Betsey Do

Friday, February 02, 2007

S p i n n i n g . . . . .

A hand-made drop spindle from Annie May and a half pound of soft white wool = hours of process learning ultra joyous friggin fun!
Before Annie May Stone was going to teach the beginning class on Spinning tonight, I wanted to try a little. So a few days ago, David from That Yarn Store (a store that really really likes to help people try anything) thought he could get me started, just by kind of telling me what he'd seen Annie May teach in previous classes.
So he set me up with one of Annie May's handmade spindles from his store and gave me a few basics to get me onto my first ball of beginner's very thick and thin yarn. The session lasted all of 15 minutes (at best) and I put it down.
Got home and picked it up again and tried some more.
5 minutes later, put it down, satisfied that I could still kind of do it.
Throughout the next few days, the process continued: walked by the spindle, stop and spin another five minutes, put it down. Each time, satisfied that something was coming along and letting it slowly come and go.
By the time I had arrived to the Real first class by Annie May herself, I had pretty much spun a half-way decent yarn that maintained something between fingering weight to light worsted weight throughout.

The real class helped tremendously.
First Annie May was excited to see my first amount of effort and began to show me how to ply it while newcomers were coming in to sign up and prepare for their first time.
Then she began the class by showing us the simple act of winding the threading string and spinning the spindle clock wise.
Next, we put the spindles down and took out about 12" of roving, about an inch or so thick, and practiced drawing the fibers to a pencil size thickness. Just drawing, no spinning yet. She explained that these fibers were about 5" from the sheep, so you need to keep the fingers a good 5" apart to really draw the fibers out smoothly.
After drawing the fibers out for about 5 minutes we were ready to pick up the spindle and practice spinning the wool onto it.
Putting down our already drawn fibers, we picked up another 12" yank of roving, an inch thick.
Began drawing out the beginning and were given the ogling balance of steps to maintain at the same time: spinning the spindle while holding the roving onto the thread off the spindle, while using both handles to break at each spot to draw out finer fibers to incorporate into the spinning - all at the same time!
It felt stupid.
And contagious.

It seems impossible at first and if you do this on your own, HAVE PATIENCE AND JUST DO BITS AND PIECES. I cheated and draw the fiber first for a couple of days before joining onto the fiber, until I felt that this was getting relatively easy. After a good several days of practicing this (five days, of about 15 minutes a day), I finally clicked where I can really do it all at the same time now, but it's still awkward - great improvement!


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