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March 2007
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Crazy Spinning

The post today is a bit long. I meant to spread this post out over two entries, but then there was bad weather and computer problems, which meant I didn’t get organized until today. But this post is all about spinning, my spinning.

Handspun in the bushes

I learned to spin last May when I went to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. I bought some fiber there and a heavy Ashford spindle. I also bought some fiber on ebay, so for a few months I spun almost a pounds worth of fiber on this spindle (and now I wish I’d taken a picture of it too, but I didn’t think yesterday when I was taking pictures. It’s not super special or anything. It looks exactly like the one here, only a bit more banged up from when I dropped it while I was learning. I think I paid just about that price for it too).

Honestly, I had gone to the Festival for the express purpose of learning to spin, but I’m super shy and a bit of coward when by myself, so I walked around and observed this one lady who was showing another one how to draft and spin. Actually I think the barn was for spinning demonstrations. I had walked in there because I thought it was, but mostly there were women spinning on wheels. I should have just asked someone, but like I said, I’m a coward. Well, anyways, my attention was noticed and I got a five minute lesson on drafting and spinning and it felt so very good.

Wool Silk handspun

So yes, I spun on the spindle and the singles became thinner and thinner and more consistent to the point where I was spinning too thin for the spindle I was using (still the Ashford Student spindle). The yarn above is handspun that I made on the spindle. I have enough for a baby’s hat. Bear finally growled at me that I needed to do something about the spindle dropping already, so I went shopping for a smaller spindle. Only, when I did that I saw wheels. And I dreamed. And dreamed. And apparently babbled on and on because Bear finally told me that we could afford one, so just get it already (he was slightly confused on how expensive some of these wheels are). But I found the Fricke wheels and the Ashford Kiwi and I hemmed and hawwed for what seemed like forever. Then in September, I bought a Fricke S-160 DT:

Fricke Wheel

I love this wheel. We’ve been having issues (for some reason it shudders and shakes like a mad thing when I try to use any of the higher ratios), but I love this wheel. I had it together and spinning in about 2 hours after I’d gotten it. And I have a feeling if I’d known more about wheels, I could have been done faster. I spin at least every week, usually on Thursday nights while I watch a tv show or two. Sometimes I’ll turn on the tv just so I can spin. I could spin without the tv on, but somehow it always feels funny to spin without listening to something. The news is often good for this. Several people have mentioned spinning and listening to books on tape, so I’ll probably try that soon. It seems like a wonderful idea.

So the weekend was great. I went out to eat at a hot pot place with some friends I haven’t seen in forever.

HotPot and Knitting
We’ve already devoured almost everything we ordered in the photo, but it was a wonderful meal, with wonderful people.

Then yesterday I finally got the pictures of the wheel and a bobbin shot of some yarn I navajo plied. When I was taking these pictures, Little Bear thought it sounded like great fun to spin and decided to help.

Bear Spinning

It was much too cold outside though, so I took some pictures of the yarn on the bobbin:

Navajo Plied yarn on bobbin

There’s another shot of this in my picture gallery. I don’t know why, but I can’t get a crisp shot of the yarn. I’m not sure I like navajo plying. It was difficult and rather cumbersome. Probably I’m doing it wrong. I’ve never seen someone else do it in person (like most of my spinning and knitting, I read about it on a website or a book). One of my goals when I go back to the Sheep and Wool in May will be to either watch someone doing it or to ask someone to show me how. The yarn is rather uneven too. I don’t know why, but I was having a horrible time when I was spinning the singles trying to keep to a consistent thickness. Usually it isn’t this difficult, but then I was trying to hold to grist that would create sock yarn. Usually I spin either worsted weight or lace/near gossamer weight. Also, I wasn’t pushing myself at all. At the time I was crazy busy and the spinning kept my mind from going crazy along with the rest of my life. I think next I’ll spin something with some color to it since soon it will be May again and I’ll have a chance to buy some more roving (wee!).