Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Spinning Roundabout

[Roundabout Exit 151, it seems everything telcom-related has been taking turns malfunctioning: telephone, ISP, email, browser, blog host, photo host. A thousand apologies for the radio silence – I'm doing my best to chase down the asymptote and catch up.]

Yesterday was the last spin class with Stacey at Modern Yarn. Naturally, we had Paige take a class photo. I'm camera shy.

Modern Yarn spin class

Spin class has been one of the best fibery classes I've ever taken. In four sessions I've gone from clew-less to mini skeins of yarn, thanks to an excellent instructor and a go-for-it class. [Rah, Stacey! Rah, class!] As an experienced knitter, I've especially appreciated learning more about fiber and how it becomes yarn. There's a very high satisfaction factor in going from mass o' roving to balanced skein. Incidentally, this does not violate the laws of thermodynamics – at the same time, dishes and other chores have piled up and my house has become covered with clinging fibery friends.

I've noticed spinning has a steep slippery slope. Although its dynamic nature makes it somewhat daunting to learn from books, I've found that once attempted, the basics are easier to pick up than knitting. The big hurdle is trusting the fiber enough to let the spindle drop. But I think the deep secret is drafting and pre-drafting – put another way, developing a finger sense for what the fiber wants to do.

Then there's the matter of the growing stash. My class roving was a nondescript Ashland Bay blend, but Karen generously shared some light brown Cormo and some ecru Romney [thanks, Karen]. Oenophiles aren't the only connoisseurs who can debate the merits of blends versus varietals! I now own two dropspindles, my learner's spindle and this little Golden Leaf beauty from Stacey's Made by Ewe site. And it would seem I'm destined for a Bossie (we're on familiar terms now), if online quizzes are any guide.

You're A Bosworth!

You are a lean, mean spindling machine!
Which Spindle Are You?

Some in the class are already talking about wheel acquisition. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm delighted and boggled by the directions for a DIY cigar-box charkha. Imagine, four weeks ago my vocabulary was so impoverished that I had no idea what a charkha is.

Last week, Stacey brought Gossamer, her English Angora rabbit, to class. I'm allergic to rabbit angora, but the cute factor is irresistable.

Gossamer and Stacey

Gossamer was very mellow with the horde of strangers. Stacey demonstrated bunny-to-yarn, gently pulling bits of loose fluff off his back and spinning them into fine singles. Amazing to relate, Gossamer's fluff is nearly half his visual mass. Its loft is astonishing – were it shorn, it would likely weigh all of a whopping two ounces (56.6 g). Pity I couldn't cuddle him; other class members seemed to enjoy doing so.

Spinning along, my secret plan to spin my own laceweight got a big boost when I discovered that Knitterguy spins. I already knew he knits on a higher plane of existence, but fine spinning, too? I can only bless all teachers and watch and learn.

Spin On Spin In Spin Out button

It should come as no surprise that Spinnning in Public is not far behind. Cara of January One is holding Spin On Spin In Spin Out in NYC Central Park on Saturday, June 24. If the meet-up weren't enough, she's also fundraising for Heifer International, one of my all-time favorite charities, with great prizes (including a Majacraft wheel!). Do be sure to check out her registry page.

Coming full circle, I've tagged my very first micro skein with date and comments and plan to save it for reference. I think the rest might like to be a cap, perhaps with a Greek labyrinth motif for Ariadne, an accomplished spindler, and her clew.



--Deb said...

It sounds like you got a LOT out of that class, and that's wonderful! As to the expense? Depending on how much work you're willing to do, the finished product can be cheaper than the yarn would have been in the first place--and you're getting that many more "craft hours" out of each project. I've never minded paying more for the yarn to make a sweater than I would for the sweater itself because I figure the hours of (hopefully) enjoyment more than make up for it. And when you spin the yarn first . . . that much more pleasure for each skein of yarn. So worth it.

stacey said...

Yay!!!! Great photos :o) I'm so glad you got that much out of the class and I hope to do another in the Fall at MY... More advanced stuff like working with silk, cotton, and spinning yarns to your specifications. Maybe even a class on fiber prep and dye-work.

I wish I could make it to the spin out but we have a wedding and a birthday party that day :o( I would much rather be spinning in the park! Have fun and take photos.