Monday, October 31, 2011

Successful Drop Spindle Class

During tough times like today it's helpful to have distractions. Spinning is one of my many distractions.

I bought a spindle from the Yarn Cupboard about a month ago with the hope of teaching myself to spin on it. I thought it would be nice to have a true travel spinning project that didn't take up a bunch of room. This is the Ashford spindle that's top whorl, 3 1/8 inches and weighs 1¾ ounces:

I tried reading articles and watching YouTube videos but I couldn't get it to work for me. I think my body was just used to spinning on a wheel and didn't understand the different mechanics needed to get started. Plus I was spinning on some junk fiber that I didn't care about so that contributed to the crappy spinning I was doing.

Thankfully I heard about the class and thought if it's possible for me to learn this was my best shot. Beth is a wonderful teacher (I was in her plying class earlier this year) and I bought some special fiber just for spinning on a spindle:

It looks really red in this picture but it's really neon orange, neon pink and a little bit of red. I should wear sunglasses when spinning this stuff! But it's good quality fiber (Spinner's Hill of course) and I thought the colors would be fun for learning.

There were 6 of us in the class, some with no spinning experience at all and some, like me, who had spun on a wheel before. It was a good mix with everyone struggling but staying positive, no two people had the same color fiber. I didn't swear the entire time - big achievement there! Beth gave us each a hand made spindle that was heavier than the one I had. That made it so much easier to learn on. Once I understood the "park and draft" method I could then figure out which hand wanted to be where (I'm right handed but spin left handed) and then I got it like a big light bulb moment. It began to feel like a fluid movement and I no longer wanted to park it, I was fine just spinning and winding, spinning and winding, etc.

I proceeded to spin for the rest of the weekend off and on just making sure it wasn't a fluke and that I really had absorbed all of the information. I even got to the point of letting my son spin the spindle for me and wind the yarn on, he loved it for about 20 minutes. Here's the handmade spindle and my spinning from that short amount of time:

I'd like to spin up an ounce at a time and ply it back on itself using a center pull ball for practice resulting in 4 smallish skeins of yarn. The hard part will be not shopping for fancy spindles ($50 to $250ish a piece) in the meantime. I've promised my self to finish up this 4 ounces of fiber that I bought before buying any other spindles just to make sure it's something that I will continue to like doing. But I have started looking in a couple places . . . Golding spindles with Celtic themes are tempting as are the Bosworth spindles made from Moose antlers or exotic woods. I'm not shopping, I'm just researching for Christmas 2012 :)

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