Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Over Confidence Destroys

Well, It's been a week + 2 days since I began "spinning."  Progress has been slow, but steady - when I've had the time to spin.  I think I like it, but since learning to spin is a bucket list activity, I'm not sure that I will master it in the time I have left.
Feeling optimistic last week, after spinning up all the roving that I had in the house, I chose to purchase 8 ounces of Daffodil (think I blogged about that earlier) and on my day three of spinning (feeling what is in retrospect, overly confident) I really made a mess of it.  So after more than a few minutes of frustration, I walked away, leaving this mess!

The title of this should be "Learning Curves are Hell!"

Saturday (which would have been day 4 of spinning) I tried again.  Results were better but thumbs were sore from the work with drafting the yarn.    Here is a pic of the work done on day 4.

You can see some thick and some thinner pieces.  I'm told this is normal for the learning process.  But I'll call it "Fat & Skinny."

I knew the wheel was due back to the store today, so I immediately set about to finish up the remaining daffodil and white roving and then ply them together.  I guess this is day 5 or 6 or something like that.  Anyway,  the results were better today, thumbs sore as well.  My "skeins" are drying from the bath to "set the twist" but here is a pic of today's work.  I think these are more consistent in diameter, which is what is making my thumbs hurt!

Now, once the "skeins are dry, I'm off to knit them into something!  Can't wait to see what will happen with that!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spin Class

Well, I finally went to a spin class on Saturday.  I'll bet you're thinking - hooray!  Exercise!  - but no it was a fiber spinning class.  I'm so excited to take the class.  I have had a drop spindle in my stash and some fiber in a bag - that I got at the same time - since 2002 - when I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival.  It's been moved now for 3 times and I still hadn't done anything with it.  I was so afraid of the drop spindle and not being able to master it, that I didn't even try.

Hop to 2012 and this month's Yarn Along the Rockies Yarn Crawl.  It was 21 stores and 9 days.  I've never done anything like this before, but decided to use this time with no work to try it.  I loved every minute of it.  I went to all 21 stores, saw parts of Colorado that I would never have seen, signed up for a spinning class, petted a lot of yarn, added to my stash, bought a book on the drop spindle, and, at one store, thought the roving was too good to pass up, so I now had more roving in my stash.  Roving is wool (or other fiber) that has been conditioned and ready to spin.  I understand that "conditioned" means the sheep (or other animal) donated the fleece, it was washed, dried and combed so that all the fibers are aligned and ready to spin.   I thought the hard work had been done and I pictured myself doing drop spindle spinning sitting on my deck enjoying the beautiful fall that only Colorado can offer!
Snap out of it, the drop spindle is not my friend!  It was much harder - even with great pictures in the book I bought - than I ever thought.

I had signed up for a spinning class at the nearest fiber arts store, happily only about 5 miles from my home, Table Rock Llamas.  The shop worker said they had cancelled the last one due to not enough people.  I was the first to sign up and the class was only 8 days away from my sign up date, so what's the odds that it would fill up?  I resigned myself to the drop spindle and the fiber I had picked up along the Crawl.   Imagine my shock when the owner of the shop called on Thursday to tell me the class on Saturday was a "go!"

On Saturday morning, I gussied myself up for the class - and to be honest I was dreading every minute of it.  But, since the class would be canceled if I didn't attend - as they had only the minimum needed for the class, I felt I had to go.  I walked into the class room to see 3 spinning wheels set up and ready to go!  No backing out now.  I checked my courage and sat down at one.  I met the instructor, Sharon, of Woodlake Woolies.  She really knows her stuff with spinning, and teaches a lot of classes on spinning easy to difficult stuff.  I applaud her for patience since we had to learn to control our right hand, our left hand and both feet at the same time!

It was instinctive to put my feet on the peddles and begin peddling.  The problems arose when I put some fiber in my hands and was actually going to spin yarn.  After 4 hours of tension (both the wheel's and my tension), twisting, drafting and plying with 2 different types of fiber, I had this:

Can you believe it?  Then I was hooked.  Having no wheel at home, but all that fiber from 2002 and the Yarn Crawl, wasn't enough for me.  I bought 8 ounces of what the shop owner called "sheep" since it was wool, but from different breeds of sheep.  I also bought 8 ounces of white merino and rented a wheel for 1 week.
Sunday came and went without any spinning.  Then I had to spin on Monday, so here is what I did on day 1 of my new career!
This is a combination of the Yarn Crawl fiber (dark brown) and the "sheep" plied together after spinning.  So, since I was hooked, I also spun up the 2002 fiber which was blue, but showed up as grey in the next picture.
One day 2 of spinning, I finished the Yarn Crawl fiber - red/black, and the remainder of the 8 ounces of  "sheep" and took both the "sheep" white and blue to Table Rock Llamas hoping they had a large enough bobbin that I could ply the white and blue together.  Not so, I purchased 8 more ounces of Merino in a color called Daffodil and borrowed an empty bobbin.  So here is what I did on day 2 of spinning.  I'm pretty proud of these.  Consistency is getting better and I'm hoping to move on to the merino soon.  I have about 50 yards of the red/white and the same for the blue/white.  It is more of a bulky weight yarn.

I'm on a quest to learn to spin finer and finer yarn, but today is Wednesday and the wheel is due back on Saturday!  Gotta get spinning!