Monday, April 18, 2005

Fledgling Spinner

I've spun enough wool to knit you a sweater......if you are a hamster and don't mind lumpy, bumpy, uneven sweaters.

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I went to FibreFest 2005 in Abbotsford BC. When I first walked in the door I thought perhaps there was not enough there to entertain me for an hour let alone the entire afternoon/evening that I had set aside. It seemed smaller than last year's, and I figured wandering the booths and looking thoroughly at all the wares would take me an hour, tops. I had forgotten about all the free demonstrations I had marked down as "must attend". From 2:00 until 5:30 I was watching one interesting demonstration after another, all free.

I saw a woman making socks on an antique sock making machine. That was fascinating, but not knowledge I could make use of.

There was an "Australian Locker Hooking" demonstration. A craft so easy that I am sure I could pick it up without further instruction. It is a method of taking unspun, wool roving and making a berber type rug from it. I was given a square of rug hooking canvas to take home and try out the technique.

I briefly watched a demonstration on Scandinavian horse hair spinning. "Briefly" because it was only a few minutes before my severe allergy to horses started acting up and I had to move off.

There was a demonstration of how to spin multi colored roving(?) in various manners to produce wildly different effects. This was too advanced for me, having at that time, not spun at all, but I did find it interesting and tried to glean what I could for future reference.

Then there was the demo that may have launched a whole new obsession for me. A woman and her young daughter (11) showed how to spindle spin. They made it look easy. It's not. Well, not at first anyway. I bought a book on spindle spinning and have since learned that it is often used as a first step to learning to spin on a wheel. An experienced wheel spinner apparently has far less trouble learning to spindle spin.

Anyway, I bought 100g of "Coopworth Top" and the spindling book, and went home and made myself a few spindles out of wooden toy wheels, dowelling, and cup hooks. I made a "top whorl" and a "bottom whorl". So far, for me, I find the bottom whorl easier to use.

In the above picture, the ball of wool is the first spindle full. I have plied it and wound it into a ball. There is about one ounce and it is very uneven. My second spindle full is looking much better. I am getting a more consistent and thinner result.

Spinning is mesmerizing and addictive. Even if I was not ever able to feed my other passion (knitting) with the end result, I think I would STILL want to buy a spinning wheel and pursue this further.


dragon knitter said...

welcome sister. spinning is great. i learned on a wheel, and when i am in particular need of peace, and connection with myself, i get out my wheel. you go girl!

Anonymous said...

Hi, there! I just found your blog on the KR, and I love it. You amuse me :) (Of course, I am pretty easily amused, anyway... {g})

I learned how to spin on a drop spindle in Oct, and my bf got me a wheel for xmas (I think he might be a keeper!). I love it! Wheel spinning is SO much easier. I would reccommend that you try a couple out before you buy, particularly a double and single treadle. Most people find one naturally easier for them, and you wouldn't want to make it more difficult than it needs to be! :)

Can't wait to read more you!


Kim in Oregon said...

I think your yarn looks great, much better than the rope that I spun on my first spindle try.

I bet you'll be heading toward a wheel soon!

Cat said...

Wow! Beautiful yarn! I bet you will get enough spun to make yourself a hat!

Cat in Ohio

Marlene said...

DragonKnitter, thanks for the welcome to the sisterhood.

Amanda, I am hoping to attend a beginner's spinning retreat where I will have an opportunity to try many different wheels before committing to purchasing any particular one.

Kim, I'm just waiting to do some research and gather the $$.

Cat, I think it's beautiful yarn too, but not because it was made with any skill. It is just a pretty thing to look at. As far as making a hat goes, I think I will wait until I can spin evenly. This beginner stuff will probably be knit or woven into a hot dish mat.

Felicia from sweetgeorgia said...

Oh! Lucky you, you got to attend the FibreFest! I missed it this year since I was flying back from Japan on Saturday. Spinning IS pretty addictive, eh? Great job on the spindling!