Good Evening, this is the KBBC and here is the news from our Yorkshire reporter(*):
'Ow do lad. Regardless of t'tiny amount of snow and ice which appears to be doing its best to paralyse this fine country of ouwers, ouwer top story tonight comes from t'village o' Wentworth where magic were performed last night before ouwer very eyes.
The great master magician, known only as H, turned t'tiny spinning wheel into something a whole lot bigger. Whilst no-one can say for certain the source of t'amazing magical powers, villagers attribute it to his handknit socks.
One thing's for certain though lad, from t'look o' t'lass, he'll be well covered in handknits for a while to come. Tarra now.
(* I'm married to a good Yorkshireman; I jest with great affection)
It is however true that the promised Christmas magic has come to fruition. It just so happens (oh how conveniently) that the route back home from H's parents in Yorkshire can be diverted to pass the little village of Wentworth (J35 of the M1) and the wonderful Wingham Woolworks.
I called them yesterday morning to check that they were open in the afternoon (it being their first day back from Christmas) and they were more than happy for us to come through and try out spinning wheels.
Wentworth is a beautiful Yorkshire village and the shop is set up in a little barn and a glasshouse in the orchard and a few other outbuildings, packed to the gunnels with fibre and books and wonderfully tempting things. The wheels are in the glasshouse which (when it's daylight) looks out over the hills, and set up for me to try were the two wheels that I was really interested in - the Kromski Sonata and the Ashford Joy.
I had tried Alice and Diane's Joys on the Socktopus spinning course and liked them, and had a few recommendations to try the Sonata so I was fairly open minded - the only restriction was that it needed to fit in the car to get it home, and needed to fit in our lounge once it arrived.
I treadled both wheels for a good while to get used to the feel of them - and do the classic Carie manoeuvre; gradually increasing the distance between the wheel and me so that my legs fit(!) - and we talked through the pros and cons of each. I had a good look at the other wheels in the glasshouse but nothing appealed as much as these two and my feet rapidly told me which one I liked best.
Happily this turned out to be the one that H liked the look of best as well - which as he has to live with it in our lounge was good; I couldn't in all honesty have imposed a piece of equipment/ furniture on him that he hated the very sight of.
All of the Wingham wheels come with a £25 fibre voucher, some of which came home in voucher and some of which came home in bags of sheepy goodness - well a girl needs some practice fibre doesn't she! I can't rate Wingham highly enough after yesterday's experience; I was always going to be in 7th heaven with that much wool around but H also got on well with the owners which bodes well for future visits.
So, before you scroll down and purely for fun - which one do you think I went with?
It came in a box:
With Polish newspaper (from 14 Lutego 1994- clearly the wheel was just meant to be a husband to wife gift)
Underneath the newspaper were the three bobbins, the flyer and some little bits and bobs:
And underneath them, was a bag:
Which incidentally is included with the wheel and has quite an impact on the price difference between a Kromski and an Ashford, once you factor the bag on top of the Ashford.
So here we are, please meet my Sonata (and small friend); my first spinning wheel. The whole set up took H and I less than 10 mins, and after digging in my bag of woolly wonders:
I spent the evening spinning oatmeal BFL. I've worked out a distance from the sofa where I can lie back on the cushions and treadle gently and - well it's a match made in heaven. Or Yorkshire.
In fact it's a wonder that I'm posting at all - yesterday H called my parents to tell them that he'd called them on the basis that if they were on the phone I might stop spinning long enough to talk to them. He was joking; at least I think so....!
Such a wonderful gift deserves a treat and this is where I need your help. While we were watching The 39 Steps (the new BBC version), H said that he rather liked Richard Hannay/ Rupert Penry Jones' jumper - the oatmeal coloured one that he wore at the end by the loch and could I knit (as in, was I capable of knitting) that jumper. It looked to me like a very plain ribbed raglan sleeve jumper, but there was something a bit interesting going on with the shoulders. Has anyone seen a pattern for anything like it? I've got the 39 Steps recorded so I think I'll be going back and forth to catch the pattern, notebook in hand!