Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spinning My Wheel...

This is my spinning wheel. It’s an Ashford Traveler, which I bought as a kit, almost 20 years ago, and put together by myself. It’s been very neglected and was in a wretched state just a few short weeks ago. But when I found out the batch of sheep’s wool was headed my way, I pulled the wheel out of the corner, cleaned off the dust and cobwebs, tightened up all the joints, made a new drive band, and gave it a whirl.

Here’s a tidbit – Did you know wool that stays on the bobbin for five years loses all of its elasticity? Yep, it surely does. I was working with a very nice wool/silk blend when I stopped spinning five years ago. I have one good skein, that’s all. What was left on the bobbin was rubbish, but I didn’t find that out until I spun some more, and tried plying new with old. What a mess. I pulled off all the old stuff, and started over, spinning up the rest of the roving.

Here’s another tidbit. If you stop spinning for five years, you pretty much become a beginner all over again! At least, the yarn I’ve spun looks like a beginner made it. All thick and thin, over-spun and under-spun. Part of it might be that my wheel still needs some adjustment, but a big part of it is me. I need a remedial class. So I pulled out some sturdy roving, and I’m trying to re-learn proper drafting, and just working toward making a balanced yarn, even if it turns out bulkier for now.

It’s a long road back, but I hope that I can come up with a decent looking yarn by the end of summer. Then maybe I can plunge into some of the new sheep’s wool that will be waiting for me!

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