Be it ever so humble…

It’s mine – lumps, bumps, and knots notwithstanding – and I love it!

I’ve been working as I can on getting my spinning wheel stained and finished, but it’s been a slow process. Eventually you will see why. The last couple of weeks, despite the fact that I know it will be worth it in the end, it’s been a bit of a trial. I was invited to attend a spinning workshop last weekend, but with no wheel, I wasn’t sure it was worth the investment. I met the teacher at the Wool Gathering, though, and she quite firmly insisted that I must come, wheel or not, and if I couldn’t even manage a drop spindle, then I should at least sit in on the class. That clinched it for me, and I spent the first part of the week semi-permanently adhered to sandpaper and stain, but by Wednesday it was pretty clear that it just wasn’t going to happen. Sooooo… drop spindle it was.

By design, I only worked late at night without witnesses. Otherwise, I could have ended up on YouTube in the humor section. Although I’d had marvelous success almost instantly with a drop spindle about 20 years ago, current reality showed a marked disconnect had occurred between my brain and hands in the ensuing years, and I found myself seriously considering the possibility of fingerspinning instead. It didn’t make it any easier that the first spindle I pulled out was a top whorl. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s not the best option for someone determined to demonstrate the the miserable truth about why it’s really called a “drop” spindle. Every time the thing hit the floor (which was ridiculously often) the tiny cone of lumps yarn wrapped around the spindle, slid down faster than a fireman down a pole, and sliding it back up again never quite restored it to the original, tidy cone. Instead, it just got longer and longer, and soon I was discovering it was also finding a way to tangle in the trips up and down the polished wood. It didn’t help, either, that the center of the whorl was raised in a smooth budge, which ultimately led to yarn slipping under the the rest while I was wrapping the freshly spun into place. After about 2 hours of irritation, I crammed the whole mess back into the box and determined to call the shop the next day to cancel my reservation for the class. A little sleep took away just enough frustration to allow me to try again, and this time I found a bottom whorl spindle. I’m not going to say it was pretty, but at least two of my problems were resolved, and I could focus more on spinning and drafting and less on keeping my temper. After an hour of work, I did have a small wad of what could loosely be considered yarn, and Friday night, I added to it somewhat. With this pitifully small offering, I headed to class early Saturday morning.

I’m going to confess quite openly that it was extremely difficult for me to sit in that room with everyone else treadling merrily, when all I could do was clumsily twirl, but I have this little problem of not being able to just sit and do nothing, so with the only alternative to utter boredom being my drop spindle, I used it. By the middle of the afternoon, not only had I learned some new tricks beyond those I’d picked up reading over the past few months, but I’d also spun the entire two ounces of roving I’d brought along into singles, best described as total lack of control punctuated by moments of pure brilliance. I did notice early in the afternoon that I’d reached a point where I was no longer having to think a lot about what I was doing, and I could see that I was doing a much better job of spinning evenly for long periods of time. It would probably be a good thing if I could learn to stick to one particular gauge per single, though. ;o) The most hateful job was actually trying to wind the yarn from my spindle onto my ball winder alone, and I was practically in tears before another student came to my rescue and held the spindle for me. That challenge, along with having spent 6 hours watching everyone else zip through their assignments with ease on their wheels, opened the door for the green-eyed monster, and I suddenly copped a seriously bad attitude, deciding I was not under any circumstances going to try to ply the stuff on a spindle. Considering that the workshop was actually a plying workshop, this was a serious, but silent, temper tantrum on my part.

At this point, I will refer you back to the part where I said I can’t sit still doing nothing for very long… After about 15 minutes of pouting to myself, my hands won out, and I pulled the ball of yarn and my spindle back out of my bag, took a deep breath, and went for it. I had to finish the project at home, but…

I’m now the proud, first time birth mother of a bouncing baby skein of real yarn! Weight: 52 grams/1.9 ounces, Length: 90 yards/82.3 meters, Gauge: mostly sport weight, but with unplanned samples of everything from fine laceweight to bulky. The best stuff is plied against the worst, as I plied it from the two ends of the cake. There are knots where one or the other strand broke during the plying process. It’s clearly extremely inconsistent. I have no idea what sort of wool it is, as it came with the spindle 5 years ago. But despite everything, it’s mine – all mine! And I love it! It’s laying out where I can see it, and every time I walk past, I pet it or give it a loving squeeze. I marvel at its beauty – which I suppose is mostly a mother love thing. And I’m terribly impressed with myself for having produced something so wonderful! Someday – probably sooner than later – this will be a run of the mill sort of activity. (If not, I’ve got an awful lot of roving and fleece that’s going to go to waste…) However, right now, it’s my own little miracle. I made yarn for the very first time in my life, and I couldn’t be happier!

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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