Wednesday, August 10, 2016

You Spin Me Right Round

Early morning spinning session.
If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or have run into me in person over the last two and a half weeks you know by the title exactly what this blog post is about...

For years I've desperately wanted to get into spinning yarn.  Over time I've acquired some drop spindles and what turns out to be way too little fibre.  After a few aborted attempts with the drop spindle, a book and some youtube videos I finally decided to take a class last spring at one of the LYS.

It was a few hours long, thoroughly enjoyable, but truth be told I was a bit of train wreck with the whole co-ordination thing although I did leave the class with my drop spindle holding a little bit of a spun single attached to it so not all was lost.  I practiced a bit following the class but then got frustrated, set it aside, then couldn't figure out what I was doing when I picked it up again.  Still.  That dream of spinning was still there.

Imagine my surprise when, on my birthday, at the beginning of July I opened a lovely card from my husband and when I was instructed to keep reading, I turned the page of the inset of the card to find a note saying I was to have a one day class with a local master spinner in the city AND after my class I was to choose the spinning wheel I wanted.

OH MY WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day I phoned and booked my class for July 23rd and then anxiously waited, like a child waits for Santa Claus, for the day to arrive.  I was all kinds of nervous when I walked up to the door, but within minutes of entering the woman's home I was put at ease.   She was lovely and friendly and so very interesting.  It was a day filled with not only learning how to spin, but of history and tidbits of knowledge she'd gathered over her years as a spinner and former mill owner as well as just general camaraderie of two people who share a mutual love of all things wooly. I was fascinated, and couldn't believe when the time had come for the little boys and (BF)G to pick me up again.  I can't say enough good things about it.  It was just an all around fantastic day.

My new crafty tool!!!
After the day of trying out three different wheels I was completely taken with the Ashford Kiwi 2, so the cheque was written, the wheel carried out to our vehicle along with a bag of fibre, a skein of my first ever hand spun single I made that morning,  a skein of plied yarn that I'd made that afternoon clutched tightly in my hands and my imagination running wild with the possibilities that lay ahead of me.  My instructor had given me the advice that I should spin every day if I could.  "Five minutes a day is better than one 35 minute session a week" she'd said often enough throughout the day that it stuck.  I sat down to spin some more as soon as my wheel came into the house.

Top is my first ever single, bottom is my plied yarn 
I've found that I don't have a problem spinning every day.  I have a problem stopping when I start.  Supper?  Who needs supper?  There's still fibre to be spun!!!  It's soothing, it's therapeutic and it's addictive.

Mystery roving yarn plus a teeny tiny skein of mystery roving plied with the polwarth batt
I quickly finished up with all the Polwarth fibre she'd given me to "get me started", and then dug through my stash to find some mystery roving I'd bought years ago in hopes of learning to use the drop spindle that N made me one year when I must have talked non-stop about drop spindles.  (I think he was about 12 or 13 at the time).  I went through the mystery roving in a day, so then I moved onto a drop spindle kit (BF)G had given me for Christmas a few years ago.  It held the promise of three different types of fibre to be spun.  When it was getting low, I quickly contacted a friend who I know spins and asked her if she had a good local source that she could tell me of for fibre.

Last of the fibre in the house!  Panic was setting in!
Turns out there is a wonderful little farm not five miles away from me.  I paid them a visit last Friday afternoon and was in heaven!  I came home with enough stash of fibre - shetland and shetland/alpaca blends if you're curious - to hopefully get me the next few weeks at least!

Shetland Sheep, Shetland Sheep have you any wool,
Yes ma'am, yes ma'am, three bags full!
My poor husband is wondering what kind of monster he has inadvertently created in buying me the wheel, and he keeps gently suggesting that maybe, just maybe I'd like to start knitting something with all of the yarn I've made.  I think he worries that he may some day be buried alive by the ever growing pile of skeins of yarn that is amassing in our room.

Resistance was futile.
I had to dive right into my shetland/alpaca blend rolag as soon as I got home!
Right now I've been working hard on trying to get more consistent with my drafting so that my finished yarn is more consistent.  The shetland/alpaca blend from up the road is amazing to work with - so easy to spin and makes me happy to know it was prepared right in the little room at the back of the farm house.  I love the idea that this is local to me and hand produced from beginning to end from sheep that I've been introduced to! (although they seemed to be much less enthusiastic about our meeting than I was, choosing instead to largely ignore my ooh-ing and aaah-ing and I want one-ing!)

Spinning has really taken over my crafting world right now and my knitting and sewing have mostly fallen to the wayside.  I can't help it.  I am completely smitten.  I have always loved that with my sewing and knitting I could take a simple object of yarn or fabric and turn it into something.  The fact that I can now take essentially a blob of fluff and turn it into yarn and then turn it into something is just takes it to that next level for me!

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