Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sidelined by Spinning

Bosworth Midi 23g
Originally uploaded by Project Pictures
Once upon a time I promised myself I wouldn't take up spinning. I had just finished a very nice class on drop-spindling at my favorite LYS. We covered every step in hand-spinning yarn, starting with the fibre. Our teacher had several unprocessed fleeces and discussed the merits of each. We picked, carded (into rolags) and spun on heavy Ashford drop-spindles. We plied our singles and washed the resulting yarn free of lanolin and dirt. We also got a chance to sit down with roving at a wheel and give that a whirl.

It was fascinating and I really felt it expanded my understanding of yarn, and wool but the process was just too intensive to be practical in my lifestyle. Picking and carding wool wasn't my favorite activity (okay, I flat-out didn't like it much other than the lovely lanolin smell and soft hands afterwards) and I couldn't see how to fit it in around a rambunctious toddler.

It was two years later that it occurred to me that since you could wheel-spin roving, you could drop spindle roving, too! That idea stuck with me and I finally gave in to the urge with some gorgeous wool/bamboo blend roving.

My Christmas gift from my mother this year is a spindle. Actually it's two spindles (one for spinning fine, one for medium/plying). I also received a lovely gift of roving from a good friend. Since I want to see this roving become something between lace and fingering weight, it became very necessary that I get more practice. But my spindle is amazing and a lovely and functional tool that I just like to pull out and rub a little!

I bought myself a Bosworth (also known as a "Bossie") spindle. It's cherry wood and I love the way the grain lights up when it catches the light at just the right angle. It spins like lightning! At only 23 grams, it's pretty light, but still just what I wanted. So far I'm only "park-and-draft" spinning, which means you get a lot of spin in your single and then stick the spindle between your knees to work on drafting out the fiber to put spin into it. I managed a little bit of suspended spindling, too. I can tell that will work easier as I get faster at drafting. Right now I take too much time to move between getting up spin and drafting the fiber to get very far.

This week's project is 8oz of beautiful latte-colored merino roving (actually it's only 50 grams of that 8oz, plenty left!). It still has just a wee bit of lanolin in it (because I can smell it, and LOVE it). It is undyed and probably won't see dye from my hand. It's working wonderfully for practice. I have successfully spun up 75 yards of 2-ply yarn. It's drying now so I'm not certain of the WPI, but it is much loftier than I expected. I think it's somewhere between DK and worsted.

I'll have to find a project for it as-is, or spin more, because it's just lovely. I'm really excited about it! But I need to get back to my Celtic Cardigan so I can be ready for a KAL in February.

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