Sunday, January 12, 2014

My New Princess Kromski Minstrel Wheel!

It's been a year and a half since I got my lovely princess wheel, and thanks to a fan over on facebook, she now has a name. Meet Beth, short for Elizabeth, and daughter heir to the Throne of Wool. Fitting, no? :)

Originally posted on September 1, 2012:

You know that feeling you get when your package is taking_forever_to get to your house and when it finally arrives, you flip out with excitement? And it doesn’t have to be a huge package, or anything expensive either. This little smile creeps over your face and then explodes into a huge grin, teeth showing and lips spread wide, and then you do this embarrassing little dance that you never perform outside of your bathroom. Well, that was me when my new Kromski wheel showed up at work the other day. Yeah, I squeed like a 5-year old girl and did the embarrassing little dance in front of 15-20 people. But before I talk about my cool new wheel, I’d better catch ya’ll up on the recent events since we moved to Korea.

Before we left the US, we carefully packaged and labeled 6 boxes of personal items we wanted to have shipped to Korea. We worked out the math, and it would be hands-down far cheaper to ship it than to buy it while in Korea. So, we measured out the stuff we use all of the time and stored all of the rest. This boiled down to shipping over our computer and gaming systems, movies, books, fiber, spinning wheel, and drum carder. We shipped it the day we left on the plane (July 9), and the boxes arrived in Korea on July 12. I was surprised at how quickly they got here. Then, we got 6 letters from customs, which were entirely in Korean, that needed to be filled out and faxed back to them within 15 days. We had it “translated” by the HR at our work, then we filled them out and faxed them back. Then we waited. Then I asked a coworker how long before packages are usually delivered from customs, and he told me “about a week.” So we waited. Then we waited some more.

Now, all women have this little alarm that goes off in their brains when something feels wrong, and this is about when my alert button sounded the alarm. After 3 days of asking questions and actual translators helping us out, we figured out why it was taking so long to get our stuff. One of the boxes on the form we originally filled out was roughly translated to mean something like ‘this is our personal stuff that we will take back home when we leave the country.’ So, it made sense to check this box. However, what it actually means is ‘send this stuff back to sender.’ Well, that meant that we sent everything back to the US. I wish I could say it was so simple as waiting for it to arrive and then ship it back.

When our stuff was first shipped here, we paid for Priority International. To ship it back from customs (like we did on accident), no one was paying for the shipping. They shipped it via the cheapest means possible, which meant that our stuff was going back on a slow boat--probably a freighter barge. Our stuff left here on July 20, and of course we didn’t figure out the problem until July 28. Customs predicted that our stuff would arrive back in the States around early to mid-October. OCTOBER!! That is an eternity when you’ve been fiending for some fiber and something to spin it on. And because I had just bought a bunch of new work clothes before leaving, I didn’t even pack a spindle.

So, when we got our first paycheck from work, I immediately went online and decided to buy a new wheel. My Babe wheel has served me well for the last year and a half and has helped me spin a ton of yarn, I just couldn’t wait another 8 weeks for it to arrive at the in-laws’s house. Now that we have real jobs and aren’t trying to exist on a grad student income (which we did for 6 years), I decided, “Heck with it. I’m gonna buy me a sexy wheel!” Of course I didn’t phrase my desire quite like this, I think I ended up saying, “This wheel has a different tension system--single drive versus double drive--with different wheel ratios, so I should get this one so I can study the different ways to make yarn.” Heh, well this is all true, but I really wanted a princess wheel.

As soon as I got it home, I ripped open the package and set to work putting it together. Who cares about being hungry when the prospect of making yarn is only an hour away? It was super easy to put together (about an hour for both the wheel and the matching stool I bought separately), and I wasted no time digging out the fiber I just bought.

Without further adieu, I shall introduce you to my new wheel. It’s a Kromski Minstrel with a mahogany finish. It was two tension options, one of which is scotch tension (single drive) and the other is double drive. I was confused about this at first until I had the chance to actually use one, so a double drive just has a drive band that runs around the wheel twice and goes over the whorl and bobbin each once. Confusing? Perhaps I’ll take a video of that in action. :)

Isn’t she beautiful? I totally get how people who have antique wheels have a whimsical-like experience every time they pull their wheel out to spin. I started working on some woolgatherings bfl/firestar blend that I talked about in my last post. I didn’t have a leader, so I just made a real quick leader by hand (perhaps I’ll show you how to do that too--it’s super easy to do) and tied it to the bobbin. From there, the rest is history!

I’m looking to turn this into a 3-ply fingering weight yarn for a new shawl. I have 8 ounces of this fiber, so I might be able to do a shawl and something else. Here is the polwarth/silk blend spun up and plied:

Last thing. I started uploading videos to my YouTube channel, which I meant to start uploading videos to back in October last year. I plan to use it as a vlog about crafting and living in Korea, and I’ll hopefully be adding in tutorials and how-tos about spinning, drum carding, and whatever else. Be sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss a video. If you want to see something specific, let me know about that too!