The Cat Knits...

A singular forum to discuss knitting as craft, therapy, and way of life (with or without the benefit of cats).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Spinning Class 2

Second class in a series of three on spinning and dyeing. To think that I felt a little ill that morning and thought about calling in sick! Oh duh! By the time class was over, and it ran into overtime, I felt fit as a ... new lamb. The sheep had been moved to a new field and they were bleating all afternoon. It was really pleasant to listen to the ewes call to their lambs.

This class was packed with things to learn. We started with show and tell. What had we spun in the time since the last class? True confessions and owning one's over spun creations. Then the roving was passed out and we were taught how to do the long draw. Woolen, I think, as opposed to worsted. It doesn't seem like it should work to pull the roving back and back with left hand, free the spun end which has been storing the twist, and watch the spin zip through the roving ... and stop. Like magic! Mr. Schacht pulled the spun roving through and we were ready to go again. A process that was not always successful as Mr. Schacht is very greedy and treats the roving like spaghetti. This way of spinning results in an airy yarn that is good for projects where there is no obvious pattern.

Next we examined raw fleece and looked at the crimp. Less crimp: less spring in the yarn. More crimp and the yarn/sweater/scarf will regain it's shape after washing.  She also showed us the roughest alpaca fleece and the softest, which came from a yearling. The contract between the two fleeces was startling.

We spent a really fun and frenzied time creating art batts with a drum carder. Our teachers are thinking of creating a drum carder lending "library" as the machines are expensive and used ones are hard to find. I wish they would, that would work for me. Although having a smaller machine might be possible if I save my dimes and quarters and dollars and Euros. It is so much fun to feed roving, silk noil, acrylic fibers, etc., etc. into the carder and watch it move through those teeth and become light and airy and something one can spin. Homework now is to spin our batts into yarn and ply it.
Too much twist?

Last lesson of the day was to ply those balls of crinkly singles we spun over the last week. Yes, plying is supposed to take the twist out and I suppose it did... a little. My kind teacher says that it I have art yarn and she can sell it for a good price at the farmers' market. More homework: wash and set the plied skeins and hope the twist falls out.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's a new spring....

After a long winter where we rotated illnesses and colds among ourselves at work,  it's finally spring. As my Tai Chi instructor says, yang is expanding and so is our tendency to do and do and do ....

Went to Lamb Day at Windrush Farms to see the babies. Yes, indeed, lots of lambs!  Their mothers were already teaching them about the benefits of whole wheat bread and how to avoid the shearer.  Run Away when you hear that buzzing sound ... even when there's bread!  It was a full, day-long event learning about sheep, wool, shearing, skirting, carding, spinning, and knitting.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay for it all, but signed up to take their series of spinning classes. Yeah!

On Mothers' Day, I was back at the Farm to learn about spinning on the wheel I so impulsively purchased a white back. I thought it would be a small class, but it was rather large and not all of the students showed up! Still, it was fun and we all learned a lot. I am finally starting to see (feel?) the relationship between treadling (foot pedal action) and drafting. Have a long, long way to go. Oddly, when I draft skinny yarn, it all seems to go well, but the instructor wants me to make fat, chunky size yarn. I suppose I must learn how to do that, too. Won't horrify you, Dear Reader, with a visual of the kinky mess that I on my bobbin now. Sigh!

Lots of homework to do (and do and do...) now. And another class in two weeks.