I've spun up the singles--pretty stuff Lisa Souza superwash merino in the Mardi Gras colourway. As advised by Molly my spinning sensai I'm over spinning the singles and over plying the whole thing to get a strong sproingy yarn. (Sorry about the iphone photos--I figured it was better to do this then not blog at all, but you may disagree!)
I'm also spinning up 8oz instead of the usual 4 because I'm not sure if I'll be able to stretch out the 4oz to make socks on my first try.
I must say, the whole thing is taking forever...
Well, the singles went fast enough, but the plying is never. going. to. finish.
I've had a few glitches along the way. First is time--I thought I could do it in an evening and well it's been the usual craziness here so "in an evening" really means, in a few minutes I get between activities.
Then the big drive band that makes the treadles go broke. I'm not sure why, but there was a moment when the whole thing felt like I was biking up the big hill on my street and then wham!
The Little Gem doesn't have a traditional treadle system with footmen, but instead uses a big elastic to make the treadles spin the drive wheel. Like this (the lower green band):
I tried MacGivering a few things that didn't work, but then managed to trim and burn the ends enough to melt the drive band back together until I can get another one.
Yesterday, drive band intact, I got going again only to realize I put the band on the wrong way and so was plying in the wrong direction. Sigh. It took a few minutes to figure out what was happening, and a lot longer to fix it.
Last night (me and the wheel needed some time away from each other) I got in the groove and went back to plying pretty sock yarn.
I still have at least another evening to go. I definitely need a smaller whorl to make this go faster and perhaps a bigger wheel. I'm jonesing for a Matchless. I love my Little Gem, but really see how a big wheel goes faster without as much work from me.