About three weeks ago, a friend informed me she was selling her spinning wheel, and did I know of anyone interested?
Telling a fellow spinner there's a wheel out there for grabs is akin to telling a desperate single person about a gorgeous bachelor - maybe they're not for you, maybe you won't even like each other, but it can't hurt to ask their name and find out what they look like, you know, just in case.
I already had two wheels, I certainly didn't need a new one, but this just happened to be a model I'd been coveting for a while: a Lendrum DT. I couldn't resist giving this lady a go. Turns out, I really liked her. Oh boy.
This Canadian scotch-tension wheel created by Gord Lendrum folds up nicely for travel (there's even a special carrier bag for it as an extra). Weighing only 14 lbs, or 6.3 kg, it's very easy to carry around. The flyer head comes off easily by twisting a simple knob, and you can easily store the wheel under a bed if you're pressed for space.
This particular model came with a regular flyer and a jumbo (with a large orifice), a tensioned Lazy Kate, 4 regular bobbins and one large, plus two drive bands (one for each flyer head). Ratios for the regular flyer are 6:1, 8:1 and 10:1, and the jumbo flyer's are 5:1, 7:1 and 9:1.
The first thing I have to say about the Lendrum is that, to me, it looks really good design-wise. I've always been fond of the modern castle-type wheels, so this ticks all the right buttons. It's simple, yet elegant. It's also very sturdy, made from solid maple wood. The scotch tension is easily set by twisting another small knob near the bobbin and, also on the flyer, the orifice hook has its own home in a little hole created just for it (very handy if you tend to lose small objects like I do).
I decided to test her again at home by spinning some fibre, as you do. I had some uninteresting wool top I'd purchased a while ago and never felt inspired to spin, so I got my drum carder out and made an art batt with some more wool in different colours, plus added sparkle and recycled sari silk.
When I tried the Lendrum DT with the regular flyer and some simple wool top at my friend's house, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to treadle and how smoothly it turned. Not that I expected it to go any differently, but it's like finding out that good-looking guy at the bar is also a well-manered conversationalist...
When I switched to the large flyer to use the large bobbin however, it was a completely different story. It was much harder to treadle, there was a definite resistance and I kept readjusting the scotch tension to see if it made any difference (it did, but only slightly). Honestly, I'm not too keen on using the large flyer regularly and wouldn't have kept the Lendrum if it spun like this throughout. Sticking to the analogy, it's like finding out the good-looking nice guy lives with his mother - could be a deal breaker for some...
This wheel comes with two drive bands (that's the cord that goes around the large wheel and the flyer, making the bobbin go around as you treadle): one for the regular bobbins and another for the large ones. This is another thing I wasn't too keen on, because you're supposed to use a plier to change drive bands, and if you like spinning fine yarns one day and chunky the other, you'll find yourself having to change that band a lot.
Having said this, I went for a great suggestion I read online somewhere: just keep both drive bands on the wheel! By doing this you'll only need to use the pliers once to get them on, and because both bands will always be on the wheel, you'll be able to choose which one you want in the spur of the moment without any complications. I just keep the one I'm not using folded and tied with a bit of string, and I'm good to go.
There's also one last thing that can put people off the Lendrum: there's no instructions manual. Although this shouldn't be a problem with more experienced spinners, I'm sure new spinners would appreciate some guidance, particularly when it comes to the existence of two drive bands and their purpose (I myself only realised the reason for them by watching a demo video on YouTube. "You mean it's not an extra one for when the other breaks?")
I did a second test run, consisting of core spinning, simply because I love the technique and it makes the fibre go a long way. The end result was pretty satisfactory, in the sense that the wheel did its job and my work didn't suck. I'd have liked more contrast in the fibre, but that's another issue.
I then spun two braids of superwash top onto two small bobbins and the Lendrum DT did great, as expected. I switched to the jumbo bobbin again to ply and it got pretty full, as you can judge by the picture above. I've come to terms with my needing a bit more (literal) legwork to keep the wheel going with the jumbo setup, but I'm still very happy with my purchase.
Now, onto the furry part of the post.
The friend who sold me the wheel was also looking for someone to adopt her cat; she is spending a lot of time abroad and this kitty needs a lot of attention, so an ideal situation would be for her to find someone who spent a lot of time at home and didn't mind a cuddly feline.
I've missed having a pet. I left my cats back home with my mother when I moved to the UK, thinking it wouldn't be long before I collected them, but life had other plans. After two of them passed away and only Squish remained, my mother and I decided he was too old to travel at 15, so he'll be staying with her for the rest of his life (he's very happy there). This made me a very cat-deprived person, so when the opportunity presented for me to foster this cat, I jumped at it - what better way to get my furry fix and enjoy some purrs for a while?
So... meet Marshmallow (Mallow for short).
Mallow is a beautiful Serengeti cat. Her markings are gorgeous and her fur is so soft I often find myself stroking her head absentmindedly for hours. She's also very fond of my lap (but my legs need to be covered, she's not fond of bare skin!) and takes very long power naps. She doesn't "talk" much and, saving the absolute best part for last, she doesn't care one bit for fibre! I really mean not one bit: I have wool top and yarn all around the house and this girl shows no interest in it at all. How perfect is she for this household?
You can obviously tell Mallow stole my heart. Can you guess the rest of the story? Since she was available for adoption, and after making sure her personality traits were constant and a good match for us, my partner and I decided to keep her for good. Who were we kidding, she had us at "meow."
Do you have a pet? How are they around fibre? And how do they behave when you're crafting? I'd love to find out if I just adopted the only fibre-immune kitty in the world...
If you own a Lendrum DT, or have tried one before, share your thoughts on it in the comments section.