Good first. I was able to find the colored Danish oil at the other local hardware store. I should have known they'd have it. This place is amazing. It's a small, old fashioned, family owned store. They've got just about anything you could need around the home. Anyway, they didn't have the Red Mahogany, so I went with Cherry. I applied 2 coats with a foam brush, let her sit over night and gave a good rub down with a cloth. And tada...I couldn't be more pleased. The color is not showing up well in the picture. It's a lovely reddish brown color, not orange at all as it appears in the picture. I want to get a coat of wax on her yet too. I've ordered some lavender scented beeswax polish. All you can find in the store is lemon scented furniture wax and I hate lemon scented stuff. I tried to do a bit of spinning as you can see from the white blob on the bobbin. All I can say is I'm glad the wheel came with 2 pounds of fiber. It may take me the whole bag to get the hang of this! It is, of course, difficult learning any skill without the benefit of a teacher, so I'm sure it will take time and practice. There is a lady not far from here who gives spinning lessons, so I may indulge in that option at some point if self-study fails.
I had thought of naming her, but at the moment have decided not to. It does seem to be the thing to do, but I feel a little weird giving an inanimate object a name. For now, she's just "the wheel".
Now the bad. So I got the rest of the yarn I needed to finish the Ali bag. The rest of the knitting went super fast and I finished it on New Year's Day. I felted the bag in the washer with a pair of jeans. It just wouldn't felt properly. I used Wool of the Andes for the whole project and the same size 15 needle for the whole project. Yet after 5 agitation cycles, the bottom still wasn't felted, the straps felted to 2 different lengths (one is about 4 inches longer than the other), the top pipes overfelted making the bag stiff as a board at the top. I can't even get the disaster to sit upright so I could get a picture! I'm completely disappointed in the project. At least it didn't take much time, but the cost of materials was considerable. And there's not really any way to reclaim that yarn. Since it is felt now, I might try cutting it up and making hot pads or something with the body portion. I might try felting the bottom again and doing the same if I can get it to felt. I want to emphasize, I don't think any of this is the patterns fault. Sharon wrote a good pattern, and the bag looked very promising before it was felted. But I would not suggest trying to make such a radical yarn substitution as I did. I also want to say, I loved working with the Wool of the Andes yarn. It was WAY softer than I expected for such a cheap wool. I would seriously think about using this yarn for sweaters. At the moment, the disappointment of this project and the enchantment of the wheel has me pretty much not knitting. I've got the 2 pair of socks and the scarf still on the needles, but I'm not really inspired to work on any of them. For now, concentrating on reading all I can about spinning and practicing on the wheel.