This past weekend, Daniel and I spent the weekend up in Bellingham, WA with a bunch of friends. And two toddlers. I really enjoy being around my friends, but it is exhausting being around kiddos! I woke up both nights when they would wake up, crying, and I blame that on either being a light sleeper, or being a female and somehow wired to startle awake when a baby is crying. Don't get me wrong, they're good kids, but one was coming down with something, so he was cranky, and Dad Would Not Do. Only Mom. As soon as Mom would take hold of him, he'd stop crying and (I swear) a sh*t-eating grin would spread across his face. The little faker...
I spent a large percentage of my time in the cabin helping to clean up after everyone. With 11 adults and two kids under 2, it got filthy fast. In fact, I chose to wear shoes the entire weekend because I didn't relish the idea of my socks becoming encrusted with bits of food.
The food was tasty, though - the highlights were two deep fried turkeys on Saturday night, along with somewhat traditional Thanksgiving sides, and Sunday morning one of the guys made 4 different quiches.
We left the cabin Sunday morning, and Daniel humored me and I got to go into a store in Bellingham called Northwest Handspun Yarns. I met the nice owner, and she let me try out the Schacht Sidekick spinning wheel.
Let me say, I am glad I tried it. I love that the wheel is so portable, and Barry Schacht showed some pretty ingenious design ideas by using bicycle quick-release levers for some of the parts. I love that the wheel folds up so well, and that the whorls and other accessories pack flat and screw onto the body of the wheel. The wheel is very compact, and very light. The lightness proves to be the problem, though. You see, the drive wheel is ostensibly light to promote the portability of the wheel, but the lack of mass on the wheel translates to a lack of inertia, which means it's not very easy to keep the wheel humming along. I really "felt" each time I pressed down on a treadle. It was almost like pedaling on a cheap stationary bike. I don't get that feeling on my Majacraft Susie, which has a massive drive wheel that just almost turns on it's own. The store owner pointed this out to me, and suggested I not ever sell my Susie, as Majacraft was about to increase their prices soon, and it was difficult to find a store in the US that sold Majacrafts for a pre-purchase spin (apparently the shipping costs eat into any profits; she said if she sold Majacrafts, she'd make about $15 per wheel!)
Like I said, I was glad I got the chance to try out the Sidekick. One other advantage is that the flyer is interchangeable with the Schacht Matchless flyers and bobbins. However, I don't own a Matchless, so this isn't a huge concern for me, but it's nice that Schacht considered that aspect of design interchangeability. In the end, the Sidekick is not worh it's $785 retail price to me. I think it is a fine product and could work very well for someone who insists upon travelling with a wheel. For now, I am content to travel with drop spindles - they are far more portable than any wheel, and far cheaper (even the really special-coveted-ones!)
In other news, we got the keys to our duplex today! I made a slew of calls today to set up water, electricity, garbage, etc. I also set up our cable internet, which should be installed Sunday afternoon. The reason this is of prime importance is that I can now have the ability to telecommute from the duplex while I wait for contractors to show up and either provide estimates or start work on the place. Daniel and I are looking at some electrical repair, chimney repair on one unit, refinishing the wood floors in both places, replacing the vinyl in the rental kitchen (today he sprung on me that he wants to put in ceramic tile, not a new sheet of vinyl), and remodeling our own kitchen. I have already purchased an awesome stove, and our other purchases will be IKEA cabinets, other appliances, and granite countertops.