Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Which way is the right way?

This January I have been giving some much needed tlc to some unloved wheels

Back before Christmas I nabbed this Haldane Shetland on Ebay

The poor wheel had at some time been kept in a damp place, because there were water marks on the treadle and the maidens protruded out of the mother-of-all far too much!  So I let her sit in a corner away from the heat for a few weeks.  This seemed to work as the maidens could be settled further into the MOA, so time for some tlc.

From the brochure shown here the Haldane Shetland came either stained and polished for £78.90 or plain and sanded for £71.50! Mine was the cheaper plain and sanded!!

It was pretty obvious that very little polish had been applied to this poor wheel the wood look dead and felt rough to the touch, but a clean, a light sand and a re-wax has made all the difference - the wood shines.

All the rough bits are now as smooth as a baby's bottom and the uprights are now sitting flush with the MOA

So to spin, well it was like treadling treacle - a Shetland owning friend had a go, and she couldn't spin on her either, so I took my Shetland to meet her little cousin.

Left: Mark 1 Flyer - Right: Mark 2 Flyer
When I put her flyer and whorl on my wheel there was no problem and we were spinning effortlessly clockwise!  All very strange indeed!  Then it was suggested by an Haldane owner on Ravelry that she might be a left-hand or plying wheel and low and behold she spins anti-clockwise like a dream.

So what makes a wheel a lefty?  I was given to understand that if I put a flyer with the hooks on the right - like this one from my Orkney all would be normal.

Not so, which is really strange because the other Shetland flyer work clockwise - now it seems that my little Shetland only wants to spin anti-clockwise!

The other wheel that needed a lot of attention was - this poor Traditional which had been liberally covered in what appeared to be a yacht varnish - over every screw, hook and even the con rod leather!

  Much later and after many hours of stripping and waxing she looks like this

Now with a new tension knob, and scotch tension she is like new and ready for a new home!

A final thought on which way is the right way? 

Top down or bottom up - that is the question when it comes to sweaters - why are nearly all American patterns written for top down and UK ones for bottom up?  Top down you can try as you knit and there is little or no sewing to do afterwards, but which gives the best fit?  February's challenge to myself knit a top down sweater, but do I buy a pattern or design my own - time will tell!!

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