Sunday, May 9, 2010

A little o' this, a little o' that

I don't know if I mentioned this on the blog or not, but I bought a new wheel in March. Here is a picture of Tina. She is birds' eye maple with walnut accents. I love her. This is a picture from the vendor who sold her to me. My photos are more detailed and don't show the entire wheel as well.
I have been struggling with mastering spinning. Mostly because I have very little patience. I kept getting frustrated. I watched a video, read a few books and still nothing. The theory seemed simple enough and I am doing OK with the spindle spinning, so what was going on here?

I took a lesson a couple of weeks ago and the first thing the teacher noticed was that the wheel wasn't spinning the way it ought to. It turned out that my band was too tight and it was a huge part of the problem. I spun a bit in the class and also switched hands. I am right-handed so I had been trying right hand forward. I found that spinning left hand forward was much more comfortable and natural. I made this sample skein in class. By the way, I flunked winding skeins. This has a few figure 8's in it but it works. It is a single that has been washed to let the twist set.
So I came home and tried some more. But of course, first I had to change the band and that took a few tries to get right. Then I kept forgetting to make sure the brake band was on the bobbin. sigh

Finally, I got all that fixed up and then came the practice. I didn't look forward to it but I kept forcing myself to sit down and try. It was an exercise in frustration. I knew I had to stop treadling when I got caught up in drafting so I didn't add too much twist. But I would forget. I let the twist run down into the fiber and since I had a long piece of roving, all pre-drafted, it made a mess. I had to stop and untwist it all the time. I would get caught up in drafting and forget to let the spun yarn wind on. I didn't like the orifice hook that came with the wheel as it kept bending. Since I frequently broke the yarn, I was using it a lot to fish the end out through the orifice. bigger sigh

I broke my fiber spending diet and bought an orifice hook. It isn't the greatest but it works. Then yesterday, suddenly it all came together. I spent about 45 mins spinning and spun not only all the roving I had pre-drafted but also the bits that had become all tangled up due to the twist thing above. I untwisted them, combed them out with my fingers and spun them up. I joined lots of bits without losing the end in the bobbin. I stopped treadling when I needed to and started up without going in the wrong direction. I drafted and let the yarn wind on. Here is the result of that 45 mins. Can you see the difference in the bottom part of the bobbin?
I have also been knitting up the Skew sock. I am up to the ankle now. It is looking really good. I have to measure it on my foot and put the ankle markers in. I like the more subtle stripes in this than in the one on Knitty.

As they said on Looney Tunes, 'The-the-that's all folks!" At least for this week...


Nancy said...

Tina is beautiful. It's always amazing how just all of a sudden everything comes together and one can actually spin yarn!!! Congratulations on your new obsession.

June said...

Your spinning is looking great! It's all just practice, practice, practice! But, it sure looks like you got the hang of it now!

Denise said...

Your yarn looks great! I started out with my right hand front like you (also right-handed) because that's how I was shown how to do it, but I didn't really start making progress until I switched to left hand front.

Your Tina is so pretty. I love the walnut accents, they really serve to highlight the bird's eye maple.

I don't think buying a necessary tool counts as breaking your fiber diet though. :-)

Dr. Steph said...

You're getting it! Nice spinning. And that wheel is gorgeous.

Amy said...

Yea, it's starting to click! Spin a little every day and you'll be amazed what you can make. Hope you're enjoying the process.