sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

bitten by my Schacht Matchless (and tumblr)

Okay, don't tell anyone but I don't want to knit any more. :)

It's totally a spring twitter*pated thing, no doubt an obsession with a big sturdy addition to my life thing. He makes me grin uncontrollably with his presence, attention, love (and it hasn't waned!!)... He's been around long enough and deserves an introduction.

my new-to-me Schacht Matchless

Everyone's got a name and gender for their wheel (well, not everyone!) and though I haven't named him, he feels like a boy. My Ashford Joy feels like a boy too, still nameless :)

I wasn't looking for this, this new obsession but it has hit me hard and to my core. I bought the Matchless from a seller on Craigslist who was local to me and had too many wheels to care for-- he came with two extra bobbins, a high speed whorl, and a price that made this unreachable wheel possible. I've since given him a good once-over rubdown with Wood Beams (I could tell he loved the pampering, as much as he laid back and drank in the oily wax I rubbed in!) and added a scotch tension setup since it was missing.

My Ashford Joy is setup for scotch tension, but I've since really come to appreciate the double drive of this wheel (it does both). I'm actually using it in a hybrid double drive setup now...


...stretchy drive band around the flyer/whorl, and the cotton Matchless band cut down and wound around the bobbin-- two separate loops but still spinning in double-drive mode. I like the idea of double drive, spinning without having to adjust the takeup tension, but I wasn't getting the amount of uptake I like. I spin a longdraw method, letting the wheel draft the non-predrafted fibers out as I pull back with my fiber holding hand and leaving my empty hand free to help when needed... The tensioned pull between us helps me put more tension and less air into my singles, so they aren't as soft and wooly as long draw spinning would usually make them. I found this sweet spot in spinning on my Joy, and didn't want to change my style of spinning just because I was on a new wheel.

In the Matchless' 'regular' double drive, I'd have to ratchet up the tension to the point where treadling became difficult when I found the amount of pull on the fibers I liked... with the hybrid setup, I can tie the cotton band more tightly (than the tension of the stretch band) and still manage the tension knob to finely tune the takeup-- it's working well.

I bought the drive band material (as well as the Schacht's scotch tension spring, Wood Beams, extra cotton drive bands and a slow speed Matchless whorl) from the super kind folks at Mielke's Fiber Arts who had everything in stock and shipped lightening fast. I cut the drive band to size (it came in a loop for another wheel, and I have the same amount left over)... and melted the ends with a lighter. It *only* worked when the plastic melted and blackened, not when the plastic was just soft-- but once it did and the ends were sealed together, it has held well.

I do have 2 separate cotton bands for the whorls (you'll see the spare hanging out in the first picture); since I have some high speed bobbins, I needed two circumferences of cotton bands to get the proper tension for each size bobbin whorl. No big deal, but that's what that is, if you were wondering :)

Back to my new Matchless, or really, to his back...


He's an older style matchless with a walnut insert at the back. Scoping the new Matchlesses (matchlii? :)) at Stitches West, I saw the newer ones had an all-maple back with walnut accents, exactly the same cut but just different colored woods.

How much older? According to the Schacht Spinners group on Ravelry, Schacht started official production on the Matchless' in 1988, and his birthday is 12-6-1988 :)


...backing off since I'm setting myself up for daddy jokes again, I'll just say I'm in love.

Proof? Okay.

Handspun 2-ply sock yarn, superwash merino from Fiber Fiend-- "Mars"
(looks like a heart! or...)

Handspun 2-ply sock yarn, superwash BFL from Dyeabolical Yarns-- "slither"

Handspun 2-ply worsted, Polwarth from A Verb for Keeping Warm-- naturally dyed with indigo and organic correopsis
(thank you so much Kristine!!!)

Handspun 2-ply superbulky, Corriedale from Black Bunny Fibers-- "Audacity"
(Barack Obama fundraiser colorway, all proceeds go to Obama campaign and Carol takes custom orders for yarn and roving for this colorway)

...there's more but whew, later! :) Need to refill that swimming pool.

