In a Spin!
It’s been a lovely day – I’ve spent most of it making this:
Yes, I know it doesn’t look like much but I’m very proud of it as it’s my very first (very small) skein of wheel-spun yarn and I’m hoping many more will follow! The reason I’ve been able to indulge in a whole day of fibre-related activity is thanks to a spinning course at the Court Cupboard Craft Gallery in Monmouthshire – oh, and my lovely husband who kindly took the day off work to look after baby small.
I’d not done much spinning beforehand – I’d been very enthusiastic when I first got my drop spindle, but had quickly become frustrated when it didn’t ‘click’ straightaway and instead spent my crafting time on things I could do more easily (namely crochet). I wasn’t ready to give up though and decided that the best way to get to grips with spinning was to do a course. I’m really glad I did – not only has it helped with the spinning but it was lovely to spend time with interesting people who are living the sort of lifestyle I aspire to. I’d never thought I could get so much pleasure from discussing sheep breeds! But, I digress…
The course was very informal which was really helpful as it allowed plenty of opportunities for questions – and I had quite a few of those! We spent the morning drop spindling and carding then in the afternoon I got my first taste of using a wheel. I can’t say I took to it straight away – after having so much control over the spindle, I found the speed of the wheel a bit dizzying. It felt as if the wheel was constantly snatching the fibre out of hands to begin with but, after playing with the tension a bit, I found a speed I was comfortable with and towards the end of the day I actually started to get the hang of it. My yarn was not exactly pretty – it had way too much spin in places and not enough in others but with more practice I’m certain this would improve.
I now feel much more comfortable with my drop spindle and think that in time I could come to feel similarly at home with a wheel. In fact, I’m weighing up whether or not to invest in one – they cost a lot (the lovely one I used today costs £480 new) so I need to be sure that it would get plenty of use. The inclination is certainly there but would I have the time? It already takes me quite a long time to complete projects due to only having the odd snatched half hour here and there to work on them. How much longer would they spend languishing in my yarn bag if I also had to spin the wool for them?! That said, I’ve always believed that if you want to do something enough, you make time for it.
I guess the really big incentive for me is being able to be involved with every of a project – being able to take raw fleece and transform it into something wonderful. It sits nicely with my ideas about sustainability and self-sufficiency and also greatly appeals to the control-freak designer in me who has very precise ideas about the yarn I want for a project but normally ends up settling for something that’s not quite what I dreamt of. Well, if I could make it myself – that would no longer be a problem! Hmmmm, I might have just talked myself into it! Next step, convince my husband!