Spinning is harder than it looks! This week consists of a five day workshop on beginning spinning at The Spinner’s Loft. Leslie Hauck is the instructor and I am sharing the class with a Paula from Ottawa.
The first morning we started about 9:30 with “oily” wool (not washed) and hand carding. First you pick, or tease, the wool apart using your fingers. Then you use the hand carders to tease out the wool some more and shape it into rolwags (rolls of wool ready to spin). After we had about four rolwags, we started using the drop spindle. You put a “leader” of yarn on the spindle, then you feed the wool from the rolwag into the twist created by the spin and weight of the spindle to make yarn. The hardest part is coordinating your hands so that your left hand controls the rate of twist while your right hand “drafts” (pulls apart) the rolwag in preparation for spinning. Then we started all over by carding washed wool and spinning it on the hand spindle.
The walking wheel turned the spindle on its side and used a wheel to make it rotate, but required the spinner to stand to turn the large wheel and spin the wool.
Finally we started using the spinning wheels. I discovered my Majacraft Rose was a bit too much of a wheel to begin on. It spun so fast that I was getting too much twist and wound up with a huge mess on the bobbin.
So Leslie let me use her wheel to begin.
Left to right: drop spindled oily wool, drop spindled clean wool, nicely spun yarn (not mine), big mess from my wheel.
Finally, we stopped for the day around 4:30.
Not only am I taking Leslie’s workshop, but I am staying in her B&B. This is not an American style B&B with whirlpool tub, private bathroom, and inn-like setting. This is more like an English or European bed and breakfast, where you get a bed and breakfast in the host’s home. Think quirky knick-knacks, bright colors, real seashell soap dishes, and mostly-organic cooking.