Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A little progress

A bit wiggly and somewhat over-spun but I have created A Whole Ball of Yarn and it's yarn I could knit with!

Last week after struggling with trying to teach myself, I took a class with a lovely lady called Carol who spins and weaves in a beautiful summer house in her garden in Liss in Hampshire.  I loved her way of teaching, beginning with the history of spinning and how over time spinners progressed from drop spindles to something called The Big Wheel to the spinning wheels we recognise today.

I knew that the term spinster came from those who spin but I did not know that the ability to spin a fine thread was considered to be a sign of virtue.  Hence Roman Emperors' wives having their portraits painted holding a spindle.  These women had no need to spin their own cloth, they had legions of hand maidens to do this for them, but the message was clear, the emperor's wife was a woman above reproach.

The first thing Carol did was substitute my puffy cloud of BFL,

with which I could only produce snail-like twisty lumps

for something less processed and a little coarser

And this is how I got started.  I still found it very tricky to spin with my wheel.  If you look at the picture of my flyer here...

you can see that the diameter of the whorl (on the right ) is about half the diameter of the wheel on the left. The whorl controls the amount of twist put on the yarn and tightening the scotch tension knob, wound around the larger wheel with string (all sooo high tech) adjusts the rate that the spun yarn is wound on to the bobbin.  On the Ashford spinning wheel the two are the same diameter, meaning it is possible to spin slowly without adding too much twist.  I'll get there eventually, when I learn to draw out the fibre faster I can increase the winding speed but until then I have to keep practising so that my spinning style can become compatible with my sort of wheel.

The slightly puzzling thing is that when I look at websites selling the Lendrum they all say that the wheel is sold with the fast whorl instead of the standard, yet I cannot find anyone selling the standard in the UK.  So if anyone knows where I can buy a standard flyer do please let me know.

I am actually getting on better with drop spinning.  Carol explained it was important to begin with the drop spindle to get the feeling for spinning at a slow speed.

I found this lovely puff of mixed fibres in my stash

And have spun a fair amount of thread

Blues, greens, grey and white with a hint of sparkle.  I am going to spin the whole bag,  no idea how many yards of yarn I shall spin but once I know I shall decide what to make with it.



No comments: