Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July: the perfect month for spinning

July is when the Tour de France happens, and when sportier-than-me yarn spinners make yarn while watching cyclists race through amazing scenery.  Normally I just do the 'make yarn' thing, skipping the TV part but sticking to the Tour de France schedule.

This year, I'm giving up on the Tour framework entirely.  My schedule is totally packed and I have a lot of big projects hanging over my head, and: ugh. I won't have a lot of time to spin at all.  On the other hand, one of the projects is streamlining how much Stuff I have at home, because I've got about 9 months left before I have to move house so that one of the other projects (huge home renovation) can happen.  It would be good if I could transform some of the Stuff into something functional and/or gift-able.  Not just good: helpful.

So... I'm just going to spin.  Every day in July.  I already have my fiber lined up and everything - well, not all of it, but the stuff I want to get through in the time.  Specifically, all the Twisted Fiber Art roving I've let accumulate over the last few Clubs.

That doesn't look too bad, does it?  Eight braids in 31 days?  Giving me... four and a half days to get through each braid.  Totally do-able.

Except there's this other stuff I'd already prepped to spin.  Possibly as long ago as last year's Tour, but I'm not going into my Ravelry library to check.

Still not too much though, right?  Twelve braids, 31 days.  Two and a half days per braid.  I can do that for sure.

Except I also found these two skeins of Maple.  Love this colour.  Really meant to do something good with it.  Can't, until I spin it.

Oh man.

I'm in trouble, aren't I.

(are you doing anything with fiber this month?)


Erika said...

Egads you have a TON of spinning to do! Love all the colors you have. I need to keep practicing with my drop spindle before I forget everything entirely! My Mom & I took a class about 1month ago, she's not into it but I really find it neat, I just wish I was better at it :( I bought a bunch of small roving's from different breeds to try, I wanted to see if I could tell between the breeds. I also got some alpaca to try.. I need to find a group or another class, there was just SO much information to take in. And the teacher gave us no notes at the end of the class-I was super bummed. Sorry I'm rambling.. Any books or websites on drop spindling/learning to spin that you know of? ~Erika

Mary Keenan said...

Erika, I started like you did - took a class, nearly forgot everything, and then just practiced a lot. At first, the fiber breaks ALL the time and you're chasing the spindle across the floor, but gradually you do get better. I quickly realized I liked spinning enough to justify a wheel - spindles are great, but it takes a really long time to get through a braid of roving - and I was lucky to stumble across somebody selling the exact model of wheel I wanted about a week after I decided that ;^) You will definitely be able to tell the difference between fibers! I loved working with Polwarth on my spindle and on the wheel, and also Blue Faced Leicester. And Merino, of course. Merino with silk: also dreamy... and now I'm rambling. Maybe check Interweave online for good videos on spindle spinning - I got a couple of great ones there on wheel spinning - and also YouTube? I bet that would be enough to remind you of the little tricks you learned in class.

Erika said...

Thanks! I bought sample of B.F.L., Romney,Wensleydale,,Coopworth,and 2 small samples of crosses B.L.x Corriedale,B.L. xRomney plus the alpaca, so I definitely have enough to start with!! LOL But I will remember Polworth.. The lady who i got the free samples of crosses was telling e that Alpaca breeders are a cult & not to get involved with them! Haha , she was nice & full on info then she started in on this and I didn't know how to get away. Everyone was really helpful & nice at the wool festival, I can't wait to go to more in the fall, thank you for you tips , I appreciate it ~Erika

Mary Keenan said...

Oh dear Erika, now I'm picturing you clutching the fiber with a glazed smile as you back slowly away ;^) That sounds like a really yummy mix of wools!

Erika said...

Oh good I'm glad you think so :) Maybe I will try to do some spinning this weekend..How long did you use a drop spindle before getting a wheel? I know they are expensive, & I think it's going to be hard to get my yarn a consistent size.. Merino I did see some of that but didn't buy, I will next time. I'm excited -you think I'll be able to tell the difference between them all! I know I love the smell! ha ha

Mary Keenan said...

Omigosh Erika - the smell of the undyed Polwarth I was spinning forever, from Ashford I believe it was - was *heaven*. And amazingly it still smells that way, even the stuff I knit up and have washed a ton! It's good to love the smell of wool, if you're going to take the time to spin it.

I stuck with the spindle for a few months, anyway - I think there was a gap though after my class and before I got serious about it. I can remember picking up the wheel but not the time of year! Basically I did the math on how long it was going to take me to have viable yearn on the spindle, decided I wanted a wheel and did my research so as to be ready either for funds or opportunity, and then by a fluke heard about somebody I knew selling the very model I'd set my sights on, hardly used. It's an Ashford Joy, single treadle (the cheapest) and it runs for almost $700 now but I think I paid around $450 for mine. You'd have to spin a lot even at that price to make it financially advantageous to make your own yarn, but I really, really enjoy spinning so it was worth it to me.

And I still love my Joy, even after seeing cute new wheels, because it is super compact and portable too! In a small house, those qualities are BIG.

Mary Keenan said...

Forgot to add Erika that yes, it will take quite a while to make consistently-sized yarn. I went through so many braids before I was able to knit an actual thing! My Crazy Cowl pattern is handy for using up that really weird lumpy early yarn, but you really do get there with the more even stuff once you get your muscle memory going between you and the spindle or wheel.