Elena (on the left) and I have been meeting Saturdays for the last few months to SIP at HumBrews, and we decided that when Farmers' Market started back up, we'd change our venue. Couldn't have *asked* for better weather, and we had a couple Purl 'n Hurler knitters (Bea, Marianne, & Autumn) join us. Plans are to make this a regular thing, so come out if you're a loc.
When I got home, Cole had a big surprise for me: he'd repaired the Pirtle wheel I bought waaaay back in December, and she's ready to spin on! Freakin' UPS dropped or otherwise destroyed the box it was shipped in, and for some inexplicable reason *disassembled* the damn thing before delivering it, and in the process broke the connector between the footman and the treadle. Anyway, Cole fabricated a new one for me yesterday, of jatoba (Brazilian cherry) - much prettier than the original, which looked like plywood. So, I present Myrtle, my lovely Pirtle Bulky Spinner in gorgeous shedua wood (I want to say the light-colored wood is maple or ash, but I can't remember).
She's an Irish tension wheel, bobbin-driven rather than flyer-driven like Harry, my Lendrum, so will take some getting used to. After trying to spin on her last night, I discovered that her wood seems to be swollen from the humidity here, so her yarn guides don't slide and her flyer doesn't turn. My personal Pirtle expert, Janice, tells me Vaseline is the answer to all her ills, but know-it-all that I am, I think I'll try some wood wax first.
For those of you who don't know about Pirtle wheels (I didn't), they were designed and made in the 1970s by a husband/wife team, in Huntington Beach, CA, Paul & Beverly Pirtle. The rumor about these wheels, only about 200 of which were ever produced, was that they were made by hippies on a commune using whatever wood scraps were lying around at hand. Sadly, this isn't the case (how cool would that have been?); Paul is a retired Air Force engineer, and he built them in his garage. :)
These wheels have amazing capabilities: the orifice and sliding yarn guides are 1", and the bobbins can hold up to 2.2 POUNDS of yarn. I have both the regular (huge) and bulky (ginormous) bobbin/flyer setups. What I'd love to find someday is the matching lazy kate. And hopefully when Cole masters his new lathe, he can make me some extra bobbins, because I only have one of each, so no plying for now. I'm excited about the possibilities of spinning on this wheel, and you can be sure you'll see the results here.