This past weekend, I took a 3 day workshop with Judith MacKenzie MacCuin, who apparently has a thing for Scotsman (but really what's not to like), through the spinning guild. It was a long workshop with lots of spinning, and I learned alot, but am still trying to figure out what all I did learn....you know how that goes.
So I took photos of my samples in their handy dandy notebook pages.....and here they are. The big learning coups from the weekends were:
Learning to adjust my wheel for fine spinning...basically on my Minstrel, that means putting on the small whorl, and then loosening the tension screw until the flyer does NOT turn when treadling. Then I tighten it up to be just catching the flyer. That is where I should spin the fine fibers....
And, are you ready for this? that is where I should spin cotton on my wool wheel. Yup, COTTON! If you look carefully in the sample photo, you will see that I spun both Sally Fox Organic cotton and some Nancy Finn handdyed cotton on my wheel. With a little more practise, I could spin up all the cotton in the house.
Playing with America Bison (not buffalo as some of you may think). Yep, I bought 2 ounces with which I will spin and make something for my mother who is gangbusters for anything Indian. I don't know what I want to do with it. Maybe I will make a little pillow with a Bison on it knit out of bison. With the bison I made a lovely cabled yarn which you will be able to see in the samples somewhere.
Bison is a lovely fiber, very soft like Cashmere, but also very sproingy and robust. And it dyes up spectacularly. Judith showed us a ball of it that was dyed a lovely rich dark red that almost was lighter than the natural color of the bison which is quite a bit darker and browner than the photo at right.
Interestingly, apparently there were partners that started bison in the marketplace, one of whom has the fiber--like 2000 pounds, and the other holds the patent, which is apparently for the process of getting the guard hairs out of the fiber, which never should have been granted by the Patent Office, since the process was already in use for other fibers in industry. It would be like patenting the process of shearing sheep. (Just plain stupid)
I think that we should pool some funds together and break that patent, as doing so would lower the cost of bison from the staggering $20 an ounce to something more reasonable like $10 an ounce.
But enough about bison.
The other thing that I took away from the class was corespinning. You know those lovely yarns that have intact locks hanging from them, but are just so lovely. Well, we learned to do that. So last night, which was my first opportunity, I got out the wheel, some cone yarn and my Cotswold locks and spun this. It's about 30 yards of cotswold locks spun onto a synthetic binder. By the way, unlike the ones that you see at some of the shows, this skein is as light as a baby's breath.
Finally, I learned that I am really a worsted spinner, but woolen was fun too, just a bit more frustrating. And I spin very fast, which I attribute to my wheel and my treadle speed.
Really, if you can take a class from Judith, DO. She is an older lady, learned to spin from Coast Salish ladies who spun everything on their leg, and grew up spinning. She has seen spinning change quite a bit, and has so much information about spinning, where the fiber comes from and anything else that you could be interested in. She spent time in the Middle East, the Arctic, South America etc studying textiles and just has so many stories and interesting things to say. Even if you don't feel that you have anything to learn, take a class to hear the stories.
So there it is.
On the calendar today is a ribbed shell, kind of plain and simple, but seems to be a fairly useable pattern. The pattern is from Knitability.