Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spinning and learning

I've spent the last week spinning and spinning and spinning.  I'm getting better, but there defiantly is a saturation point to get too.  Today I realized that my technique has changed.  I'm doing a modified long draw instead of a inching short draw.  My wheel continues to be one of the best teachers in my process.  I love with the Ladybug wheel I can set it up to spin with scotch tension (brake band on the bobbin with a separate cord on the drive wheel - the large wheel that makes a spinning wheel) or double drive (long cord on both the bobbin and flyer which is connected to the drive wheel).  I had an hour lesson last week and my teacher set me up in double drive.  It was a great adjustment and I spent much of the time after spinning in double drive.  However, once the bobbin gets loaded with yarn, double drive can result in not getting enough uptake for the yarn you want to put on the wheel.  I've switched back to scotch tension and I'm finally getting enough of a feel that I can make the minuscule adjustments needed.  Horray for learning!

I have been doing a lot of reading online and on Ravelry in particular.  New spinners are writing in with much the same questions that I wondered about a time or two.  I understand now without frustration, why experienced spinners write back with an explanation that amounts to - "it depends."  So much of spinning depends on a host of variables: the material you are spinning, how fast you treadle (peddle the wheel), the desired yarn, the amount of yarn on the wheel, etc.

In my wheel, I've completed some yarn and worked up a finished object.  Presenting my first handspun yarn:

Brand: Anzula 
Fiber souce: Corriedale
Weight: Worsted
Colorway: Forest

And my finished object:
Two-One Cowl by Laura Treadway

My first handspun only produced about 60 yards of yarn.  It was perfect for the cowl, and I still have about twenty yards left!  A very satisfying spin and knit, I must say.

I am working on spinning up the Dyeabolical fruit salad fiber that I mentioned previously.  Want a sneak peak?
So much of the process of taking fiber to the finished end is a mysterious and magical process to me.  I have no idea what color will come through in my finished yarn.  Ask an experience spinner and what will that spinner say...."it depends" on how you spin it and ply it.

I've also been trolling Raverly destash pages to score lovely fiber.  Most of the fiber is on it's way and so I don't have photos to share yet.  I do have one though.....

Fat Cat Knits: Fresh Peas

I found a new indie dyer that I think I'll have a long and fiberous affair with.  All Spun Up is based out of Washington and has quite a following.  Her fiber is mind-blowing to me.  Full of the natural, saturated and perfect colors that I'm drawn too.  I've arranged to buy three braids of a very intriguing color from a woman in California.  This woman was so helpful in our emails back and forth.  When I asked who her other favorite dyers where she sent me a long detailed list.  I just love fiber people.  They really are very special.  

All Spun Up has a Spin Along many times a year.  I managed to purchase fiber for the February/March Spin Along and I'm very excited.  I have no idea what it will look like.  Can you imagine?  Spinners will pounce on her listing to buy, sometimes in mass, fiber they have never set eyes on.  I only know that the fiber will be 4 ounces of an alpaca, merino wool and silk blend.  Well throw my clothes off and let me roll around on it!  I'm very curious about the fiber and can't wait to get it.  I believe the plan is that packages will be mailed on Thursday.

In knitting news, I've been making a determined effort to finish my damn Loopy Ewe Cable Challenge socks!  I'm just getting to the heel flap on my poor second sock.  I've enjoyed knitting them, but I have Mister's Mardi Gras socks to knit yet.  And to tell the truth....I'm a little sick of socks for the moment.  I have a few shawls waiting for my needles and who knows where my handspun will end up.

Blogging news - I'm thinking about committing to a more regular posting schedule.  But for now back to spinning and knitting.

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