Wednesday, October 3, 2012

break day two

Day two was spinning with Robin Russo from Vermont. Remember the ram we picked up three weeks ago (which is still, sadly, unnamed)? Robin lives next to that shepherd, and as a result works with Coopworth fiber quite frequently. In fact, it was one of the samples she had brought for in the class. What a bonus! I learned even more about our own breed.

We spent the day playing with her extensive collection of hand carders, drum carders, combs and dizzes to explore the differences between the various kinds of fiber prep. In the photo below, we are trying to decode the correct way to use combs, a truly fearsome item of fiber prep. If truth be told, they have always scared me a little, but everyone in the class left with the realization that we each needed our own set!

I had taken a class before about the difference between spinning woolen and worsted, so the foundation was there, but this time it finally clicked. Same thing with ratios on my spinning wheel. When I tried to read and understand books and articles on the subject, it was so much blah blah blah. Thank goodness I have finally grasped that basic information and with any luck it will start to make a difference in my spinning.

We ended up with a neatly organized binder full of samples and notes. At the end of the class, she brought out dyed samples of mohair, silk and alpaca and challenged us to see what we could produce using the carder to blend different fibers together. My blend consisted of white Polwarth (a fine grade wool), lime green alpaca and royal blue silk.

Once I started spinning I couldn't stop until I was done with my little sample batt! I quickly used someone's andean plying tool to wind off the results and plied it up. (An andean plying tool allows you to make a two-ply yarn from one bobbin of single ply, without having to split it up between two different bobbins.)

Gorgeous! It will have to be a little stripe on a hat or something. It is too good not to use.

(Sorry for the crummy picture, yet again. I was all set today to photograph the various items properly with the good camera and natural light. Instead, I ended up having to deal with that unpleasant situation I mentioned yesterday, just as I thought we were out of the woods. Nope.

But I do have a slightly better picture of the fingerless mitt.)

Tomorrow: day three—dyeing!

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