Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Continuous Strand

I've been spinning for just two years. I was able to produce a continuous strand, pretty consistent one, in most kind of fibers I've tried -- admittedly they were limited to sheep's wool, and wool/silk blends. I liked what I spun. I thought I was doing OK. And that's after just learning the basics in less than an hour from Nancy, my spinning teacher.

Flax single (A sample I spun at GGFI Intensive Spinning Class

So, why take a class? After all it's just a hobby, and I'd never make a living doing this. Why pay money to take a class for something I was just enjoying. Why do I need to learn about the types of fibers and the spinning technique to go with them --woolen, semi-woolen, worsted -- and to learn the fact that I didn't know anything about this subject.

Silk - Wool blend single, wet-finished. Another sample I spun at Intensive.

Now I know I have much more to learn. And by learning, I'm not just producing better yarn, but I am more intentional, thoughtful, and clear-minded -- Judith MacKenzie McCuin said that using your hands -- that subtle pinching motion for spinning -- wakes up the part of the brains that never get to be used otherwise. Strangely, after the Intensive, my hands look different. I am seeing things differently. I feel different.

Judith is one of the most graceful, calm, charming and charismatic people I've ever known. There's a down-to-earth reality behind her grace, and spending a week in her class was the best thing I have done for myself in my recent memory.

One thing I realized (painfully) was what I was not good at all -- long-draw. I had never done it, but that was the only way I could spin the beautiful camel down. After seeing me ruin the camel, Judith hinted that I could practice using some carded cotton. So I practiced after I came home.

Cotton 2-ply, wet-finished and wound using Pat's nostepinne (thank you Pat -- I LOVE it)

Now I am crazy about long-draw. Just as Judith said, it's like watching the water flow. It's where I want to be. So you see, taking a long spinning class is similar to going on a meditation retreat. It's just that you'll have a lot more fiber sample to spin after you come home!

And here's my Delft Tiles Tee. I'm using hemp/wool blend, so I think it'll be too warm for a summer tee. I am planning to make it into a pull-over vest.

Should I go clean up in the house? Nah.

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