Le Tour de France started yesterday...and so did Le Tour de Fleece.
My plan was to spin a little bit each and every day, with no particular goals in mind as to what I wanted to accomplish. It's been a while since my wheel and I spent any time together, and the point was mostly just to get reacquainted.
First...the good news.
I happened to check the Ravelry forums page, which I don't do all that often. To my surprise, there were a few new responses in the Lendrum group to my questions about my wobbly wheel. To my delight two new people reported having the same problem and told me about a new Ravelry Lendrum group that actually had a discussion about said problem with info directly from Lendrum about how to fix it. (The original group met me with a lot of incredulity that anyone could have a problem with a precious, precious Lendrum and more than a little bit of annoyance that I was saying anything negative about the brand.)
So I toodled on over to the new group, only to find out that wobbly wheels are way more common than one would think. They tend to be related to the jumbo plying head - about half of Lendrum users love them and the other half hate them, which is news to me. It makes sense. If I remember correctly, my problems initially developed after plying a huge batch and I've always fought that plying head a bit.
The long and the short of it is that I am doing everything right to fix it, and it may just need to be periodically messed with. I'm not crazy about this...and I'm not sure I entirely trust the wheel...but I feel a million times better knowing it's a known glitch, knowing that others have to deal with it, and knowing that it's something that I can work with it. I might still call Lendrum at some point, but this is a huge weight off of my shoulders.
With all that settled, I decided to use my wheel to start making a dent in that pile of fiber that was pictured on top of the dresser in my last post. It's lovely stuff - a fine fleece from a friend in my guild mixed with giant angora. (Wish I knew actual percentages...I remember what I paid for the fleece, but it's been so long ago I can't remember if it was $7/lb for 5 lbs or $5/lb for 7 lbs. Not to mention the fact that it was just a giant bucket of rabbit wool...never stopped to weigh it....whoops!) Suffice it to say that there is a LOT of it.
The first thing I noticed is that it didn't feel as soft and lovely to work with as I thought it would be. I remembered when that fiber came home...it was like touching a cloud...and this was actually kind of coarse and scratchy.
I should have had a clue then.
Two hours later I had a raging headache, my hands were super itchy, and a wave of exhaustion had crashed down over me.
Yeah...I'm thinking allergic reaction.
The alpaca problem started with a funky smell, and then progressed to some confusion over why this stuff, which my memory told me felt like a cloud, was so darn rough and coarse. It's now so bad that I don't dare go into yarn shops anymore because it'll hit my lungs in just a few minutes. Scary stuff.
To have this problem with wool...that would truly be devastating.
So, I'm taking today off from the wheel, and tomorrow will turn my attention to something like silk, which has little to no chance of causing a problem. In a few days I'll try this fiber again to see if I have a reaction. If not, yay! It was a fluke. If so, damn. Some decisions are going to have to be made.
I have some ideas floating around. I'd noticed the funky smell with the wool from my parents' sheep, and this wool shares the fact that it was also raised locally. It's entirely possible it's an issue with being locally raised amongst all of the pollens and molds that make me sick. I've never noticed a single problem spinning more commercially prepared stuff. Problem is, that could trigger a full blown wool allergy if I'm not careful.
Trying really hard not to be upset about this.