Today (Sunday) I've been spinning.
Each New Year I make one resolution. I resolve to either learn a new craft or to learn something new about one I already do or join a Guild or maybe choose a big project and make that the focus for the year (just wait until you see 2008s project!!!!!)
In 2005 I decided I wanted to learn bobbin lace - that was a challenging one so I carried it over to 2006...........more on bobbin lace another day.
Last year almost by accident I began to knit more and more. I learnt how to knit socks, discovered Podcasts (All hail the mighty Brenda), laughed and cried with the Yarn Harlot and wondered at the genius of Elizabeth Zimmerman.
Now as many knitters have discovered although the access on the internet to fantastic yarns is compelling as we tackle more and more innovative projects our tastes become more and more specific. For example I want to knit a Forest Canopy Shawl in sage green. Not any shade of sage green but a particular shade that I can see in my minds eye. Once a knitter becomes that focussed on the yarn I believe there is only one thing for it........................learn to spin.
My 2007 New Years resolution was to learn to spin!!!!
There are no classes near me so I began by reading everything I could. I started stalking wheels on ebay hoping for one within my budget. I sent off for a beginners spindle spinning kit and had a go.
Then I found it - an Ashford Traveller on ebay. The price was promising and it was collection only (about 20 miles away). I bought her home and had no idea what to do next. Slowly over the next few weeks I lovingly cleaned her (she had been sat in a garage for goodness knows how long and was a sorry state) I replaced hooks, springs and tied a threader to her. I spent 4 hours cutting and unravelling horribly greasy, dirty fleece that was trapped around the centre of the wheel and then a further two getting same fleece off the bobbins. Finally she was clean and tidy. I sat practising treadling getting to know her, listening to the slight creak which I couldn't cure.
In June I went to Woolfest. By this time I'd had Lizzie for a couple of months and hadn't spun anything. At Woolfest I walked around watching people spin, asking questions and buying roving (and yes I did buy a whole fleece - well you have to don't you).
Since then I've spent several hours with Lizzie. She's been patient as I've fumbled threading a leader through the orifice. As the yarn repeatedly broke off the bobbin she sat and waited while I worked out what I was doing wrong. In return I listened to her teachings.
We've got a long way to go Lizzie and I. Today we took this:
and after a couple of hours we had this......................
I wonder if Lizzie knows how to ply?