Friday, May 29, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect, Right?

A week ago, I jumped into the spinning world head first by purchasing a wheel. While everyone else seemed besotted by the beauty of the all wood wheels, I was smitten by the Ladybug. It's compact, light weight and fits in the passenger seat of my Accord just fine. I'm envisioning a long weekend off in the mountains of Virginia. I'll take the wheel to keep me company.

With the three day weekend, I spun 8 ounces of Mountain Colors Targhee wool in Indian Corn. I love the colors. Here it is in two ply, bathed and smelling sweetly. It's sitting here while I decide what I want it to be. Perhaps a hat. Maybe two. There are 160 yards and it's bulky.

Fresh out of spinning material, I walked to town yesterday and bought this peach colored yarn. It's 80% merino wool, and 20% silk. The Louet label calls this Golden Hibiscus, but I think it looks like an Orange Creamsicle. Truly, this stuff is a dream to spin.

Today is the first pretty day we've had all week with no torrential rains, or even clouds to mar the sky. I was planning on taking my wheel out on the deck for awhile to spin outdoors. My neighbor has other ideas though. He's outdoors gardening while listening to right wing talk radio. Although I can tolerate my neighbor, I don't know about his Vicodin popping muse. I can't imagine what I'd spin listening to that vitriolic tirade spewing forth from the cheap radio. Maybe someone should buy my neighbor an mp3 player and headphones.

So really, how am I doing? Pinch me! It's thin and consistent.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Little Less Twist

Something happened this week with my spinning.  It seems I'm finally making yarn (or at least that's what I'm calling it) with my spindle and I'm hoping it translates to the wheel this morning. We'll see.  This particular batch is the Crazy Woman Targhee top and teal Corriedale spun separately and then plied together.  

Since some things are beginning to click, I've been trying to visualize myself spinning at the wheel and producing some beautiful, thin and perfectly balanced yarn. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A New Vocabulary

During the course of the last month, I've picked up a few new words. I wish I could say I've taken to spinning like a fish in water, but the truth is, spinning yarn is not the easiest thing I've ever done. My mind can visualize what I want to make, but my feet and hands just can't seem to do the tasks in sync.

I've purchased a couple of books to help me learn as this seems to be the way that works best for me. I can watch others, but until I know the language involved, nothing really seems to click. Knowing the meanings of the words I hear helps me put it all together. And this new language? Well, I'm learning to like it. Just take a look to see what I mean:

Treadle: noun. an Old English word meaning stair or step. The treadle is a lever that operates the machine. This little piece of the spinning wheel is what's giving me headaches and insane looking product. Too fast, too slow, not enough= the kind of yarn I'm making. I should have named this blog Twisted Sister for that's what I'm making: lot's of twisted yarn. My granny had a treadle sewing machine but when she sewed, her movements looked very smooth, and not like my herkie-jerkie movements because my head, hands and feet can't seem to work as one.

Footman: also a noun that generally means a liveried servant who admits visitors and waits on tables, but in this case, the footman connects the treadle to the drive wheel. I think the footman is in part to blame for my twisted yarn. Off with his head!

Maidens: again a noun and not one denoting virgins. These are the upright arms that hold the flyer and bobbin in place. Have I mentioned that since my yarn is so thick and twisted, it takes me no time at all to fill up a bobbin? If I were to buy a spinning wheel, I think I'd need a lot of bobbins right now because instead of being svelte and smooth, my yarn is pretty chunky. Sort of like me.

It's beginning to sound as old fashioned as a fairy tale, isn't it?

And as in any proper fairy tale, there is a Mother. Not a passive, victimized mother, nor an evil stepmother. No indeed. On a spinning wheel, there is the Mother-of-all. This particular part of the wheel includes the base and Maidens that support the flyer (which holds the bobbin).

I can just imagine the person who invented spinning wheels naming the parts as he made them. Did he think this particular part gave birth to the other parts, or did he think it was a mother*** to make? I'm not clear on that, but what I am clear on is that by imagining the spinning wheel as a character in a tale of old, I'm at least learning the names of the parts.

Here is a picture of what I expect I'll look like by the time I finally get this art form:

Photo: Google Images