The day after Christmas and I’m acting like a little kid! If you follow my microblog, you may already know why.
In the midst of all my holiday knitting and gift-giving, Santa actually made me look bad this year, lol. He stopped by, took a look around my workshop and laughed at my little gifts like they were the kind of jokes you tell in an elevator going to an interview. Then he dropped off this little surprise.
Yes!! It’s my very own spinning wheel. Now, I’ve never really gotten one of my top three on any of my Christmas’ lists. Ever. In life. So, I was completely floored. But, not so floored that it stopped me from giving it a spin! 🙂 I was like a little kid, giddy with excitement!
Okay. I was really anxious to get started, but I had to put some parts on before I could. As soon as I did though, I jumped right in! I tied the leader on and then I just tried to go through whatever motions described in the book that came with the wheel before putting any fiber to the leader. The book wanted me to treadle and spin the wheel clockwise. It took me minus 3 minutes to realize that was not as easy as it sounded. But, I got the hang of it after a few tries. I just needed to get into a rhythm. Since the book said to treadle slowly, I tried to get into a rhythm of a clock using just my right foot since it seemed most natural, “tick tock tick tock…” That seemed to work. After that, I held my fiber up to the leader and started to spin. The wheel spun it so fast, it was ridiculous! And a singles started to wrap around the bobbin. Now, I’ll have to learn some new vocab, but what would normally be called a cop on a spindle, started to form on my bobbin. Not sure if it’s called a cop on a bobbin, but you get my meaning. It was working! I was spinning on a wheel!
Some things that are true about a spindle are just as true for a wheel:
1) You can’t know how to do it by just thinking it. You have to learn it with your hands.
2) You need to hold the fiber as gently as if it were a tiny bird, alive in your hands. Not tugging the life out of it.
3) It’s all about twist.
My first attempt I felt good about because they looked a lot like my first attempt over the summer with my spindles….like crap. But, I figured, I could only get better from there. Besides, I had been trying to spin a nice thick and thin lately on my spindles anyway. Getting those results on a wheel at the moment was a sure thing.
At any rate, after working on this cowl..
…and running out of yarn for a co-worker, I decided to spin the night away. At least until I could get back to my stash to re-up.
My second attempts were a little better. Here is my second bobbin.
I had some difficulty at the end of this spin keeping the singles from breaking. So much so that I just had to take it off and leave it be. But, if there’s anything I learned from spinning on a spindle, it’s that you have to keep spinning. Lots of starts means lots of chances for success. Actually, I think I learned that part from painting, but I digress.
So, I started another bobbin. And I got this…
…in which I learned that if you stop spinning or if at any time the wheel starts spinning the other way, it creates a lapse in the cop that is being built on the bobbin. It can also create a lot of problems because it’s undoing your twist…just like with a spindle. I also learned on this spin that I’m much better spinning faster than a clock, but that it’s important to know how to control the rate of the spin. So, I’ll work on that. I learned you can build up twist by pinching and keeping the twist at bay until you’re ready for it to go into the supply…just like a spindle. Lastly, I learned that in order to fill the bobbin, you have to move the little curly things on the flyer around. The technical term is yarn guides. Learn something new everyday.
So, I went back to the first cop I spun and I got this.
I was able to get the twist to the point that I could add more fiber and keep spinning on it. I think I’m getting better!
Christmas has been great.
And thanks, Santa. You know who you are. You made Christmas really special this year. 🙂