Tuesday, July 29, 2008

spin spin spin spin spin spin spin

I'm thinking that I may need to change the name of my blog... in order to incorporate my newest passion (passion makes it sound a bit lusty, which I guess it is), spinning.

Over the weekend I took a spinning course. It was full, but I was lucky and got in due to some drop-outs. It was taught by a world renowned spinner and weaver, Anne Field. Before I even heard of the course I had picked up some of her books at the library. The class was really neat. Instead of learning spinning techniques we learned about different sheep fibers and how to spin them appropriately. We spun raw fiber which was new to me, carding each individual lock out is pretty time consuming and it's harder to spin for me compared to the roving and sliver I have been using. The lanolin did ooze from the fiber though coating and moisturizing my hands!

Here are my little sample skeins illustrating the 2 different fibers we worked with.
demo yarns from class
And because we didn't work on spinning techniques at all I have been using my evenings this week to hone my skillz on the wheel. These are the 4 hanks I spun in the weeks before the class. The 2 on the left were made and plyed on the drop spindle and the 2 on the right were made on the wheel. The green one has a nice novelty yarn look to it, but I'm not sure how structurally sound it is. I will have to learn the proper way to make thick and thin because I know for sure that wasn't it!
first yarns
And this is the yarn I have been working on this week. I picked it up from a local woolery. The color choices weren't exactly to my taste, but I thought I would work with it. They are romney slivers. Romney have nice long fibers making them an easy option for beginners. So the plan is to spin up the orange stuff and then ply the 2 singles together. I think they will look nice together and maybe tone down the purply color in the multi ply (yuck to purple says me).
first <span class=
Other than spinning, not a lot is going on over here in NZed. It is raining for the second straight week in a row, but it isn't too cold out. I am hoping for some warm and sunny days soon. I haven't been on my bike all week!

Over and out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ruh-roh kids, I'm hooked

I had my first taste of spinning with a drop spindle less than a week ago. Having mild success with that, and really enjoying it, I have made some steps towards becoming a spinner. I attended a meeting at the weavers & spinners guild on Saturday (to see if I could test my luck at a wheel).

The members of the guild meet every Saturday at the Art Center in town. There is a room full of spinning wheels and a room full of looms. From 10 - 2, the women trickle in, each with their wheel and set up in a circular formation around the room. They greet each other, catching up on the events of the week, and checking in on each other's progress and new projects. Many people come to spin, but others choose to work the fibers they have created and sit and chat while knitting.

I didn't bring anything and chose to observe and learn about the process. After taking in all that I could, I had one of the women show me how to spin. She picked me out a traditional ashford wheel and grabbed me some of the 'learner's' fiber (it was a beautiful brown with flecks of grey). She adjusted the wheel for me and off I went. It wasn't perfect yarn, but it was much nicer looking than my first attempt on a drop spindle (see left). It was relatively even and skinny! I filled up a bobbin in less than an hour so I'm thinking I'll have time to do the same next week and learn how to ply the two together.

Oh and after having a go on the wheel I picked up my own drop spindle and some more fiber. I put all my newly learned techniques to use on the drop spindle and my yarn product was greatly improved (see).

This page is a nice basic intro to drop spinning (and the pics of the old lady are pretty great too).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thick 'n Thin

Sometime in the last week I got it in my head that I needed to try the ancient art of spinning with a drop spindle. So my friend Deirdre from stitch n' bitch offered to bring her's along with some roving to the meeting this week and she even let me take it all home! I explained to her that I was pretty sure I needed to be in the frustration of my own living room to truly give the spindle a whorl. After thinking about spinning all day at work I came home and tried it again. The result isn't very pretty, I'll be the first to admit, but practice practice practice. With all this practicing, I hope I have time to knit!

Friday, July 04, 2008


One thing is for sure, commercials here are better than back home. They are generally less annoying and man are there some catchy jingles! But they are also played too loudly here, I hate having to turn the TV way down during commercials. Anyway this here one is one that gets turned up cuz it's just that great.