Also need to go tinker with the blog layout-- I "upgraded" (ha) and hate it. There's no other good way to get the "older posts" links when viewing my tags though, and it's important for me that people be able to browse past Etsy Friday posts. So... I know it looks weird, and I can't get the archives centered, and the text looks wide even on my widescreen monitor, and and and. :)

So off to that, and to tumblr... my new ancillary obsession. I'm not sure if I'll keep it up, but I started a tumblelog clipping the news and information clouds I chase on teh Internets daily, previously shared with my audience of one. Please note, these links and pictures are not only political and personal, but also some 18+/NSFW stuff will undoubtedly show up along with stuff that's just boring and weird to most and very little knittingwise (so if you don't want to see that side of me, and that's OKAY, just be warned... I keep this blog quite neutral on purpose.)

For those interested (Jason got me thinking others would be so that's why I'm going on and on :))... there's a sweet firefox extension called Shareaholic that makes sharing and posting SUPER EASY, not just for tumblr but also twitter, digg, stumbleupon (there's also a bookmarklet, if you're not using firefox)... I also snagged a hellotxt mobile code* from Markingegno so I can post to tumblr and twitter (and others) at the same time from my ipod, AND (last one I promise) Choka on It is now setup for updating the world's longest poem via twitter so I can do all three at once...

Mr Brown would be SO proud of my multitasking ;)

I miss you! It's been too long already (obvious), can't wait til the next time. :)

*i have five four three hellotxt mobile coupon codes... so you can use hellotxt on the go to update your twitter, tumblr, jaiku, pownce, facebook, meemi, beemood, GoZub, frazr, AND numpa accounts from your mobile handset. email me if you want one (very bottom of the page), and i'll update here when they're all gone. you only need this code for the mobile version, hellotxt works just fine from a desktop already (and even the non-mobile version works on my ipod).


April said...

Umm, you speaka da English? :)

Is that yarn for ME????!!!!???? For it is beauteous.

Micki said...

The new wheel, he is beautiful! I completely understand about the not knitting thing. I've got a pair of socks that I've been neglecting for, oh, nearly two months, and it's all because of spinning.

adrienne said...

Your yarn is lovely, but aaaagh! I love the polwarth! It is just perfect!

jenfromRI said...

Oh my goodness, beautiful!! The wheel and the yarns! I love my Schacht Ladybug - maybe someday I'll upgrade. :)

Lisa R said...

Your new wheel is exactly one day older than me!

Kristine said...

1st off, I love the legos lying at the base of the Schacht. So sweet.

I am also so glad to hear that you are enjoying your wheel. When I fell in love with my lil hunybunny Schacht three years ago, I too began to lose touch with the knitting world. I still sometimes feel totally lame when knitters start talking about patterns and yarns and such, I can't keep up, I have been in my spinning vortex.

I am so happy you are enjoying your Polwarth! Honestly, I have a rare moment when I get to spin my fiber. So, thank you for spinning it! And giving me the gift of seeing what it looks like spun! All of your yarn is tremendous!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, have fun! That looks so relaxing. I bought a drop spindle awhile back, and I'm still trying to figure that out.

lexa said...

Love the new wheel! See, that's why I haven't gotten into spinning. I figure the knitting thing would grind to a halt or almost.

Jason said...

Schacht Matchless! So jealous! I've heard good things about this wheel. Your hand spun looks sooooo good! Can't wait to see your supercoil!

So, being very social, aren't we? :-) Love those web 2.0 goodies. I am going to put up a favorite list.

Josette said...

oh, he's very good looking, too! Spin, spin, that's all I want to do, too. Only trouble is, I like it when the yarn is made into something cozy as well. I am green with envy for Mrs. Weasley's magic 'knit without you' needles!

Lori Allen said...

The new Matchless, he's a beauty!
I have a Traveler but have been using and loving the Joy. I tried a newer Matchless before I bought my Traveler and almost went for it, but figured the Traveler was a more appropriate 'starter' wheel. You make me want to spin more!!

Oh, and before i forget, I found you searching for a hellotxt mobile coupon code, so if you have one, may I please get one?

Imagine my delight and surprise at stumbling upon a fellow fiber artiste!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
--donna said...

I like the way you handled the double drive. I've been using my Matchless with scotch tension, and with the new flyer it just doesn't do it for me. My mentor suggested double drive, so I'm trying it now, but will go hunt down a stretchy and fuxe it to size and then a separate cotton cord for the bobbin, to have an independently tensioned double drive. It sounds like a worthy thing to try. Way to go.

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