Jan 2 spins alpaca. Why wouldn’t she? She has an alpaca farm. She often does some very fine knitting and so her yarn is frequently spun finely for that purpose. On Monday she brought along her Australian made Inwood Smith electric spinner which was eye catching. It sits the opposite way from most spinners and takes up very little room lengthwise and the battery pack is small. They haven’t been made since 2015 and so now it is hard to get parts unless you use somewhere like Wooldancer. That site has the complete spinner featured with its sidewings for plying. Jan said she found that a bit annoying and that they could get in the way. The rest of the spinner is very well thought out and designed and is clearly labelled so you know what the parts do. The electrical jacks are placed neatly too so the wires are easy to manage. It is a pity they are no longer made since they offer something different again in electric spinners and some people might feel more comfortable with the layout.
It was with sadness we heard of Ron Doley’s passing in early April. He was a big man with a big spirit and had lived a life of significant influence. He knew so many people over his long, productive life and they all valued his friendship and help. Ron was a warm and generous person and what he seemed to want to do was to get people being happy and comfortable with the things he was passionate about. For us it was spinning and spinning wheels. His wheels were carefully and thoughtfully designed because he was an expert spinner. He knew what spinners needed. His wheels are well thought out from a functional point of view but they look nice too. He built over a thousand wheels and some of them are in the UK and Germany. He could also build carders and other equipment which accompanied spinning . All his designs suit what you are doing perfectly. One of the things he did for Marina in our club was repair her great grandmother’s spinning wheel. He also came and gave us carding lessons when he brought along the carder he had made for Marina. Nothing was ever too much trouble and his capacity to engage you in technique when it came to spinning came easily to him. He wanted others to get it right and feel that sense of freedom you have when you can spin well.
Several of our members have Ron Doley wheels. We are featuring Christine’s Ron Doley traveller (middle) and Jan 2’s Ron Doley wheel (left) and Joanne’s Ron Doley wheel (right) which he repaired for her last year.
He will be missed but like everything else he did in life , we have all inherited some soundly crafted influence from Ron Doley.
Ron Doley’s wheels are featured on the Australian Spinning Wheels site.
We have another Jan in our club , which makes it 3 now. She is new to the club this year. Like everyone else she brings a lot of skills and knowledge and can contribute to the pool of experience. Jan likes spinning alpaca and that is what she was spinning on Monday. She has a lovely Geoff French wheel. It is thoughtfully designed and has some nice touches to help spinning. We liked seeing it because a number of people in the club were well aware of Geoff French and his Adelaide spinning wheels. It’s a nice colour and the fawn alpaca Jan was spinning looked good. She has no difficulty spinning this wheel with one foot only on the treadle board.
Jan joined our group last year and brings to it a lot of skill and experience. She is an alpaca breeder and so enjoys spinning her fleece . She has plenty of information and knowledge to share with us. We are a group which likes to spin alpaca fleece. Her wheel is a Ron Doley upright wheel. It is beautifully made and has been reliable. On Monday she was spinning some baby alpaca fleece from one of her male alpacas which had been shorn before it found its new home on New Year’s Day. Jan is very passionate about her farm and animals . One of her tips for spinning fleece is to mix it will wool for the sleeve and waist bands on jumpers so they don’t stretch.