18 March 2008

Spinning Wheel

I need a wheel. It has moved beyond the point of want and become a need -- fiber artists understand this. I rented a wheel from my LYS, because I wasn't sure whether spinning was going to be a continuing obsession or just a try-it-once, ok-curiosity-satisfied adventure. I'm fairly well headed down the path of obsession. And yet, I'm still reluctant to take the plunge...

I have the money available... sort of. It's earning interest and compounding and growing and doing what it's supposed to be doing. I have this thing, though, about taking money out of my savings. I see savings as what my dad calls, "attitude money." It's what you have in reserve, so if your checking gets a little low, or things get a little strained, you know you have that little bundle in the wings, just in case. It's not meant to be spent; it's meant to be... well, saved. I've taken money out of it before -- to buy art, which I rationalize as an investment -- even though I'm not sure how much the pieces I've bought will appreciate, if at all.

Buying art, up to a certain point, is a bit of a gamble. There are some artists I know whose work will definitely appreciate; others, who knows. There's little way of knowing what will be in demand fifty years down the road -- only educated guesses. I stick to buying what I love; that way, even if it doesn't appreciate significantly, at least I will always enjoy having it around.

Spinning wheels are like little bitty cars in terms of depreciation. Cars are depreciating assets (I hope you've heard this before) -- they lose value as soon as you take it off the lot. There are exceptions, of course, including classic cars, and some Porsches, if you keep them in perfect condition. A used spinning wheel is not going to sell for the price you bought it new, even in perfect condition. Like cars, though, the depreciation is on a sliding scale -- a used Schacht in perfect condition will sell for proportionately more than a used Louet in perfect condition. There is probably more chance of selling a used Schacht than a used Louet, because more people can afford a new Louet. I'm also wondering if the resale market is so small because people don't want to get rid of their wheels, i.e. if you buy a Schacht, you keep it for 20 years. Thoughts on this, anyone?

When I opened the savings account, I had the intention of buying a bear rug. I told myself that when I had saved twice as much as I needed to buy the rug, I could buy one of my choice (probably grizzly. I really wanted a polar bear but there's no easy, legal way to obtain one in the United States).* I had a place for it right in front of my fireplace. Problem is, I sold that house three years ago. Now I have the money, but no perfect place for it, which is why I'm not so keen on it anymore. Priorities have shifted. And I'm afraid of that happening with my wheel -- so important to me this past year, but in a couple years -- who knows?

ATTENTION SPINNERS: Do you have a wheel you love? Did you have a wheel you eventually sold? Tell me about it! comment here or email me at cshopmail at yahoo dot com.

The other hesitation is that I'm a little overwhelmed by choice -- I've researched so many wheels online, from the small craftsmen to the production companies, and I still can't make a choice. So far, all I know is I will probably buy a castle wheel because of its size and portability. My wheel must be portable. I probably want a double treadle, or one with a big single treadle, because I've found plying is much easier using both feet.
  • The Schacht Ladybug caught my eye because it has a red wheel. It's cute; it's portable; it's relatively inexpensive (for a Schacht). Anyone tried one? Does the red wheel become annoying with time?
  • The Schacht Matchless is one of my top choices, but on the higher end.
  • The Ashford Elizabeth is my favorite-looking wheel, but not portable = not an option right now.
I'm also going to need some high-speed bobbins/whorls. I like to spin fingering/cobweb weight yarn. I'll need a Lazy Kate (or two). I found that three bobbins are not nearly enough for me. I like to spin up lots of singles and then ply them at will... I'm going to want at least five bobbins to start.

*sigh* I'm going to buy a new orifice hook at Sheep & Wool (the dogs ate the one I bought last year).

A few of my spinning friends have tossed around the idea of a trip to The Mannings for a wheel expedition. I like that idea better than making a decision at MD Sheep & Wool -- I don't like making that kind of decision on the fly, in a crowded, pressured situation. No matter how laid-back the staff is, festivals and fairs are pressure situations -- there's a time limit built into them.

Not all things with built-in time limits are bad, though. Most weekends I go downtown to a little flower shop and buy myself a bouquet -- does wonders to get one through the winter. Last Saturday I bought a bunch of fritillaria meleagris. The checkered flowers turn white with age. I want to buy a bunch of these and naturalize them down by the stream.

*side note: if you're against fur, it won't do any good to tell me I'm a horrible person. I've accepted this as a part of my animal-loving, meat-eating, fur-wearing personality. I'm okay with you thinking I'm a horrible person; your condemnations cause me no shame or guilt, because that opinion doesn't matter to me. Please keep those comments to yourself, or share them amongst your friends, but don't waste your breath on me. It would be as fruitful as me trying to convince you to wear fur. I'm a lost cause, and happily so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HI there. I can't help but respond when I read "I need a wheel." And your Dad is right about attitude money. Never heard it called that before, but it's right on.

I am a Schacht dealer and a spinner myself. I have a Matchless that is 4 years old and in fantastic condition. I am selling it because they are making an anniversary edition in solid cherry that I dearly desire but I cannot justify buying another Matchless in pretty wood.

For what it's worth, these are the best wheels available and the only ones I will ever sell. You cannot go wrong. I have new ones for sale too but if you are seriously thinking about buying a used Matchless you won't see many of them because most people won't part with them. Give me a call if you want to. Best wishes, Christine 631-745-3911 www.nowandzenyarns.com