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Edward’s First Yarn Work

This morning, before I had had more than about a sip of coffee, my 7-year-old son walked up to me all super-perky and said, “Mom, is there any yarn you have and you are not going to use it so you want to sell it?”

“Why?” I asked him.

“I want some yarn for a project,” he said. said something about a cat toy or something. I got a couple more sips of coffee and went to go dig out some yarn for the manchild to have for his own stash. He picked out the world’s most day-glo orange, and a deep blue, Red Heart Super-Saver oddballs from my stash of those (you have to have that sort of yarn around, for moments like this, you see). The manchild was FAR more awake than me, and sat immediately down on the floor and pronounced he was going to combine the two yarns into one fatter yarn. He lined up the two ends, started twisting, and then said, “Hrrrm. This could take a while.”

So, to make a long story short… I said I’d set him up on a wheel and teach him to ply. Mind you, this is actually a fairly self-serving thing — because if he learns to ply and he gets good at it, I can continue the many-generations-old tradition of making kids do all the tedious plying. After some consideration, I concluded that the spare Suzie would probably be the right thing to get him set up with — double treadle, already on the beat-up side, adjustable in lots of ways, and practically identical to my primary wheel so something he’s seen in action lots. Even though he initially thought it would be more fun to use the cute one with one big treadle and a fuzzy treadle cozy, he bought into it. 😉 I probably would have opted for the Kiwi too, but that’s out on loan. No Journey wheel for starting him off, no charka action, no extremely fast 40-year-old double drive electric spinner of great deadliness and volume.

That Suzie needs some TLC. I may end up putting the not-hi-speed-head from my Suzie Pro on it. This one is some sort of older, maybe prototype, Suzie, that I bought used. All in all it’s in okay shape, but needs TLC, and since we replaced the drive wheel and the bracket the footman rods connect to is different in form factor and balance from what the newer drive wheel would have expected, eventually, I have to get ahold of Majacraft and get a new whatever-that-piece-is… so since the balance of the wheel is flawed right now, it’s got the ST-like “where it balances and comes to rest” issue, which isn’t typical for a Majacraft wheel. And it wont have that once it’s had more TLC. Anyway, so I quickly rewrangled the scotch tension rig, which also needs love, got things settled, and sat the boy down to get plying.

Chad helps out with making sure Edward can keep treadling, especially given that the length of his legs means that the chair AND the wheel kept scooting on the floor.

Once he’d get things going, he’d start singing: in the beginning, “Feeding it yarn, feeding it yarn, feeding it yarn…” and then at this point, after we’d readjusted things by putting non-slip stuff under the wheel, under the boy-sized rocking chair (which in turn had to be kept from rocking by placing shoes under the rockers in the back, because he was losing treadling power because the chair would rock instead, hah), “I can see a mountain of yarn piling up, I can see a mountain of yarn piling up…”

Any time that he’d stop though, he’d also instantly relax all tension on the yarn, and then things would backspin and… then he’d start again and sometimes in the wrong direction. 😉 Since he rationally understands it all, having spent so much time with me for a mom and whatnot, he didn’t have any problem understanding what’s SUPPOSED to happen, and some things, I think, came very instinctively to him — observe his hands in the video, not bad for approximately 3 minutes of experience plying on a wheel!

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I’ve told him that if he gets good at this, I will indeed pay him to do it. I think there’s even a possibility it would work out really well for him as he could burn up energy while we all sort of sit still. Realistically I’m not any better at sitting still than he is — I have just managed to acquire a few fidgeting activities that don’t give the impression of simple fidgeting, and which produce concrete results.

Posted in both my LJ and spinningfiber…