Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

NH Sheep & Wool, Part Three: The Search for the Wheel Truth

Filed under: Craft Shopping,Shopping Adventures,Special Events,Spinning — folkcat at 1:31 pm on Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On to Stop #2 on the Wool Arts Tour, Chauncey Farm in Antrim, NH.

Chauncey Farm Stand

Among the things that caught Gryphon’s eye:

A 700-pound pumpkin;

700 pound Pumpkin

Me, watching a very hungry alpaca;

Hungry Alpaca

The hungry alpaca’s shy, two-tone penmate.

Shy Alpaca

Lots of great vendors at this stop. Great yarn, lovely rovings, fun t-shirts. I don’t recall seeing a spinner sitting and spinning anywhere, though I may be mistaken.

I resisted all the fiber. I was on a mission at this point, after all. I had acquired my drop spindle, and now I wanted to see spinning wheels and talk to their owners. I admired the offerings available at Chauncey Farm, and came away with only a jar of homemade apple jelly (delicious!) and a bumper sticker that says Spin Free or Dye.

Next Stop: Mirage Alpacas

Over the river and through the woods, driving over hill and dale…it takes a while to get to Mirage Alpacas, but it’s worth it.

The only pictures Gryphon took here were of the field of alpacas one passes on the way from your parking spot w-a-a-a-a-y down the road to the entrance. Here’s the best one:

Field of Alpacas

After this, Gryphon got as lost as I did in the examination of spinning wheels and the (friendly) interrogation of their spinners. Mirage Alpacas is a distributor of a few makes of wheel, including Ashfords, and they have a room where many models are set up for test runs. While I didn’t actually spin anything on them, I did get a feel for the true size of each model, how it would sit in relation to my body as I spun at it, and I tried how the treadling felt and how easily one could make the wheel spin in either direction.

Adjacent to this was another large room with many vendors, and almost everyone seemed to be spinning. Almost all of our time at Mirage was spent talking to everyone about their wheels, getting their opinions about the different models.

One vendor had us each sit down at her Majacraft Rose and try the treadling. Amusingly, this was just as a reporter from the Hillsborough Villager newspaper came around taking pictures. He got some good shots of Gryphon pretending that he was actually spinning on the Majacraft. Then I pulled out my Lucite-shaft CD drop spindle and he photographed me spining on that. I think they publish later in the week; he told us that even if they don’t get into the paper, they put additional photos in the gallery at the website.

Other wheels I got to see included the Hitchhiker. It’s a cute little wheel, but not for me. I’m so set on spinning lace weight that there’s no point in my even considering a wheel that isn’t equipped to do that easily.

The one disappointment at Mirage was that the flyer for the Tour had listed demonstrations of a sock-knitting machine, and that wasn’t to be found anywhere. We did, at least, learn why – the woman who would do the demonstrations has been stuck running the Mirage Gift Shop for the last two years, and the sock machine demonstration isn’t supposed to even be listed in the flyer anymore. Ah, well.

Tomorrow:

The last two stops, and the resolution of the quest for the wheel!

2 Comments

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Comment by Cheryl

October 11, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

Can’t wait to see what your wheel decision was!!
Did you see the Ashford Country Spinner Wheel there at Mirage Alpacas, with the HUGE bobbin? That was the first time I’d ever seen one in person. I tried it out but wasn’t crazy about it.

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Comment by Valerie in San Diego

October 11, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

Aww, cute pic of you with the alpaca!

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