Living the Rural life means regularly getting boxes in the mail. It is a matter of access and cost, but I could do a whole series of posts on that. It would be interesting to make some comparisons with someone who lives in an urban setting. Back to packages, most of them are dull as can be, but this week a very special package arrived. It contained the new Jumbo Flyer for my Ashford Traveller (as if I have more than one wheel).
O has been doing a lot of spinning lately. Mostly still lumpy art yarn style spinning, but occasionally be puts in the effort to make a nice even yarn. For his purposes both are lovely. He’s really taken to using his circular loom, having completed four pieces. Plans for a blanket depicting a seascape and dragon feature prominently in his talk of weaving. He bought a roll of red sequin trim last time we made it to Sew Green, that will be used for dragon scales and rubies.
Our County fair is held just the other side of town and Wednesday is Sheep and Wool Day. This year I’ve met many of those involved in the Sheep to Shawl Competition as they are members of the spinning group I joined last fall. Sheep and Wool was also being organized by a friend who breeds Romdale and owns the orchard on our road. When she was looking for volunteers I signed up to help with the kids portion of sheep and wool. O and I would teach drop spindle, branch weaving (really about my weaving proficiency level), crochet. Then the floods came and Sheep and Wool had to be canceled as parts of the fairgrounds, the organizers house were flooded and the highways heading North, South and West were closed. We were disappointed, but we have ideas for next year.
Next week, however, is our annual camping trip and Oren will get to attend Angel’s Wilderness Woolery. Actually this will likely be canceled and moved to town due to high waters, but the effect is the same. He will get to show off his skills to the other kids and help teach them to weave. I’m so proud of him. He can often be flighty in his interests. He is only 7.
All of this interest and his increased skill encouraged me to let him try spinning on the wheel on his own. He’s drafted, while I’ve treadled a few times before and he likes to tell me that Gramma was going to give him the wheel first. With the regular flyer his yarn was to thick in places to feed evenly. Having already “mastered” spinning on the drop spindle this wasn’t something I encountered when trying the wheel. I’d been eyeing up a jumbo flyer on eBay, new in the box and for about two thirds the cost of new, thinking it would be great for plying, but when the price dropped to half the cost of new just after Oren’s troubles-click, click and a box arrived.
The saying “and the stars aligned” felt applicable, when I also found a blog post recommending a plastics free wood wax (Johnson’s Paste Wax) available at my local hardware store for a tiny fraction of the cost of Ashford wheel wax (before shipping) in a large container and could be used without concern on other wood projects too. My wheel hadn’t been treated since it was purchased in 2011 or 2012. As I’ve learned about wheel care, I had picked up a maintainence kit to oil it and for spare parts, but the wax was exorbitant to me.
Before the new jumbo flyer was installed, everything was cleaned and waxed by myself and my two small volunteers. Now we have a wheel that is shiny and pretty like all the others I’ve seen.