Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back to basics

I'm beginning to think that knitting an Estonian lace shawl with 2-ply laceweight will be easier than learning how to use my spinning wheel, and that scares me.

I do have a How To Spin DVD now, and it is tremendously helpful, though I must say its New Age music is throwing me little. Over the holiday when I ran it so I could have a look without a wheel in front of me, somebody wandered past and asked what was so suspenseful, the theme having shifted to something urgent and ominous.

It is true however that keeping your fiber from overtwisting and breaking off is suspenseful, so I suppose it's appropriate, if distracting.

Anyway I gave it a good thirty minutes, adjusting my bobbin tension and chair position and how much I predrafted and something about where I put the rubber band thingy and a lot of other things before accepting that freaking out is not the response a wheel is meant to produce. So I put it away and resolved to:

accept that learning to use a spinning wheel in 2011 doesn't mean doing that during the first week of 2011

watch the video again, wheel-free, when I am calmer

practise just treadling so I get my speed consistent

find a spinning wheel class (and fiber I truly don't care about ruining.)

Then I got out a spindle.

Oh, I can't help it - I love how easy they are. And I've been drafting out my Twisted fiber in a new to me way that I couldn't wait any longer to see spun up.

Here's what I did: instead of tearing the roving into thin strips, thereby reducing the length of each colour repeat, I uncurled the entire piece and tore it down the middle, then down the middle of each of those for four fat strips. I've been drafting from that fat fiber to thin wispy pieces with long, long colour repeats, and I plan to ply each pair with the colour repeats matching so that I retain the gorgeous colour shifts.

Seriously, could you resist that, especially if your alternative is mangling perfectly good fiber on a wheel you don't know how to use?


Kathleen Taylor said...

I wish you could come and visit me- I know we'd be able to sort out the wheel problem in short order.

Mary Keenan said...

I know, wouldn't it be fab? Plus: we could eat cookies and you could give me a tour of the big tub of knitted things ;^)