were made in 2005.

It is a double drive wheel through and through – it has grooves in the drive wheel to hold the two loops of the drive band.

It has a beautiful cast iron treadle.

It has a tilt tensioning system made of cast iron – to change the takeup and drive band tension, you unscrew the wing nut and tilt the mother to the left or the right.

It’s big. (Six year old included for purposes of scale only.) The wheel is 30 inches across. It has other unique details too, such as the footman (which you can partly see in the second photo above) – it is a curved length of iron rod with hooks at both ends – no leathers to stretch out or creak. It’s rustic – it has an oiled finish, not varnished, so I spent some time rubbing it down with orange oil, and the spokes and some of the turned pieces are not polished smooth.

It spins like the wind. When I was putting it together, I dropped the axles into the posts, hooked up the footman, and gave the treadle one push, and it started up like a jet engine. If I have scoped out the specs correctly, I have it set up at a ratio of 24:1. If I took the time to figure out how to run it with bobbin lead I could probably get it to go faster.

All I wanted to do was spin. Of course, that was not to be. But I hauled a pound of lovely white Shetland top out of the stash and it’s the perfect fiber to start off with on this wheel.

This wheel is not meant to be versatile. I have the Symphony for versatility. This wheel is made to do one thing really well, and it’s a thing I like to do – spin a fairly fine smooth single. And did I mention it’s fast? It is so amazing to treadle SLOWLY with one foot and have so much spinning go on. I have heard people remark that this wheel just tugs the fiber right out of your hands, it’s so fast, and the notes that came with the wheel said that if you try to treadle too quickly the footman will jump a little till you get the feel for it. But this wheel and I got along right away. It seemed natural to ride the treadle up until I could feel it reach the top of its arc. And I have the tension on the band set in such a way that I didn’t feel the speed was unmanageable. Maybe we were just meant for each other.

Meanwhile, I had the great good fortune to get hold of one half of a champion cormo fleece! This is one half of Adam’s coat.

Adam lives with Sue at the Cormo Sheep and Wool Farm in California. The photos were taken under incandescent light so they look a tad yellow, but let me tell you, Adam is NOT yellow. Parts of him were a little tippy of course, but he was SO white and fine. At Lambtown in Dixon, California, at the end of July, Adam was first in the Handspinner’s White class, champion handspinning fleece, and grand champion of the show. What a guy. I just happened to be by the computer when Sue’s email came out listing her winning fleeces for sale and so I got half of Adam’s 8 1/2 pound champion fleece.

My little wool pig Daphne thought she must have gone to wool pig heaven. She and LilyBlue lurked around the edges of the fleece while it was spread out on the washroom floor, trying to take bites out of it, and when I’d stuffed half in the washer and the other half into a bin, they lay down on the rug and took a nice nap in the lovely smell.

Sue very thoughtfully included one of her little ribbons in the box to commemorate my first champion fleece.

I washed about half of it and laid it out to dry and so far the cats haven’t been into it… I was intending to send this out to be processed because it is more fleece than I ever had hold of before, but looking at it now it almost seems I could spin it the way it is. I will have to give that a try before I pack it up to send.

I did knit this weekend despite the temptation to just spin and roll in fleece. I have almost finished the second section of the Bee shawl.

I haven’t made much progress on the Widdershins sock but I have started a sock for Emmy – she picked out remnants from my sock yarn leftovers, the legs are going to be Sock! Merino from Lisa in St Valentine and the feet are going to be Sock! in Emerald City. I’m knitting garter rib and it’s looking great in the yarn.

When I was thinking about sending out Adam for processing, I decided to see what else I had that I might want to send along. I made up a little set of samples from the fleeces I have in the basement, and combed them all.

I decided that there were a couple that would be less fun to comb, so they are candidates for being sent.

I finished another hank of the wool and alpaca that I’m really not enjoying. I had a little mishap with the hank when taking it down from the drying hook, so it had to go back onto the swift and from there to the niddynoddy. I still can’t decide what will be the fate of this yarn. But at least once it’s finished, it’ll be DONE.

Well, back to daydreaming about getting home to spin on my big wonderful wheel….

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2007 10:31 am

    Wow. Beautiful wheel–it looks almost like my antique one, but mine is redder. These were produced from around 1870 to 1930, and many were taken on the frontier along with sock machines, so that isolated families could clothe themselves.. They are tougher than they look!
    You might check out my blog entry last week on sampling–a flick carder, pet brush or teasing by hand will all work just fine for that Cormo fleece. It looks great!

  2. Jan permalink
    August 27, 2007 10:42 am

    Yes! You and that wheel are a perfect match. It’s a beautiful, fascinating wheel. What a wonderful thing that you found each other. Adam takes my breath away. I like your idea of doing him yourself. The old time lace spinners spun their cobweb yarns in the grease on very fast wheels. I have a fantasy of you spinning Adam on your CPW that way…
    Everything else in your knitting life looks darn good, too. 🙂

  3. August 27, 2007 10:59 am

    Oh, your new wheel is beautiful! Glad to hear your leap of faith paid off and she’s as delightful to use as she is to gaze at. May you spend many happy hours spinning on her!

