Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rumplestiltskin, look out

Had my first spinning class today here. It's about an hour's drive from home, but so worth it.

The beginning spinning class is taught one-on-one and the first session is about three hours. Then you're turned loose at home with the class handouts, a drop spindle, two bags of wool roving (grey and white) and a spinning wheel, the model above, to practice for a week, until the next class.

Spinning, it seems, is all about using physics to put twists in fiber. Which explains the puzzling captions in Spin-Off magazizne about 6:1 ratios, etc. All the motions are simple, but co-ordinating them is the trick. But the teacher assured me that, just like knitting, it will all come together once the muscle memory is established.

It was a little hard to pay attention to the lesson, since the store is a treasure trove of everything fiber: wool rovings for spinning and felting, 'blank' yarns of various weights and all sorts of fiber for dyeing, dyes, spinning and weaving equipment, handspun and hand-dyed yarns, home-made soaps, two looms and a kitchen area for dyeing.

My major assignments: learn to treadle the wheel as slowly as possible to be consistent. And to practice drafting, which is drawing out a thin bunch of fibers from the larger mass, on the drop spindle.
And possibly spin on the wheel. But I'm in no hurry.

1 comment:

QP said...

I know where you can get an unlimited supply of fleece.
Write to the Internal Revenue Service. Hehe.

Spinning is a beautiful craft and although I've never tried it, I imagine it's very relaxing. I know throwing clay was for me.