Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On A Spinning Roll

I’m sure it’s not because I’ve been thinking about spinning that I’ve been having a return of the Dizzies the last couple of days. It’s definitely biting into my functional time. I hate bouncing off the walls and furniture! Instead I’ve been lazing around…er, staying safely in a reclining position reading and surfing the Internet. I decided that now was as good a time as any to learn the secrets of English long-draw that have been eluding me for decades. This video by Ruth MacGregor is totally fabulous and now I’m pretty sure I can do it with properly prepared rolags. However I need to use batts from my new carder so I’ll have to turn them into rolags in some manner. It shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. Interestingly I wasn’t able to picture how to do the English long-draw from several different descriptions (and I’m usually pretty good at doing that kind of thing) yet when I can see it being done, I get it instantly. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? Of course I have yet to put my new-found knowledge into practice.

Just to see the opposite style, Ruth’s equally excellent video on short-draw is here. That’s the way I spin most of the time but not necessarily with a combed preparation. I mostly spin semi-woolen – at least that’s what I think it is! Carded fibre spun with a short-draw. There are differences of opinion on pretty much everything in spinning but the area between woolen and worsted is definitely a grey one. Doesn’t matter to me as long as it turns out the kind of yarn I want! And it usually does.

And the “American” long-draw is demonstrated by Janel Laidman here. Essentially this is the same as the way I spin on the charkha except with the addition of the right hand stepping in occasionally to control twist or smooth out a section. BTW there are other video links of interest on the website. The one on how to use a wrist distaff shows pretty much the way I also spin on a spindle. Even my wrist distaff is similar to the one the fellow is using. (Sorry I couldn’t find his name.)

Folks trying to learn stuff like this are so lucky in these days of YouTube! Back in the Dark Ages when I was learning how to spin, I had nobody nearby to teach me and only a few books for instruction. They didn’t have a lot of illustrations or photos because those were expensive to reproduce and colour was even more rare. I learned by the seat of my pants and a whole lot of trial-and-error (emphasis on the “error” part). Who knew you were supposed to wash and card the fleece? Or oil the wheel? Wasn’t the squeaking normal? Oh, did I have questions! I must have muddled through all by myself though because I was making fairly passable – but really heavy – yarn for 4 years before I was able to take my first class. Newbies today have access to the Internet and the plethora of books and classes plus huge fibre and equipment choices. I’m sure you can avoid many of the mistakes and learn so much faster and better than I did. One problem remains the same though: so much fibre; so little time!

In knitting news, I haven’t gotten much further on any of the projects. I’m about to take the gloves out of time-out and get them finished preferably before Friday evening when Milady Daughter and her Lord are coming for dinner. The scarf is definitely curling up already – even though I was hoping it wouldn’t – but I don’t care anymore. It does look kind of pretty even if it is giving me a hard time. Soldiering on. Tomorrow is Spectrum Study Group and I haven’t touched my Journal since last meeting. Told ya I was no good at actual art journaling on paper. Fun to play with occasionally but it’s not the way I usually work.

1 comment:

magnusmog said...

Dizzies sound like no fun - feel better soon :)