In a quiet moment (!) while we were at Unravel, Lisa showed me how to spin on an Ashford traditional wheel, borrowed from the West Surrey Guild of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers, which had been brought along for demonstrations. I have been resisting spinning for ages. Mostly because I really like to knit with nice even yarn, and I had seen a lot of lumpy bumpy hand spun and thought that it just wasn’t for me. The process fascinates me though, and Lisa is such an enabler 🙂 and I didn’t really take too much persuading 🙂 The guild very kindly lent me the wheel and I have been having a very enjoyable time playing with it. I think I will need to do a lot more practicing before I am making even yarn, but I am improving (if slowly) and am enjoying myself immensely.
Below are my first spinning attempts, working from left to right. The brown is Bluefaced Leicester, the purple Merino, and the pink is mystery wool dyed at a workshop I went to last year (and slightly felted in the process). I’m afraid I am not including the attempt at Navajo plying which went so badly wrong that it ended up as a big tangle and is actually unknittable! These are all 2ply yarns, plied using Andean plying, and are about chunky weight.
Then I decided I wanted to have a go at spinning two singles and then plying them together from a lazy kate. Unfortunately when the wheel went to the demonstration it only had one bobbin with it. The guild owned another 3 bobbins and a lazy kate but they were in storage, so until I could borrow them I improvised with loo rolls as my bobbins and a cereal packet with a couple of knitting needles stuck through it as a lazy kate.
Here is my first singles.
I am getting better, and it is finer too. This is natural brown Bluefaced Leicester again. I find it not too difficult to spin. I found the merino harder, but I think that may have been that I should have fluffed it up a bit more before spinning, I shall try again soon.
So I spun another singles, and plyed it up into this.
I am so ridiculously proud! It looks like yarn! Admittedly slightly lumpy yarn, but it is recognisable as something one might want to actually knit with. It is about DK weight.
With that in mind I have started knitting a moebius scarf, so the skein above became this:
The only difficulty is that I have now knitted the whole skein but it is about half the size I would like for a scarf. I am now experimenting with spinning my first 3ply, and hoping that they will be sufficiently compatible that I can work the other half of the scarf in that.
And these were out a couple of weeks ago in our garden. They were just so beautiful I had to take their picture. Spring is here!