Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Am I a twisted sister? Well, I am a little unbalanced!

It's been 2 days since I have had access to the net -- stupid computers! and of course I had news to share ... so it seemed even longer!

On Sunday, as reported earlier, I went to the Fisheries Museum to learn to spin with a drop spindle. What a hoot -- I was really a bit nervous to learn (it looks really hard to do) but I LOVE it! I am sure this can be largely attributed tot he company I keep when spinning ... Sharon Orpin of Boulder Brook Spinning in Lunenburg, is a great instructor (and very funny too!), Linda and Ann were very inspirational (they, along with Sharon, spun some very beautiful fibres on spinning wheels), and J. was learning right along with me (J. is fun and adventurous -- and is the reason I took the lesson).

(Ann combing some wool -- earlier in the day a hooker was there, but she left - see the mat she was working on? Mind out of the gutter people! LOL!)
We started the day learning about the drop spindle (did you know it has been around for 9,000 years and is probably the oldest hobby in the world? The spinning wheel has only been around for 1,000 years -- so I stuck with the tried and true method all day. I'm not into all these new fangled high techie things like Sharon, Linda and Ann were!).

Learning to spin is a little challenging ... starting with the language - who knew that "draft" is not drawing up plans, or an unwanted cool breeze? That a "bump" is not something that is sustained after a fall, or to accidentally touch someone in the grocery store? how about "parking" (not involving cars), "roving" (not meaning to eye-up people other than your spouse), "single" and "double" (when they mentioned that, I got thirsty! especially when they mentioned "plying" -- I'd spin with or without the use of a drink, but by the end of the day, you could have plied me with drinks ;) ).

We learned how to spin a single ply, carded fleece (I can't recall the type of wool we spun), to get the knack of how to do it -- my first attempts were pretty wobbly, but by the end of the afternoon, my ply was getting more even with a tighter twist to it. (This is J. drop spindling on the back right side of the picture, and Sharon, spinning in the foreground)

We then learned to spin the 2 ends of single ply we made together to make a double ply yarn, then wound it onto a niddy noddy to make it into a skein -- just like what you buy at a shop!

(J. and Sharon are using the niddy noddy to wind the wool off the spindle and into a skein - I know I said niddy noddy already, but, darn it, niddy noddy is fun to say, so I am trying to work it into conversation as often as possible -- plus - look how cute Sharon's little niddy noddy is! Awww!).
It was pretty exciting to do, and I was really pleased we had made that sort of progress, that I had something "finished" to take home. When Sharon held it up to look, it twisted a bit around itself, which means it isn't well balanced (is that a reflection on me? hmmm ... ) J.'s yarn was perfectly balance, hung without a twist ... she is very good at it.

(My first hand-spun skein of wool -- please disregard the debris on the braided mat at the Museum ... instead, bask in the yarny goodness! and try not to giggle at the uneveness and unbalancedness!)

When we got home, I spun up the rest of my natural coloured roving and after supper plied it together. This one was much better than my first skein, the plies were more even throughout and it actually looks like yarn when you look at the skein ... although it is not well balanced either - not sure why but that will come in time!)

Yesterday, I attacked my supply of coloured, combed roving and spun some up -- although I didn't have the "aha" moment they were talking about in class (the moment of clarity where the "why and how" of spinning all suddenly makes sense, I did have a "uh hah!" moment (where I figured out how to keep too much fibre from being spun at once) and since then, it has gotten easier, and my single ply is turning out thinner with fewer bumpy lumpy bits.
(the foreground skein is my second one, and my first is behind it ... I can see a difference)

It is interesting to note that Sharon just handed me a kit for the lesson, with natural roving, some coloured roving and a hot pink spindle -- she picked it all for me (and the colours of my roving and spindle couldn't have been more to my taste had I selected them myself! It's like Sharon is psychic! ) (This colour is soooo me!)

I LOVE spinning ... I may give up knitting to spin (now I see why people who spin love it so much). I am quickly working my way through my coloured roving ... and have questions and will need more roving, so I think a trip to Lunenburg may be in order (I should give Sharon a call and ask some questions, then hit the studio!)


lexa said...

Glad you had fun and enjoyed it! I thought about getting a drop spindle, but so far I haven't given in to the urge. Maybe once I see all this neat stuff you're spinning I'll have to get you to teach me. :)

Steph said...

Great job with the spinning. I have a drop spindle and have made some single ply, but haven't bothered to do anything with it since I made it, uh, 8 months ago. Whoopsie!

(Nonia poster - it was the knitters hands!)

Kris said...

I'm always impressed with spindling. I have 2 of them and my hands just don't "get" it. Spinning with a wheel, they get, just not the spindles.

Tina in Wonderland said...

The skeins you spun look great! Spinning sounds like so much fun. Great pictures!

Charles said...

I wish i could spin and make my own yarn!

Anyway… I just start my“Knitting Video Cast” you can check it out and see what you think about and Comment me!



The Scarlet Tree said...

Oh good on you! Your yarn looks really good. Looks like a really fun day!

Donna said...

Congrats on your spinning! Certainly looks good to me. What will you knit with it?