My Honeybee is Here!



If you’ve been reading along with the blog or on our Facebook page, then you know that I have caught the spinning bug and that I have tried and tried to adapt my old antique Craigslist spinning wheel find to no avail.  I’ve even had to go to other people’s house and use their wheels for a spinning fix!   It’s bad.   Kinda goes hand in hand with my fiber addiction…  hence the sheep, goats, rabbits and weaving and all that!

I have been saving and waiting and saving and with a little help from my Daddy from my birthday, I finally was able to buy my own real spinning wheel with a warranty!   Thanks Dad!!!

I did a ton of research, knowing my budget was small and my needs were a bit commercial in mind.   When you have a herd of fiber animals, you want something that is going to be durable and help you create some really good stuff!


I did a ton of research and finally decided on a double treadle, upright wheel.  I thought I wanted an Ashford Kiwi wheel…  but then friends told me about the Bluebonnet Honeybee wheels.  Handmade, with solid wood instead of laminated boards like the Kiwi and half the price!  And though there only a couple hundred of the wheels so far, the reviews have been fantastic and that just pretty much sealed it for me.   I love supporting a small craftsman getting going!

However, waiting just about killed me!  (haha)  Actually, it wasn’t bad.  About two weeks and then the wheel was here at our homestead!  And of course, it was a box full of parts!   Agh!   But thankfully, there was a nice DVD with instructions and once I got everything out of the box, it wasn’t too bad looking.  In fact, I did it all myself!  (With Maggie standing by just in case!)




She is unfinished…  you can pay extra and have it finished in Danish oil if you like, but I have this kid that loves to do stuff like that and I think I’m going to have to do it in a pretty purple and green combo of stains!  But right now, she is put together and I am struggling to perfect my skills on her.

I decided to call her Queenie.   As you know, we love to give our beloved work tools and mechanical beasts a name and Queenie is the one that came to me.   Of course, there is the bee reference, hence the Queen Bee…   however, I loved a character named Queenie in the BBC series Larkrise to Candleford and so it was a perfect fit.

We had a lot of things going on the day it was delivered, so after I snuck a bit of time to put it together, I just didn’t feel ready to try and spin on it.   So, I set her aside until later that evening.  Spinning is something that I find just delightful, however, at first, it’s been a hard skill for me to master.  I love doing crafts and most come pretty easily.   Not spinning.   If anything was close to causing me to have a stroke, it would be a cranky spinning wheel and nasty roving.  And top it off with me in a excited and hesitant mood.  Spinning, at least for the first bit of time, is something that you need to have lots of good positive situations in place.   Everything in your favor if you can set it up that way.   Comfortable chair, perfect roving, practice in on treadling…



Well, it only took me about an hour of panic and worry until I finally got the Scotch tension all nice and the roving nice.  And I spun my own sheep fleece on my very own wheel.  I spun a whole nice big ball of roving, about an ounce or so.  And contentment is in the air!!!

I have about three pounds of sheep fleece that has been washed and carded.  I have over twelve pounds that is going off to a mill on Monday to be made into professional lovely roving but it won’t be back for a few months.   The mill is ONLY twelve weeks behind at this point.   If I wait any longer then I probably won’t have fiber until Summer, once everyone starts to send in their shearing for this year, starting around February!  So I better get to it.  I figure that the three pounds will be enough for me to practice and practice on with the wheel.  I need to really get good at treadling my own wheel, and learn to stop and stop it and make it rotate in the direction that I want, not what Queenie wants.   That is huge.  And when I get my gang sheared at the beginning of March, hopefully by then I will have back my 12 pounds from the mill, and I can work with that until my spring shearing comes back in the early Summer.   There sure is a timing to all of this!

I might start to wash and card my own fleece…  we shall see.   It’s not something that I enjoy as much as everything else fibery, but to be able to have the stuff in less than 4 months?   Might be worth it!  I would like to make a skirting and picking table this spring, something we can set up in the spring sunshine and use.  It will also be good if I decide to wash and then dry my fleeces as well.  I’ve seen a few pretty cool ones that use PVC pipes across a wooden frame so the fleece will roll around on top and loosen a lot of dirt and nasty bits to fall through.   But also a good chicken wire frame will work good too!   So many options for such an ancient art!

However, one old skill at a time.   I’m going to be spinning away for a few weeks for sure!   Just can’t wait.   It’s the missing link in my dream to have fiber animals and in the end, make yarn and woven materials from it all.   How cool is that???

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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