Saturday, August 26, 2006

First Spinning Lesson

The first time I tried spinning on my brand new wheel -- Ashford Traditional, a birthday gift from Charlie -- it was disastrous. The wheel kept turning backward, the yarn (or a wad of wool) kept bunching up -- I didn't expect this would be easy, but it was... discouraging.

I've contacted Nancy, a local spinner and sheep grower, and she said she'd help me get started. She came over this morning with her wheel to show me the basics. I was told that the live help is the best -- and yes, there's nothing better than this. Just a little more than an hour of instructions, I was going. Here's Nancy, dressed for the Giants game this afternoon, with Tamami, the newbie spinner. Picture taken by Tamami's three year old son.

I learned drafting and joining the fiber, and the fact that I need to grow another hand to turn the wheel to get going! After Nancy left to the game, I spun, then after we came back from a trip to Borders, I spun again -- (By the way, the fiber art section at Borders seems to have shrunken. The magazine section too -- they didn't even have Interweave Knits! This is disturbing.)

Look at my almost-full bobbin. You may not be impressed, but you haven't seen my first attempt -- a rotten udon noodles! This is a progress. A huge progress. Thank you Nancy. You are very, very kind. Now you are an honorary member of the Designated Knitters, and I'd love to have you visit our Knit Night! (she's also a knitter.)

Below is my first attempt (A.K.A. Rotten Udon Noodles) and a ball of pencil roving from Nancy's sheep, a gift from her...

I was only mildly intereted in spinning, until we went to Sonoma County Fair in early August. We got to see a spinning demonstration at the craft booth, and I was fascinated by it. The world went quieter around her when she spun -- I said that it looked very calming, and she looked at me and said that it was almost like meditating. She told me that spinning got her through the most difficult time of her life. She gave me tips and pointers to get started, and Nancy's contact. By the time we left the booth I was set. I should have gotten her name -- thank you, the graceful spinner at Sonoma Co. Fair!

On the knitting front, I have not made much progress this week, for I didn't knit two nights in a row due to the minor cold. Yes, the shoulders of the Lotus Blossom Tank was uneven, so I ripped the arm trimming and the joint. I plan to redo that tonight. Now the biggest challenge is to find the time to knit and spin, work full-time and also have time to spend with the family -- not necessarily in that order. I wonder if I can spin while I'm on the phone conference at work?

Oh, Huguette -- I know exactly what would get your knitting mojo back. THE SeaSock Cruise. Yeah. Oh, wait, that's not until next April.... Not good...

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