Aaah. The spoils of war.
I just really like saying that about fiber conquests, lol.
Firstly, I want to thank all of you for the kind words about and prayers for my father. I haven’t gotten to see him yet. But I did get to speak with him on the phone today and he is talking now. His speech is slow. But, that, in and of itself, is such a relief and so encouraging that he will be able to make a full recovery.
And now…back to why you should be jelly.
Take a peek below.
Yup! I participated in another workshop given by Abby Franquemont at Greenbank Mill. It was sweet!
The ladies who invited Abby for the workshop planned for us to have a segment on joining, on plying, on speedier spinning and on silk singles.
Everybody got ready quickly, because after the spindle spinning demo, we knew we couldn’t afford to miss one second of this. What was notable was that Abby had us always start with a warm-up spin.
I’ve never done that before. But it really helped during this workshop. I used my Lendrum wheel for this workshop, which is the wheel I have that I’m least familiar with just yet. I haven’t had much spinning time lately and I felt the workshop would be a good way to force myself to get more comfortable with it and to learn the wheel. No switching out the wheel for my usual go-to wheel. And, I did get to know this wheel better. For instance, I never noticed that the flyers have the whorls attached to them. Fortunately, I took two flyers, so I had a few options. But the only reason I took them is because I’m a packrat, lol. Next time, I’ll have to be more deliberate about my choices if I ever decide not to take them all. This wheel really makes me think! I found out about the whorls being attached to the flyers because, during the workshop, there was a bit of switching one flyer out for another depending on what we did. I went to change a whorl and saw that it was glued on! Say, when we spun cotton, I realized after my cotton came apart a few times, that I had to switch out a flyer for another to get the right whorl size to get enough twist in there that would hold it together. I think I could have compensated with the treadling. But why? A smaller whorl size would fix that quicker. Then, there was the time that I was spinning a fiber that kept snapping before it got on the bobbin, so that I could barely start! When I (finally) remembered I had changed the whorl size to a tinier ratio, I switched it out and the problem was solved. There were times when I felt that I was getting enough twist, and I wasn’t. So, there was some playing around with the whole ratio thing. Going from spinning predominately on a wheel where there are only four ratios to one where there are way more and more equipment to get to them is a little different when you are reaching toward a specific singles/yarn. It’s true that I have more whorls with a LB too. But, I never have to change them if I’m just taking whatever yarn I get and I don’t care what yarn I’m spinning, you know? Spinning a specific yarn is a game changer. I think I’m a lot more familiar with the wheel now. So, yay warm-ups, lol!
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to give a class for a range of abilities. But, I think she did an excellent job. There was enough to keep those who had been spinning 10+ years interested as well as information for those who had just started within the last week. So, even though there were specific workshops that we were registered for (and everyone signed up for everything!), Abby still took the time to show us a lot of the basics. If you missed something when you learned to spin, you got it in the workshop.
She took time to show us some of the parts on the wheel and what to do in instances, say, where the take up is not what you’d like it to be.
Yes! We got to see Abby spin on a spinning wheel too! She’s amazing! I stood behind her to see how she did it a few times. She has a lot more points of contact with her fingers and her singles than I’ve ever seen a spinner use. At one point, she had three points of contact with the yarn as it was being formed! It was really cool.
One of her first demos was a discussion of staple length and to show us the difference between short-forward draw (worsted) and long draw (woolen).
Look at the differences she’s achieving. The whole time, she’s sending samples around, I was on it! After a while, Abby just started giving me the samples!! LOL! Then, everybody else did too. I almost got the star she crocheted too. But, somebody put it back at the last minute…lol. But I gots souvenirs!
Okay, back to the workshop…
So our first spin was short-forward draw.
I usually get bored with it. But I couldn’t in this workshop. I was concentrating too much. I have to work hard to get that right. I always want to let that twist slip into my drafting zone. So usually, I’m spinning some adulterated version of it. I stuck to the rules in the class though. It was slow going for me on that point. After about five minutes of it, I got to a true worsted, lol. But Laurel was in her element!
