Friday, April 11, 2008

Spinning accessories

Hi everyone!
This picture accompanies the last post, where I mentioned certain accessories that I was using in conjunction with the spinning wheel. An explanatory caption follows the image.

I'm not including the usual "garment data" here because a) it's not a garment and b) I didn't make this stuff!

All right. You are looking at this picture and saying to yourself, Sarah, that's all fine and good, but why don't you tell me what I am seeing?
All right, friend, here goes.

Front left: This is about 800 yards of wool I spun on my drop spindle. It is from a roving I bought when I bought the drop spindle, and is very clean. You will understand why that is important in just a moment.

Back left: This is called a niddy-noddy. It is constructed of a center shaft, where I put my hand, and two cross pieces that I wind the wool around. The cross pieces are not only at right angles to the main beam, but also to one another, making it easier to wind. The lengths and distances between the pieces is calibrated, so that when I wind I am easily able to calculate the yardage of the spun fiber.

Right: This is the beast known as the lazy kate. As I use the spinning wheel, the thread winds on a bobbin. When it is full - or I want to spin a different type of thread - I replace the bobbin with a fresh one. The full bobbin goes on the lazy kate. At the moment I am just using the kate as a storage rack, and it will hold the wool when I wind it to the niddy-noddy. Ideally, though, the lazy kate will allow me to ply my wool. That means that I will take two threads - or even three - from the kate, and, using the wheel, spin them together to create a multi-strand wool yarn. Pretty neat, huh? I would also like to point out that the three bobbins pictured here hold three different colors of wool. These three are all from the same type of sheep, with a particularly long staple (=hair length). I got a bag of wool from a friend. Not only is this wool easier to spin, but it is still rich in lanolin, so my hands are getting beautiful!

Most sincerely yours,

~ Sarah

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reflections on Spinning

Well! The spinning wheel is a rousing success. Yep, no pictures today, though I'll have some shortly.
Over the weekend I've been spinning a lot. It is a great stress reliever, I've found (I had a hard weekend). On the plus side, the wheel came with four bobbins, three of which are (mostly) full!
You see, I got several colors of wool from a friend. Each color is in a small batch, so each one got its own bobbin. This evening (should my studies be far enough along) I hope to wind from the bobbins onto a niddy-noddy (pictures to follow), which will allow me to determine the yardage.
I will continue to spin, of course, despite having other fiber processing tasks to do. The other day I was playing a game with my littlest sister (age 6). When it was her turn, which sometimes took a while, I would get up and spin for a bit. As she so poignantly put it: "You'll never be done. You could spin forever! So come take your turn."
The young ones know best. It is never done, nor would I want it to be. However, I eagerly anticipate the day that I can take my own spinnings and render them into something more: a scarf, perhaps, or a woven shawl. I also plan on making something homespun for the grandmother who gave me the wheel.
What fun!
May my project never be done!

Most sincerely yours,

~ Sarah

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Traditional Wheel

Greetings everyone!

I am proud to announce the arrival of my new spinning wheel.
It is an Ashford Traditional, and assembly was straightforward.
Learning to coordinate my hands and feet was certainly more tricky! (Having a sprained ankle on my pedal foot does not make it easier, either! Ah, well, I'll manage).
Thank you Grandma for the great "toy".

EDIT: I've actually found that spinning is a great way to exercise weak ankles, since it is a very controlled movement. (And it's funner that physical therapy!) -S 6/1/11

Most sincerely yours,

~ Sarah