Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm So Proud...

My spinning class on Saturday got off to a great start! Of course there were the usual beginning bobbles and fluffs, but by the end of the class everyone was making yarn! I'm so proud of these ladies - they're truly wonderful and such good sports!

My ramblings last week appear to have borne something or other. I did indeed break down the spindling process to minimal bits, starting with fondling and dissecting the spindles, then moving on to the fiber itself. We pulled a single fiber to check length, pulled a couple more to check how easy it was to break them, pulled and twisted a few to see what difference that made, etc., etc., etc. Baby steps? Sure! But everybody learns to walk with baby steps!

We stopped with park and draft, and everyone promised at least 15 minutes of practice each day. For those who emailed me directly to ask, we're using Louet Octo spindles and Louet's BFL top. This is a nice top, with enough tooth to help beginners along, yet enough sheen and softness to keep knitters' fingers happy.

I do like Louet's fibers, although I'm not as crazy about their spindles, and the Octo spindles are a perfect example of why. These spindles came in very rough. Careful sanding was required before they could be used, so as to smooth the many rough spots without affecting the balance. Luckily, the spindles arrived enough in advance of the first class to allow this to be done.

On the plus side, the spindles could be individualized with permanent markers in various colors and a couple of coats of beeswax and lemon oil made the sanded wood feel warmer and much more pleasant in the hands. The spindles function well, with excellent balance and a long spin time. Also on the plus side, the hooks are very sturdy and seem to travel well. However, it makes me a bit unhappy to purchase a fixer-upper that isn't labeled as such.

Saturday we'll travel a bit further along the road to fiber addiction, taking a look at the various ways to wind a cop, plying options, and moving from park and draft to drop spindling. We'll talk about finishing yarn - washing, weighting to dry (or not) and some of the commercial fiber options out there. Creating new fiber addicts is so much fun!

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