It seemed like a good idea at the time to buy No3 wheel, the Mazurka...it was dirt cheap, it was pretty and I really wanted to find how a double drive wheel felt to spin with. Also though my beloved old Louet will always remain my favourite wheel (maybe....) I wanted to spin finer yarns than it was comfortable with.
And the Mazurka was cheap, did I say? Utter bargain at £45...about $80. And that included a full set of bobbins and a pound of lovely silk/wool roving that the seller laughingly called "packaging" when she sent me the two bobbins that she`d forgotten to pack with the wheel.
So here she is...
Now sharp eyes will detect that this isn`t the Mazurka that`s currently on sale. Nope, this is the original model, the one that was imported before it was even called the Mazurka. It was just called a Polish castle wheel, I belive, back then. It was popular enough to spark off the entire Kromski range of imports.
The main differences, as far as I can make out, are that there are no leather bearings on the old Mazurka and that the bobbins are only single speed. The flyer is a different shape too, and won`t accomodate the new Mazurka bobbins which is a pity as the new bobbins have two ratios.
Still, I like wheels with character and this one is certainly beautiful, with the sort of patina that money can`t buy. Such a shame then that the Post Office broke the back leg during delivery.
I`ve glued it of course, and normally I have it whipped with thin cord for strength. So it`s strong enough to use normally. I just don`t like seing things get broken because of carelessness.
I must say, it`s taken me a while to get used to spinning on the Mazurka after learning on the Louet. A Louet is so simple....you thread, you treadle, you spin. This wheel you oil, you fiddle around with the bobbin which means you have to reset everything...then it grabs and snatches and it reverses on you because it has a dead spot which the Louet S10 does not.
However I persisted because I`m stubborn. I read up on the web about double drive wheels and I downloaded the instructions for the modern Mazurka and tried to use them to check that this wheel was set up right. Still the wheel fought back. I tightened, I loosened, I considered replacing the drive belt, I took the whole thing apart and re-waxed and re-oiled everything. Hmmmmm.....
Then today I did what I should have done sooner...I took the Mazurka to my spinning Guild and sat down beside one of our most experienced spinners, the wonderful Debbie. Who has an old-style Mazurka, yeah! And who patiently explained to me exactly what I`d been doing wrong (without making me feel a complete idiot, which is one of Debbie`s gifts) and checked over the wheel and proclaimed it in perfect working order (so I was doing something right...) and within about five minutes I was finally spinning the thin, higher-twist singles I want for sock yarn. In fact, I`m struggling not to spin lace-weight which is fun after Mr "I`m-a-chunky-type-guy" Louet.
Just for Vi...here`s some sock-weight Ouessant yarn. A wee bit fuzzy, but it`s not been washed yet.
So it looks like the Mazurka will be staying for a while now. Before today I was seriously considering selling it to the first person who would pay me what I paid for it. I think this might have upset a certain someone, though, who considers it to be "her" Sleeping Beauty wheel.