Monday, February 4, 2013


I made a few fiber related goals for myself at the beginning of the year and one of those goals is to take a few classes this year to help me expand my skill set. I started my goal by taking my first ever spinning class all day this past Saturday.

Spinning has been a growing interest for me over the last year and a half, but I talked myself out of it a few times as I wondered where I would possibly find the time. The next thoughts were about the expense of a wheel and the portability factor since a large reason that I fell deep into knitting instead of sewing has to do with portability. As I kept reading on the subject I came across Abby Franquemont's book Respect the Spindle and both those questions were answered- I could learn to spin with a $20 spindle and have a high portability factor. So I seriously started to look into spinning.

I found my desire to learn thoroughly intensified as I listened to more and more of the Knitmore Girls' podcasts and that was it- I signed up for a class at the beginning of the year. I've had a few interests in the past where my curiosity has been satisfied after reading up on the topic or pursuing a class and I thought maybe the same would be true here.

Truly it was so much more than I thought it would be and all the better for it.

I learned to spin on a drop spindle in the morning session as well as learning a lot more about raw fleece and the process it goes through to become yarn. We got started on the wheels just before lunch and had a chance to figure out the mechanics before the break. When we came back we spun with the wheel for over 2 hours. the 3rd hour we spent on a quick plying lesson and I came home with about 40 yards of my first handspun.

Not too bad for a first yarn, right? You can see a huge difference between the white and the blue- the white is the very first single I spun and the blue is the second single The white has a lot more "thick and thin" to it as I was learning. You can see where I was experimenting with how to hold my hands. The blue single is far more consistent in size, but I had problems with too much twist in some places. I learned in the class how to even that out some, but extra twist leaked in all over the place. The red in there is a little tail of the leader yarn I haven't snipped off yet.

Plying was a big challenge for me, partly because we only got a short lesson on it at the end, and partly because it's a completely different motion.

I was able to use the Schacht Matchless, which is one of the wheels I'm considering for at home. I really liked the feel of it as well as the aesthetic. I also spun for a little bit on a Louet and didn't like it as well. It was a little funny because my mom took the class with me and she really liked the Louet wheel except for the location of the lazy kate. She found the Matchless to be harder to treadle. I'm also going to spin on the Schacht Ladybug when I go back and see what the difference is.

I came home with a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle, a pound of undyed roving and 4 oz. of dyed roving to start with. My goal is to practice for 15 minutes per day over the next 2 weeks.

I have a feeling this is going to be a common view. 

Ellie loves the wool. 

She wants the wool. 

She tries to eat the wool.

She was only successful in grabbing a tiny bit once and stuffing it in her mouth, but she scraped it right out of there and glared at me for a good half hour afterwards.

Now to start saving for that wheel.

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