  4. August 27, 2007 11:13 am

    What a bonanza of beautiful photos! I’m so happy that you and the CPW have hit it off right away. It’s a gorgeous wheel. Hooray!
    Adam’s fleece is a beauty. I’m glad Miss Daphne got to share in the fleecey goodness. It looks like she has become your constant companion.
    Bee Fields looks great too.

  5. August 27, 2007 11:35 am

    That is a gorgeous wheel! Do you feel a bug coming on? Maybe you’ll have to go home early…

  6. August 27, 2007 12:07 pm

    My goodness, that’s a beautiful piece of equipment! And such a lovely fleece, too….. Made for each other??

  7. August 27, 2007 12:56 pm

    All I can say is WOW! That is one beautiful wheel and gorgeous fleece!

  8. August 27, 2007 1:15 pm

    Funny, I washed fleece this weekend too. That cat picture is SOOOO funny!

  9. June P permalink
    August 27, 2007 1:39 pm

    Wow, wow, wow!! How great that you were able to get just the wheel you’ve been wanting! I hope you and the family have lots of fun with all that fiber!

  10. August 27, 2007 2:28 pm

    Holy mother of purl, I *LOVE* the way your wheel looks!!!!! I am seriously jealous!
    One question: You said “If I took the time to figure out how to run it with bobbin lead I could probably get it to go faster.” I thought I knew what bobbin lead was, but I can’t quite figure out what you mean in this case. Could you explain that?

  11. August 27, 2007 3:15 pm

    Janice, from what I’ve been able to gather by asking questions about this, if I turn the bobbin around so that the grooved end piece is at the other end, and put both loops of drive band on the bobbin, so that the bobbin alone is driven, I could get a higher ratio. You can put a brake band on the flyer too if you want. I don’t entirely understand the physics of this or why I’d want to, but if I understand correctly the ratio with a driven bobbin would be higher. I’m happy with it the way it is! I plan to talk to David Paul at some point (maybe at Rhinebeck) and ask him for all the details on this stuff.

  12. August 27, 2007 3:47 pm

    Oh that wheel is to dye (hehee) for! It’s beautiful! Congratulations.
    I couldn’t get the link to work for the cormo fleece lady. Maybe it’s me? Now, I want one!!!!

  13. August 27, 2007 4:32 pm

    Oops…repaired the link. I plead giddiness due to wool fumes…

  14. August 27, 2007 5:34 pm

    Ah, now I see what you mean re bobbin lead! You’d probably get a higher ratio because the bobbin pulley (or whorl) is smaller than your flyer whorl(s). (The bobbin pulley HAS to be smaller for the yarn to wind on.)
    The Louet wheels are mostly bobbin lead. You would have to have some way to put a brake on the flyer so that your yarn would wind on. The biggest complaint I’ve read about bobbin lead wheels is that the draw-in tends to be pretty high. Of course there are work-arounds for it too. 🙂

  15. Sam permalink
    August 27, 2007 9:44 pm

    Well, well, well…what a beauty! I’m so glad that you two are finally together, because you are quite obviously made for one another. Happy spinning. Bee Fields is looking fabulous, too!

  16. August 28, 2007 12:04 am

    Wow! It’s gorgeous. 🙂

  17. August 28, 2007 8:54 am

    Wow, Caroline, that is one gorgeous wheel. I really love the ironwork details.
    The fleece is huge! It’s hard to believe it’s only half. Lot’s of spinning there for you!
    And the Bee Shawl…so pretty. You knit such lovely lace.

  18. Roberta permalink
    August 28, 2007 10:19 am

    What a beautiful work of art, and spins like a dream? Oh my! Could this be real? or will you soon be spinning straw into gold?

  19. August 28, 2007 10:25 am

    I love a wheel that sounds like a jet engine when it gets going!
    Is there a way to convert it to bobbin lead? I can see a Scotch tension spring and that’s usually what you can convert double drive to. I never do, though, as double drive is like my boyfriend. 🙂

  20. August 28, 2007 11:01 am

    Congratulations, it’s a beauty! I’m having new wheel envy…. I just love those Canadian Wheels, I think it’s the wrought iron thing combined with their elegant functionality. Like a good sportscar, no extras just SPEED. I hope you have many happy years together!

  21. August 29, 2007 1:40 pm

    Gorgeous wheel! I would be calling in sick and staying home to spin on that baby!

  22. August 31, 2007 7:18 am

    New wheel, new fleece, almost a whole new shawl… Life sure is sweet for you! 😀 I am jealous! LOL.

  23. August 31, 2007 7:50 am

    Your new wheel is beautiful! David does such a nice work 🙂 Happy Spinning!

  24. August 31, 2007 3:29 pm

    I’m having a little wheel envy. 🙂 I have some cormo sitting around so I’ll be curious to see what you do with yours.

  25. August 31, 2007 10:32 pm

    your wheel dream came true 🙂

  26. September 27, 2007 4:25 pm

    Drool.
    I love the work you have been doing Miss Fiddletwist! When did Miss E. get so big?
    The Quebec wheel is beautiful.

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