Spinning finale

Last Sunday Tove and I enjoyed the last spinning course day and among other things learnt how to ply. My plied contributions are my first arty attempts (the white skein) and then the gray one (the latter I’m quite proud of).

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And Tove’s wonderful masterpieces.

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As we were introduced to the gentlemen last time, this time we got to meet the ladies (not all with impeccable table manners).

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To ensure our progress in spinning we eagerly purchased some lovely wool. The brown one is so amazingly beautifully shaded I’m kind of dying to make yarn from it. Even Tove, who tried her best to resist, couldn’t.

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But, tiny little hiccup, the need of wheels. Yesterday I set out to remedy this and came home with Clara, named, of course, after a brave and clever character Tove and I just can’t get enough of.

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Finally, to ensure all of our wonderful readers that we’re in no way attempting to give up on knitting we also enjoyed a lovely Saturday evening knitting. (Proof below!)

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Spinning progress

I’ve been hard at it carding and stuck by the wheel trying to get the hang of spinning. And of course in the front of the fire practically boiling (flushed cheeks) all because we learnt last Saturday that wool needs about 23-24 degrees Celsius for the wool fat (lanolin) to melt and make the spinning a whole lot easier. So newbie and all I felt I really needed the best possible start.

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I have now proudly produced 3 skeins, two from fat wool and one from not so fat alpaca. The alpaca went best, not because of the fleece itself, rather because it was the last one I did. It’s a lot more even than the others. (The alpaca is heavenly soft! I want to spin more and more and more….)

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One trick is to spin with unwashed fleece to get the best effect from the fat. Even alpaca fleece is a little fat, although nothing compared to wool. But look at my fingers!

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Spinning 101

Yesterday, Anneli and I went to the first of two spinning classes at Boda Backe fårgård (spinning yarn, obviously, NOT the exercise kind of spinning).

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Upon arrival, we were greeted by these two gentlemen. Very curious creatures! The day then started with an introduction to different kinds of sheep, how to handle fleece and wool, and some other tips and tricks. Then it was time to start practising! We did some carding, both on a drum and on hand cards, and then got acquainted with the wheels.

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Focus, focus….

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Look ma, no hands!

Turns out it’s quite tricky to learn which rhythm to keep to keep the wheel from stopping, but still not going so fast that you don’t have time to keep up with the drafting (hence the above pictures, where I’m just practising using the pedal). I made a loooooooot of twisted telephone cord/lumpy umbilical cord unspun stuff, but at the end of the day I had some kind of eureka moments when it suddenly just worked. Hurrah!

I also got to try out spinning with a spindle, which was fun since I actually own one. The one I tried was much better than the one I have, which I bought on Etsy for pocket change, but when I tried it earlier today I had much more success than I did when I first bought it. (Of course, it came with some really weird fibre… the unwashed stuff we carded yesterday is MUCH “stickier” and easy to learn with.)

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Some of my first yarn. Perfect example of my umbilical cord style! The instructor told us that she can tell right away when people just won’t be able to learn, as they lack the coordination, and for a while there with nothing but tangled phone cord yarn coming out I was worried I would fall in this category (I’m RUBBISH at exercises like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time), but she assured me I didn’t, and the breakthrough at the end did boost my confidence a bit.

The next class is a week from today, and we both got to borrow a wheel for the week inbetween, so this is officially spinning week. Let’s see how it goes!

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