Spindly

I’ve managed to get quite a bit done on Sara’s wedding mittens, they’re coming along famously! I thought I would also talk about how spinning is going. Every time I say I have a spinning class on Tuesday, everyone thinks it is stationary bike. Right away, I say, ‘oh no, it is spinning yarn!’ then most people look at me like I am raving mad. Either raving mad, or they take it to the next level and ask if I am going to spin and dye all my yarn. There are some people with that much time and equipment, but I am not one of them.

Drop Spindle 2

I’ll start with spinning. Last week, we did drop spindles, which was a lot of fun. There were a few dropping of the drop spindle and one throwing of the drop spindle… unintentional of course…. And by me of course. Ute had a few different types of spindles for us to try, which was really great because you can see if you like them or not. I ended up favouring the Turkish drop spindle. It was the easiest to use. The way you spin the yarn and wrap it around the bottom, the end result is a ball of yarn and not a wadded tangled snarl. The other spindles you simply wrapped the yarn around part of the spindle. While this does create a bundle, it is not really conducive to creating something structured and organized.
I think I liked drop spindling a little better than regular spinning. I had a little more of a natural aptitude for it. I think my yarn only broke once or twice (hence the abovementioned throwing). I didn’t think I was doing that well, but I got it to work. I’ve always heard that spinning this way is slower by the hour and faster by the week. Spining on a wheel is much faster, but not portable at all. With a drop spindle, you can take it anywhere and do anything with it.

Drop Spindle

Not only did we attempt drop spinning, but carding wool as well. You get these two gigantic brushes, which enable you to brush the fleece till it is nice and soft. This is the manual process we used for the drum carder. The drum carder does a wonderful job and I can’t imagine carding my own wool, unless I was unexpectedly thrown back in time to a place where drum carders didn’t exist… then I would invent them and become a millionaire. Probably more like a hundred-aire, but you get my meaning.

Brushes

Now! Pictures of the wedding mittens themselves!!! I am so close to being done. Both the outside shells are complete and blocked, which means no more colour work!!! Yaaaaaayyyyy!! I am on the inside of the mittens, the lining. They look so great, it almost makes me want to cry, they’re that perfect. Tightly woven too, so they are going to be warm and hardwearing. I swear, one day these will be passed down within the family.

Mittens

I’ve tried to take pictures when I pick it up again so there is something of a progression photo line. I also send the random photo to Sara because the big day is coming up in 10 days. The mittens are perfect and they are going to be done. DO NOT BE CONCERNED!! With that, I am going to go work on said mittens!

The Second of Four

Since I haven’t managed to do a noteworthy amount of knitting, I am going to talk about my second spinning class! This week I managed to be late again, but I claim no fault in this as it was snowing like no tomorrow. There was a point where all the traffic had completely stopped, I think people must have been frightened to continue because of the blowing snow.

Ply-ed

This week we learned plying. Our homework from last week was to continue making singles so we actually had something to ply this week. For those who don’t know, plying is when you take two single strands you have spun and twist them together. The very first class, our teacher stressed that how you twist your singles is important because it affects how you ply those singles together. If you are spinning your singles to the left, you need to ply them to the right. If you spin them to the right and ply them to the right as well, you will just untwist all the work you’ve just done.

Lazy Kate

Plying didn’t actually take too long to learn, then we were taught how to use a niddy-knotty to skein it, then moved onto the drum carder. The drum carder is how you make roving. We started with merino wool and alpaca; if you are working with a blend you are supposed to weigh out the amounts of each you put into it and work it though the drum carder in order to mix it up properly.

Drum Carder 2

We just eye-balled the amounts and worked the fiber through the drum carder to learn how to use it. It looks somewhat like a medieval torturous music box, so it can be a little intimidating to get started. Once you’re onto it though, it is easy as pie.
We sent enough fiber through the drum carder to get us through the next week at least. Next time, we are going to learn how to card manually, with the combs.

Drum Carder

I wonder if it would have been better to learn combing first, so we would really appreciate the drum carder once we got to it, but the teacher is very knowledgeable and I am sure she has this down to a science.
We are also going to learn to use drop spindles next week, which I am looking forward to, partly because I won’t have to pack up the spinning wheel and lug it all the way to Kitchener!
I’ll save the knitting I’ve done this week, for next weeks post… that way it will seem like I am getting a lot more done than I am. I am hoping that my week won’t be crazy busy and I’ll actually be able to relax and knit a bit!

Monday Mishaps: Harder than you Think

When Paul and I were in Chicago I got an email with an offer to sign up for a spinning class in Kitchener/Waterloo area. This is an hour drive from me, but I am free on Tuesday nights and I have been dying to try my hand at spinning. Spinning isn’t something that you jump right into though. I wasn’t about to run out and buy a spinning wheel to give it a go. This class allows you to grasp the basics of spinning while borrowing a wheel from the guild. This means they can assign you homework and you have no excuses.

Spinning 1

Last week was my first week of a six week class. It did not start on an auspicious note. I left slightly late, for me, and while on my way there was waylaid by construction. More accurately I was delayed by bits of road that were blocked off for construction but not actually being worked on. If my compulsion for being perfect is not evident enough in my knitting, you won’t be surprised to find out that I HATE to be late. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and normally I leave enough of a buffer that I am chronically early. Needless to say that this time I failed to deliver.

Spinning 2

I was already five minutes late when I showed up to the building, so I was trying frantically to find my class in a hurry, but not appear like the frenzied crazy person I am. The address I was emailed was to a daycare that used to be a school. The front gate was childproof, so I was outside, in the dark, messing around with a gate. Next, the door was locked; there were lights on inside, but the door was definitely locked.

Spinning 3

Naturally, I knocked. No answer. I knocked again with the same result. Seeing as I was already late, I lost all patience and simply pounded on the door until a janitor peeked around the corner with a look that said ‘What the..?’ I let him know that I was supposed to be taking a class with the K/W Knitters Guild and he directed me to the last door on the right. It looks like there were another set of doors right beside the class room, but they were not the obvious ones, so I didn’t manage to see them at all.

Spinning 4

The class was really interesting, but much harder than I anticipated. Usually I catch onto things very fast, but this took some practice. I’ve been practicing this week, so hopefully my next class will go much easier!