I eventually got a half an hour spinning lesson from my good friend Kim of Alterknit Universe, who tweaked my wheel and made sure it was set up correctly. And then I was away - making slubby singles from commercially dyed merino! I spun on and off for a while, but didn't pick it up properly until the Tour De Fleece last year, where my goal was to spend an hour a day at my wheel.
Since then, I've spun a fair amount of yarn, knit with some of it and started to outgrow my Traditional. I've been interested in upgrading my wheel for about a year and I had my heart set on a particular wheel - one that was sadly out of my price range! I promised myself I'd buy it when I finished university, as a graduation present to myself. But things happened and I got sick and I couldn't finish my degree. But sometimes you need a treat. Especially when so many of your friends graduated with a First Class degree and are starting out in exciting new lives. So I saved up money from my retail job, and last week I ordered my very own Double Treadle Schacht Matchless.
Schacht are a US company based in Colorado - a long way away from my seaside town in Sussex, England - and their products are hard to get hold of in the UK - there's only two distributors of Schacht wheels, and the price difference between the US and the UK is crazy - you American folk are so lucky!
Anyway, at just over £1000, I'm pretty sure it's the most expensive thing I've ever bought and I know I could've bought an Ashford or a Lendrum or plenty of other wheels, for less - but I believe in saving up for the things that you really, really want. If I bought a Lendrum, I'd still want a Matchless further down the line.
I haven't had much chance to spin on it yet - work has a habit of getting in the way of valuable knitting and spinning time! But I've been playing with it this afternoon and I love it. It's going to take a while to adjust to, from my Traditional - which is essentially held together with string, but I'm looking forward to breaking it in and I'm already window shopping for accessories for it!
If you're interested - I bought my Matchless from Loch Ness Spindle - based in Scotland. They're a relatively new Schacht dealer but I didn't have any problems with them and Olga, the owner of Loch Ness Spindle was very helpful when I emailed her. The only other UK dealer is George Weil - but they're selling the same wheel for an extra £300 - which I think is really bad business practise.
I just need to finish up some spinning on my Traditional and then my (currently unnamed) shiny new wheel can have pride of place in my spinning corner!