Weekend Roundup, Spinning Workshop Edition

Saturday morning I had a really good cello lesson. We worked on the Boccherini a bit, a Mooney etude, and spent the last half of the class looking at fingerings for orchestra at my request. I was rather chuffed to see that about half my fingerings were right. My teacher, bless her, has said that we’re going to have an easy recital slate because we have so much to do for orchestra. I was in a great mood when I got up, I was in a great mood there, and in a great mood when I left, which is really encouraging. The incredible sun helped a lot, I am thinking. I stopped by the Courtnell-St.Martin abode to pick up what Tal called a medieval yarn torture device, which, as I suspected, turned out to be an antique skein winder. It needs some TLC in the way of repair and cleaning, but it will be very nice once it’s back in working order. They piled me with books as I left, so I now have the first three volumes of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series to read. I then went to Ceri’s, as I had my Phat Fiber box to show her, but I was met at the door by Scott, who told me that Ceri was in bed with a bad migraine (are there such things as good migraines?), so our planned knitting meeting and tea-time would have to be postponed.

Sunday morning the boy and I headed out to the monthly pagan playgroup. After a week at home I was taking him come what may, even though he still had the occasional chesty cough. Their craft was a north/Earth collage to match the other cardinal direction/element collages they’d done: we cut out a conifer-shaped piece of green construction paper and a picture of a stag, which the boy coloured brown very carefully then glued on the tree, finishing it with a roundish dab of gold glitter above the stag. His crafting abilities have really progressed in the year we’ve been attending the playgroup. I very proudly taped it to his door to complete the elemental set when we got home.

Sunday afternoon was my Spinning 102 class with Leslie, and as Bonnie theorised would happen, I discovered that I am much more advanced than I thought I was. Although it was worth the time and money just to sit with other people and spin, and talk about the different ways we each had of doing things. I got to try fibres I’d never tried before (pure alpaca, Rambouillet, carbonized bamboo, mohair locks) and preparations I’d never tried before (real rolags, batts, the locks in a cloud), and it was so useful to have someone more experienced look at what I was doing and say that it was fine (the hand motions, not the yarn, although that was fine too!). The only really new technique I learned was spinning from the fold, and the only real ‘aha’ kind of tip I picked up was to spin it off the knuckle of the bent index finger, not to keep the finger pointed. I also reinforced that while spun bamboo looks very lovely indeed, I do not spin it very well; it is very slippery. It was, all in all, a really terrific three hours, and I’d love to do it again. I’ve never seen Ariadne Knits that full of people; there were the three of us spinning, and about a half-dozen people knitting on the other side of the store, and various people coming in to shop throughout the afternoon. Then again, I usually have the boy with me, and I deliberately choose a quiet time like as soon as they open so as to minimize potential disaster.

The other woman taking the class had a Majacraft Pioneer, and she let me try it at the end of the day. Oh, it was just lovely. It’s certainly on my list of wheels to consider if at some point I feel the need to upgrade from my basic Louet. I picked up the half-pound of Corriedale I asked them to put aside for me to take the bad taste of Coopworth out of my mouth, and the high-speed bobbin I ordered in November finally arrived, too. I’ll get to try some of the cotton, at last!

I was wandering through a Ravelry forum on Friday and discovered a link to a set of DIY hackle comb instructions (screw plastic hair picks or wide-tooth combs to a piece of 2×4, clamp to table, use!) and it finally sank in that I don’t need a drum carder in order to blend fibres. So now I’m thinking I can blend bamboo and other slippery or short fibres in with other things and make use of its properties while making it easier to spin. I’m also intrigued with the colour-blending possibilities: rather than trying to dye a specific colour, I could blend two or more other colours of fibre together on the hackle to achieve the colour I’m aiming for. A $20 DIY hackle is much less expensive than investing in a drum carder.

All in all, another good weekend. I was very thankful for it after a week home with the boy.

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