A Tale Of Two Sisters

I'm either a very, very good sister or a very, very bad one... depending on your perspective. Some days, I know my dear brother-in-law just shakes his head at my latest hijinks and braces himself for the inevitable ripple effect in his own household. When my recent introduction to handspinning fiber kicked into an all-out immersion into all things spinning, I could sense him reaching for safety bars from half a country away!

My nimble-fingered, knitting sister (B, in New Orleans) was the first of us to attempt drop spindling, a few years ago, but she hadn't really taken off with it. I remember looking at the little cop of thread on her learning spindle and thinking, "That's nuts." Apparently, she thought so, too, because she put it down for years and didn't finish until after I talked with her about my new spinning obsession last month. Since then, we've been on the phone almost daily talking about yarn, making yarn, spinning techniques, spinning tools, roving, how to get roving, experimenting with roving — you get the picture.

She determinedly worked her way through that first attempt and, about 2 weeks ago, produced this (which I think is pretty, but she thinks is a mess).

But it seems there aren't a lot of resources for spinners in New Orleans these days. So it's been very difficult for her to feed the obsession. She traveled back to visit a friend at her previous hometown in Southern California a couple weeks ago and bought a pretty new Mount St. Helens spindle from Cascade, as well as some very lovely fiber to spin.

See how gorgeous her thread's turning out on this peachy BFL? And the beautiful maple whorl on her spindle has got me wanting a pretty spindle to replace my dog-gnarled Schecht Hi-Lo, now lovingly referred to as "Fang." (The spindle-desire may be rectified by my birthday later this week.)

Where is this all going? Well, as with me, B quickly found she loves the drop spinning so much she wanted a wheel. The hunt has been on! At one point she considered acquiring a >30-year-old Ashford Traditional spinning wheel located a 2 days' drive from her home because she was driving our mom back to Ohio, anyways, and the loop down through Kentucky "wouldn't be that big a deal since we'll already be on the road." I've been searching Craigslist and other online resources for used wheels daily, thinking, "If I find a really good deal and get it for her, she could come visit and pick it up! And if I find it fast enough, we might even be able to do the Puget Sound yarn crawl together!!!" I even thought about adding an over-priced 200-year-old walking wheel to my collection last week just because I saw it during my adventures in wheel hunting for B.

You know the kind of craziness that knit- and fiber-happy sisters are supremely capable of making seem perfectly rational? We're all over it.

Then B got brilliant. She'd discovered the Mother Marion kick-wheel and all its variations on the internet and decided, "If my sister can make spindles, I can make this!" Three days and several phone calls later, she has this:

Check out the kickin' wheel! Now, you should know that she's a perfectionist, and the first thing she'll do if she shows you her wheel is point out all its flaws (mostly in aesthetics, resulting from the use of mixed woods... not flaws in design). She designed it and drove around locating all the pieces and parts she thought would go together well to make it. My ever-patient brother-in-law helped make the assembly happen. I don't see flaws. I see an amazing, successful project! And she built the entire thing for just about $15!!!!

I contributed much good moral support by phone, and I filled in one significant gap in the picture:

I'd been stashing roving to send her from Seattle ever since we discovered the scarcity in NOLA. As we discussed the impending completion of her new, higher-capacity kick wheel late this week, I quickly assessed a need to step up my shipping schedule. She got the stash two days later.

Where's the "bad" in this? From my sister's perception, not much... except possibly for the fact that I wrapped a seriously ugly looking package to send it all in!

Bad, very bad sister on that one. I'm fairly certain B's dog thinks there's a bomb in there. But, hey, it carried so much fibery goodness I think even my brother-in-law can forgive me for igniting B's spinning obsession!

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