Then, we got around to long draw.
Most folks seem to have the most trouble with that kind of draw. For some reason, the faith it takes to believe that fluff is going to spin up is hard to come by. But, as Abby spun, she let some of us try it out.
I think I learned long draw when I started using a short backward draw…At some point, I realized I could keep going and going and going. The yarn came out bouncier too. So I was more comfortable with this kind of spinning. But, the fiber she used was so much more appropriate for it than anything I’d ever spun long-draw with. It was a grabby, little bugger. I loved it! Yes, it’s nice to be told…but better to feel that some fibers are more appropriate than others, depending on how you’re going to use it.
This was a little more drawing outside of the lines for Laurel because she really loves that short draw! But look at her go!!
Here’s my bobbin. Oh, and we had A LOT of hybrid bobbins for this workshop. So many different kinds of spinning modes! It was great to see. On this bobbin, there’s short and long draw together.
Abby showed us a few different weights that you could spin using either method. We could feel the difference between denser and lighter yarns and the methods used to achieve them.
She got into some trickier stuff too.
Deliberate slubs and what not. LOVES!
We did have to switch gears a few times, naturally, to get to the other segments of the workshop.
There were demos with large chunks of top to show what was actually happening with the yarns we were spinning as it regards twist and plying, etc.
I got the demos for that too! I feel like if I ever run out of fluff to spin for real, I’m going to take these apart and spin them up too. Look how pretty these colors are together! We got to see common problems with plying using these, the wearing of a yarn depending on how much twist it has, the differences between a chain-ply and 3-ply yarn. Great props.
Here’s my plying. She showed us a much easier method to ply which doesn’t require you to insert a finger between the singles. It’s much more relaxing. I’d tell you, but then she’d have to kill me, lol.
Then, there were speed spins where we recorded how many loops around our arms we got and how to get more on that bobbin to beat our record times. She gave us a short demo on production spinning and the need to stop preciousizing every little inch along the length of your spinning (though with her wicked double-drafting techniques, it’s easy for her to say ). I’m SO down with that though.
Here’s Abby’s two samples using production spinning speeds. She was getting like two and three times the length that the participants of the class got AND it was SO soft!! OMG. If you could have seen the flyer! It was spinning at a rate I’d never seen a spinning wheel spin before. Ever.
The yellow skein in the lead photos shows my speed spin. It’s spun from a batt and I filled a whole bobbin with that! In speed spinning, we were told not to worry about the consistency…Ironically, the faster you spin, the more uniform your yarn gets. We saw that as we kind of let go.
Later on we got to silk singles and blends.
Beautiful fibers! Two blends and tussah silk. I believe my cotton is under this one…which I found was infinitely faster and easier to spin with a long draw technique and the right whorl size for me.
There was more laughing, like at the drop spindle spinning workshop.
There was more wise-cracking too.
And, as always, when you’re around spinners, you’re bound to pick up new tricks. Heather took out a ball winder during the workshop to get some of her stuff off her bobbins and plied before leaving. I’ve never tried winding singles off the bobbin onto a ball winder. So, when I got home and wanted to try some stuff I learned-and realized all my bobbins had stuff on them, I tried it myself.
The balls were wound-two from bobbins and one from the skein I had wound on the niddy noddy at the workshop.
Everything was plied in under a half an hour! I’m sure you probably had already done this before, but I hadn’t. It blew my mind how fast I unloaded those bobbins.
I also got the blends, the cotton and the silk samples off the bobbin as well.
Since they were meant to be singles, I didn’t ply them.
So, now my bobbins are free for these!
Abby gave us some fluff to take home from the workshop to use for practicing. Yum!! You jelly yet?!
If you ever get a chance to take a workshop with her, I’d give you an emphatic head nod in the affirmative. She was pretty funny and I never heard her once say, “Um…You’re doing it wrong.”