The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Enable Me

I've taken a step. Probably a fateful one, and definitely toward the dark side. Warning, Darth Vader is lurking ahead.

Seriously. I've been thinking some, ever since those unexpected results from the county fair. I mean, I've never done that well, and never expected to. But I did. And I know that they judge pretty strictly. So I've been thinking. It's time to get serious about the yarn.

I need to learn more. I need to learn Fair Isle, and Intarsia, and how to fit garments to my measurements, and how to design. I need to learn a lot. And the opportunities are all there. They are all over the knitternet. They are everywhere in the bookstore. Why, just look at a book like Scarf Style. If a person made every scarf in that book, they would have done all the techniques. I even Googled the Master Knitter Program. Maybe it sounds odd, but I want to push myself to learn. Seriously. Not just a hobby anymore, but to take this yarn thing more to heart. To be more committed to it. Am I making any sense? Or am I just getting sucked further into the vortex? Well, so be it, then.

A number of years ago, over thirty to be exact, I took some lessons from a lady out on a farm in Michigan. I spun yarn on a spindle. Which I still have. I don't know what kind of spindle it is. I don't remember how I did it. I do remember that the wool was not carded. It wasn't cleaned of the burrs and bits. It wasn't washed; it was still "in the grease". (My hands were never so smooth.) I even spun a bit of flax one day there, on her flax wheel.

I did not spin very well, but I did spin.

This is pretty ugly stuff. But I did it. And I've been trying to ignore all the spinning and dyeing happening on the blogs I read. But it's not working. So I took the fateful first step; I dug out the old spindle and the old spinning. I think I'm ready. And I need help making it to the dark side. I'd like to relearn how to use this spindle. And I'm just getting confused because I don't what kind of spindle I have, much less how to use it.

Are there any enablers out there ready to take on this ignoramus? Or at least point me to the most basic, basic beginner lessons? I have to confess, I've been resisting the lure of the spinning, but it's all just sucking me right in. All of it. The yarn, the techniques, the spinning, the challenge.

I am obsessed.


Anonymous Andrea said...

Enabler to an attempted rescue!
You have, as far as I can tell, a bottom whorl drop spindle.

Intructions can be found here.
If you need help starting of navajo plying this site can help.
And if you need to see it and try it I really recommend this site because it has a bunch of videos.

Also I taught myself to spin by sitting with the spindle pinching the drafting triangle and holding while I spun the spindle. I then caught the spindle with my knees and held it while I practiced drafting inch by inch. Eventually you gain confidence and can spin and draft at the same time.
Good Luck, and give me a holler if you need more help!

11:17 PM  
Blogger margene said...

You can do it! I practiced every day for about 30 minutes. Make sure you have a wool that is easy to spin. It should be easy to draft. Get the book Spinning in the Old Way. It's great. Also check out the Twisted Knitters blog as there are good tips to be had AND there is a spindlers list if you want to join a Yahoo group. I am very good at enabling...just ask;-)

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

I have resisted the call of the spinning siren so far, but I'll probably succumb someday. So yeah...go for it, Pat. It's a Magnificent Obsession.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Yup, looks like a bottom whorl drop spindle to me, too. I can't spin with a drop-spindle, but I really enjoy using my wheel! I CAN tell you that you'll find it much easier with clean, well carded, new fleece. The lanolin in your old fleece has solidified into a sort of lacquer and will make it impossible to spin. Don't fight it. Start with the nicest processed roving you can find. and good luck!

If you want to go with the Master Knitter thing, I will be glad to mentor you. I got my certificatte a while back and it was an amazing learning experience!

6:23 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

What a goal! I think it's a great idea...master knitter, and then learning to spin - why not? It's never too late to learn something new, I always say!

11:58 AM  
Blogger JulieLoves2Knit said...

Enabling.....you're hooked I can see. I have a friend who is a Master Knitter - long process but she sure knows a lot!! The big advantage is that you can teach and pass on your craft - I think that's wonderful!!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh Pat I hate that I'm so far behind on my blog reading!!! How exciting that you're wanting to spin!! Seriously I believe it will enhance your knitting enjoyment. You'll love spinning. I agree with what everybody said about the type of spindle you have, and I agree that "Spinning in the Old Way" is an awesome book but it's for a different type of spindle - a top whorl spindle. This is probably all old news to you by now. I think the type of spindle you have it probably a little bit more difficult to use than a top whorl that has a hook on it - and the spindle part is toward the bottom when you're spinning (should be opposite of how this spindle is situated when you're spinning). The Priscilla Gibson-Roberts Spinning In the Old Way book is AWESOME and will answer virtually every question you could have about how to spin. Plying is a different thing.

Your first spinning is NOT UGLY!! You haven't plied it and it hasn't been washed - you have no idea what it would really look like after the entire process is complete!! Don't knock it until you've done all the steps. :)

YAY! YAY! If you have any questions please feel free to add me to your list of people to call for help!!

9:25 AM  

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