Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Turn, turn, turn

I took a spinning class not long ago at Springwater Fiber Arts in Alexandria. I selected the drop spindle class, because drop spindles are cheap and with my addictive personality I was really frightened of getting hooked on something that required $300 or $400 worth of equipment (I am deliberately avoiding weaving classes).

I sucked. I really really did. I didn't expect to be a spinning maven right away but the things I was frustrated with just seemed to be things that no one could help me on. I realized eventually that I was kind of doing things out of order, but to me there was just so much going on that I couldn't keep up. I would spin the spindle, park it, draft out my fiber, and then let the twist up, because I could not draft and spin at the same time. My resulting yarn was, unshockingly, uneven, in many places barely twisted at all, and then at the thin spots where the staple lengths met, the yarn kinked up so badly it knotted.

I brought home my spindle and a bag of fiber, both the plain undyed wool that was part of my class materials and some really stunning teal wool that I just couldn't walk away from, but I have hardly spun at all since then. I did a little bit to show my friend and I actually think it went a lot better than my class spinning, but I haven't picked it up at all since then and that was a long time ago.

The more I see spinning the more I think I would love to do that, but I just can't bring myself to go back to the spindle. The stop-and-go of it drove me INSANE, the results weren't that great, and - it would eat into my knitting time. So my spindle has sat unused. I have toyed with the idea of taking a wheel class now that I know (so I tell myself) the basic principals of spinning via the drop spindle. I don't know that much about wheel spinning but I imagine it involves a lot less stopping - stopping to wind the fiber on the spindle, stopping to take the wound fiber off the spindle when it gets full (which, let's face it, happens quickly when your 'yarn' has big giant fat fluffs in it).

This all came up to mind when I was listening to Heather on a back issue of CraftLit (I am so far behind) talk about Start Spinning from Maggie Casey. I think I may get this book and give my spindle another try. I still can't afford a wheel, but - I don't want to give up on spinning just yet.

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