Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spinning on a Wheel

Way back in April, 2007, I bought a drop spindle and some fibre and - armed with an hour of so of patient instruction by Pat Bohrer of Eastside Weavers - was determined to become proficient at spinning with a drop spindle, so that I could move on to real spinning, with a wheel. For the first week or so, I was diligent about practising every day or so. However, as my free time became almost non-existent, my spindle was put to one side. I would pick it up every once in a while to touch the forming yarn, but I didn't spin it. My yearning to spin didn't disappear, however. I read articles about drop spindles and spinning wheels, and about spinning in general. I looked at numerous websites selling spinning wheels and drop spindles, dazzled by the beauty of each piece. I came to realise that drop spindle spinning IS real spinning.

So, even though I resolved to learn how to spin on a wheel this summer, I know I can be content to hold off on buying a wheel of my own until I have the space and the money, because I think that I can be equally content with experimenting with different drop spindles. Yes, beautiful drop spindles can be expensive, too, but still only a fraction of the price of a wheel. However, I may still have moments of weakness!

Today, my friend Clare and I visited Pat again at Eastside Weavers. Our time there passed in the blink of an eye as Pat let us practice using niddy-noddies to wind skeins of yarn, and sat each of us in front of a spinning wheel (Clare got to use a Louet, while I practised on the Ladybug!!) and let us spin until we were felt that we had gotten the hang of it. I think Clare and I each had an, "Aha!" moment, when the drafting, feeding, and treadling motions just seemed to click.

We then plied the singles that we had spun, to turn it into a two-ply yarn! I can't show any pictures of us spinning, however, because I was so excited that I forgot my camera in the car. I can't show pictures of our finished skeins of yarn either, because we managed to leave them at Pat's. I am hoping to go back when Moocow comes to visit, so I will retrieve them then.

I almost bought another, lighter drop spindle (to spin finer yarns), but I will look around a bit more, for that perfect spindle. I didn't leave empty handed, however. I bought two skeins of gorgeous blue/purple berry coloured silk/merino sock yarn.

And also a skein of this superwash merino, with shades of pink, yellow, orange and peach that looks like a sunrise.

I also volunteered to be a sample knitter, to knit up some of Pat's beautifully dyed yarns in patterns that would display them to best advantage, and Pat gave me something to work on. I'm going to keep that a secret until I've found the perfect pattern for it.

Unfortunately, Pat had to stop renting out her spinning wheels, because they weren't being taken care of. Otherwise, I would have rented one to practice on. The Ladybug was so cute, it is definitely a contender, when I am ready to get a wheel.

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