Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why & how do you spin?

Many thanks Wanda for your invite to join this blog and I thought I would start my posting with this title as I would be interested in what replies I would get.

I have wanted to spin for years but never had the time before when I was working but it has always been my dream of one day learning how to, and now I do have the time :)
I have been spinning now since last October and I am totally hooked:) Through blogging and the Internet I have learnt so much and made many new friends and also joined my local SWD Guild which I love going to as its so great to actually see how things are made and chatter away with like minded folks.We live in a very rural area so travelling any where is essential to do any thing .The group is also a great place to get fleece etc from other members; I even buy organic eggs , veg and honey there.

Back to my question & to the first part, why do you spin? The reason I ask is that I have seen folks seem to spin for different reasons. I know of one lady in our guild who just spins there but not at home and she never uses her yarns for anything but spins for the pleasure of spinning. I have seen folks who just spin for the creation of 'one off' skeins which are works of art in themselves. Some folks spin different fleece/tops to see how they compare in spinning or it could be that you spin for a mixture of them all.
My dream has always been to spin to make garments & recently also to use to weave with. Although I have done 'one off's' and enjoyed doing them and certainly in the early days of spinning they were truly one off's :) I find that lovely though they are I have to find some thing to make with them as they seem unloved and a waste sitting there ie: incomplete to my mind. I have also found that from the early days of spinning using tops/roving's I don't really like spinning with them now as I find they have had the'life' taken out of them so I re-card them to give them a boost !! . I so much rather spinning fleece as I feel it has more character to it, especially if you know the person who has bred that animal and I love the whole process even the washing of it is great (apart from the smell with some !!)as this is how you get to 'know' that particular fleece and which are the best part for what item you want to make out of it.Then there is the question,whether to dye that particular fleece or not ? I have spun Shetland in a variety of natural shades and they are lovely but the lady who's flock they come from has told me if I dye the coloured fleece they are fantastic ,so that I must try sometime. I am also trying to spin as many of our British breeds as possible to see how they vary so have few small amounts of them to do. I will maybe use them to make an afghan so that I can compare them.Then there are so many other fleece I have heard of but have no idea what they are like as yet and some sound so exotic, I had never heard of Quivit before and no idea what animal it came from. I certainly look at sheep etc with a different eye now. Even our two minature schnauzers can't escape as they don't shed hair and need to be clipped and Islay the oldest has the softest curly coat so after she is bathed and clipped I am saving it to try and spin it . Skye the youngest has a coarser coat so I am not keeping hers but put that out in the garden amongst the bushes for the birds to pick through for their nest building
Of late I have been spinning very fine yarn,mainly for socks but also lace weight and now this last weekend when I am needing to spin thicker aran (worsted) weight for a jumper I have in mind to do I am having great difficulty !! Can't seem to get it even ; I was told that this would be the case once you learn to spin fine. To date the yarn I have spun has been used for hats , gloves and small items. So in order to do enough for a jumper will take me longer of course but there is another problem I think I will encounter and that is in the dyeing of it. The most I have dyed in one batch is 300gm of spun fleece in the one pot and I wanted to get an even shade but it hasn't been even enough for me; some parts have taken the dye better than in other parts. So how do I get a larger amount dyed evenly? Any ideas ? Seems like rainbow dyeing is easy but even is not so, at least not so far for me.

Now the next question , how do you spin and with what ? I had never been taught to spin and my first attempts was using a drop spindle that I had made using a CD disk and dowelling which was not the most successful and I was a bit disillusioned , then I tried a drop spindle that I was loaned and had better results but I wanted a wheel; always have wanted one but which one ? Finances have to be considered and as much I would have loved a top notch wheel I had to be sensible and any way I might not be able to spin. Then we were away in our motorhome in Derbyshire and I had heard of Winghams so we did a detour and went 'just' to see . Two hours later after a quick demo from the helpful Ruth & Alan & much debating I came out with an Ashford Traveller and lazy kate ,nidddy noddy, extra bobbins and bags of roving's ;I was in heaven and like a child at Christmas. Then I decided to join the guild and found that I should have really waited to buy a wheel as a few folks there had some for sale; we did buy two other wheels one for my daughter and one for my hubby. Both are lovely wheels and hubby's one was hand made by one of the members father about 45 years ago and a joy to spin with even if it is small ( a parlour wheel ) the one we bought for my daughter I did covet and so wished I had waited but there we are, she is now the proud owner. Mind its not that I don't love my Ashford I do,but I can see a time when finances allowing I will be buying another wheel. That is something else I have learnt from my group folks tend to have at least two wheels and one has even five !!!
I have also got a drop spindle (nothing fancy )and do use it and what I find it handy for is if I need small amounts of yarn and don't want to take what I have on the wheel off. I would still like to improve my skills at using a drop spindle and Wanda's spindles are some that I have never seen before and I find it fascinating how she uses it and even takes it for a walk :)

So no photos for this post ; its just an inquisitive intro :)
I am sure we will have fun here and there already some gorgeous photos posted .
Our next guild meeting is all about spinning and I can do Navajo plying but I want someone to show me how to Andean. Also a lady is going to show us how to add beads etc to our spinning. I have done this in the past but not as accurate as I would have liked . So all in all I hope to learn some more, although I don't think I will ever learn ALL there is about the art of spinning but I will have fun trying :)


Fiberjoy said...

Thought provoking questions! The How is easier to answer. Drop spindles, usually Turkish. The Why has several levels of answers. I'll try tackling the answers more fully in a post.

cyndy said...

I guess the short answer to the first question (the WHY) is, "I spin because I can!" Once I learned, there was no turning back...

as for the HOW...I have an Ashford Trad and a Great Wheel and several hand spindles...and will test drive just about anything else if I get a chance to!