30 May 2016 Update: I originally learned the “Houndstooth Check” pattern from the book 100 Pin Loom Squares by Florencia Campos Correa. Loved the square, but thought her instructions were insufficient, so I wrote my own–with  LOTS of photos. Today I updated the instructions to make them more clear and to make their terminology agree with words and symbols I’ve come to use consistently during the past year of my Adventures in Pin Loom Weaving.

A 3-star book, 100 Pin Loom Squares does not provide 100 weaving patterns nor 100 unique color combinations, so its title is misleading and the book is something of a disappointment.

100 Pin Loom Squares by Florencia Campos Correa. The title is misleading. There aren’t 100 different patterns and there aren’t even 100 different color combinations. Nevertheless, the book is still useful.

This photo shows some different color combinations of the houndstooth check.

I'm not going to call this four different squares, but I'll call it four different color combinations of the houndstooth check pattern.

I’m not going to call this four different squares, but I’ll call it four different color combinations of the houndstooth check pattern.

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Me test-driving a Lendrum Original--the wheel I decided to buy.

Me test-driving a Lendrum Original–the wheel I decided to buy.

1) INSTINCT–Ultimately I bought the wheel I wanted. Don’t ignore your leanings. If you favor one brand, or one type, over another, pay attention.

2) EXPERIENCE–I listened to people who said, “Try as many as you can,” but I only tried two different wheels. (I liked both the wheels I tried.) However, I saw several in action at a retreat I attended, and talked to their owners–beginners through experienced spinners. (Note: EVERYONE was happy with the wheel they purchased and I saw almost all the wheels I was considering.) One gal tried three wheels at the retreat and saw no significant difference between them. I was reluctant to ask people to let me use their wheels–I would hesitate to let someone else use mine, for one thing, but also, they had work in progress on their wheels and after class we all wanted to pack up and go back to our hotel rooms. So . . .

Tim Talks--about the Kromski Sonata

Tim Talks–about the Kromski Sonata

3) INTERNET VIDEOS and ARTICLES–I watched lots of videos and read articles and books. The more I learned about spinning wheels, the more I understood. The biggest consideration seemed to be single-drive or double-drive. (I knew I wanted two treadles.) One lady who bought the double-drive Schacht Matchless (price is about $1100) said she bought it because she wanted options–the Matchless can be used as a single-drive as well. When she said she always uses it as a single-drive it seemed pointless to me to have paid all that money.

The Schacht Matchless

The Schacht Matchless


4) Does it come assembled?
5) Can you travel with it?
6) Is there support available?
7) Can you easily get parts?
If you want to make your own bobbins, can you buy the necessary inserts for the wheel you're considering? This was one of the deciding factors for me.

If you want to make your own bobbins, can you buy the necessary inserts for the wheel you’re considering? This was one of the deciding factors for me.

I felt weirdly pressured to buy the Schacht Matchless, but I didn’t want to. It was the first (and third) wheel I tried. I don’t understand the double-drive difference yet–I’m a beginner and I want to get started practicing. Besides, to be honest, I don’t like the name Schacht. When I first saw it I had no idea how to pronounce it, and kept saying it wrong. (It sounds exactly like “shacked.”) While Kromski Sonata is a lovely name, its price kicked it out of the running (although the carrying bag was definitely enticing).

I decided to go with the Lendrum Original. When I used it, I felt like a warm knife in cool butter. I felt relaxed and comfortable when I used it.

Can you sit aback and relax? Can you actually look away while spinning with your chosen wheel?

Can you sit back and relax? Can you actually look away while spinning with your chosen wheel?

The look of the tilted wheel put me off at first, but it didn’t affect performance and I decided to like its unconventionality. It’s easy to fold down and travel with, though one of the heavier, larger travel models. It comes assembled and finished, so I don’t have to think about doing it myself and forever being sorry I got one that needs finishing. It’s easy to find online help and parts for. And the name reminds me of a word from Watership Down (though, sadly, the lendri are enemies of the rabbits).

I ordered mine last night, at 11:00 P.M. MDT, from The Woolery because they offered me a $25 gift certificate and I was making other purchases from them that Paradise Fibers didn’t have. Today I received this email notice:

Wonder how long I can hold my breath . . .

Wonder how long I can hold my breath . . .

I ran across some things I wrote in a notebook last month and, these things pleasing me, decided to write them here.

bird in cage

bird in cage


Bird
to fly
you must quickly grow wings
grow feathers
be strong
the moment to soar is here
and you are still polishing the bars of your cage
Beating heart
naked wings
wild eyes
and fear
Now the cage is closed again
Take up your work again
And calm and close your eyes
Waiting
Another chance may come
Will you be ready
or busy?

***********************

After all this time and getting experience–AKA wisdom–
Peace of mind, sunny autumn
Yet comes winter and the lonely, icy, comfortless chill of despondency
Where are my accomplishments?
How can I go on? I’m stopped by all all all I would like to do.
I’d have wanted to have a name, a genius
And discontent is what I seem to have two hands full
George says it isn’t what it seemed it would be
Doesn’t satisfy
And, anyway, I have a name, THE name, and have no need of genius–
What would I do with it?
Don’t have it but can detect it,
Like a dog watching a human dance, or use her hands.
Oh, why don’t I feel a little marvelous?

Does God? Does He feel content? Is He amazed at what He does? Or does He still shake His head and say, “I wish I could do more”?

******************************

I watched two biographical movies: one about Thomas Merton and the other about George Harrison. These are my notes.

Moments of despair are renewals. Funny–Thomas Merton originally wanted to be a famous writer. Later he reluctantly became one, only to find it was not what he wanted. His readers wanted to keep him as he was–an eager, discovering monk; they wanted all problems solved for him because he became a monk. (No doubt he did too.) But entering Eden with eyes open reveals one’s imperfections.

Faith is overcoming doubt, not not-experiencing it. Overcoming the world is overcoming our deepest self. We have to develop a stronger ego in order to overcome it.

The gate of heaven is all around you. The world is your book (outside the monastery).

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton


One thing I’ve learned from these films about Thomas Merton and George Harrison is that what I’m going through is NOT UNIQUE! They went through it too. Those who lead contemplative lives will find that life does get harder. Even the things we thought were easy now, we think we’re “over that,” can come roaring back fiercer and stronger than we ourselves are. Perhaps it is so, as Thomas Merton suggested, that overcoming the world means we must overcome the deepest aspects of ourselves–EXPERIENCING our doubts and difficulties with faith. The temptation (maybe even the need) to completely withdraw screams at one, shrieks loud and clear. It is one more thorny field to traverse, supported, sustained, and carried by the Word of God.

George Harrison from Martin Scorsese film

George Harrison from Martin Scorsese film