Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So that's why they call it a drop spindle.

Last night I took a drop spindle class. The lovely ladies from Sky Loom Weavers gave us makeshift drop spindles (made from dowels stuck through CDs) and some roving, and got us started. I wish I could say I was a natural! Alas, my yarn is quite the mess, but I love it. I look forward to getting my hands on it again and practicing. Spinning is incredibly low-tech and subjective. I was amazed at how simple the concept is yet how difficult it is to execute. You just take a lump of fiber, break it up, and twirl it about on itself and it becomes yarn. Amazing! I don't know why I thought it would be more complicated, but there you go.

I got a chance to sit at a spinning wheel for a few minutes as well, and that was a disaster! It was a total-body experience and completely difficult to wrap my body and mind around running the wheel and drafting the roving simultaneously. I think I'll stick to drop spindle for now to get the handling of the fiber down, thanks! Maybe someday I'll make another attempt, if I enjoy finishing out the roving I have left to do. I'm funny that way--as if a gauntlet has been thrown down, I have a new challenge. I want to master this, because I sure as heck can't do it well yet! And I don't know how much of my fascination is purely academic interest in how yarn is made, my innate desire to always be learning something new, or if I simply enjoy this activity. Time will tell!

My roving is a blend of wool from a sheep named Myra and mohair from Penny's own goat named Shakespeare. I am so tickled that I will have yarn that comes from animals whose names I know. I'm also blown away by the fact that I am learning an ancient technique--they told us that this was how yarn was spun until the 1400s. Amazing. I can imagine William Wallace's mother using the drop spindle to make yarn for her son's socks. That connection to the past and to the origin of the fiber gives my efforts such meaning. I love it. I can now see why someone would want to live in the country and raise goats to make yarn.

And yes, I dropped the blasted thing a ridiculous number of times. They told me that's why it's a "drop" spindle... think they were making fun?

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