This weekend's beginners' spinning workshops brought six new spinners together. We met up in the village hall in Blackford (Perthshire) and immediately appreciated the newly installed heating system - it was a lovely sunny morning but chilly outside.
We had a bit of a chat about wool and breeds of sheep, and then got started with a lovely Texel cross fleece which was produced just five miles or so from where we were working on it (from Strathearn Fleece and Fibre). We sorted the wool into four different qualities - after a bit of touching and feeling everyone was able to tell the difference, although they had all looked a bit puzzled at first.
I showed them two different methods of preparing wool for spinning - combing and carding, explaining that they are used to prepare for two distinct styles of yarn. As they worked, they agreed that combing was easiest, but when I explained that carded wool is much easier to spin than combed wool everyone willingly prepared a good supply of carded wool.
In the afternoon we spun the carded wool using drop spindles. I had brought along four different styles of spindles, and Reiko had brought a fifth type, a turkish spindle, so there was plenty of variety to try. As usual we started with the park-and-draft method, some then went on to spinning standing up with the spindle hanging free. Eventually everyone got on to plying their handspun yarns, which is when I remembered to take some photos!
They look very serious, because they are concentrating, but we had a lot of fun too!!
Everyone had got the hang of using the spindle by the end of the afternoon, and went home with a skein of their own handspun yarn, and a great feeling of achievement.
Keep practicing ladies!!
On Sunday Lynn had an individual session, learning how to use a spinning wheel. Having looked at a Traditional, and a Traveller she opted to try out an Ashford Kiwi, and she got on very well with it. By the time she was plying her Kiwi-spun yarn in the afternoon I could see real progress in the quality of the yarn she was producing, and she was pleasantly surprised by how much she managed to spin in the time.
I really enjoyed the weekend, meeting a group of lovely ladies and helping them to start their adventure of learning to spin. I look forward to meeting each of them again when they are ready to take another step on that journey.
For an update on forthcoming workshops I have planned click the Workshops tab above. Come and join in - its always fun!