Monday, March 13, 2006

Spinning, A Report.

Since Dolores has been hogging the computer (not to mention the bathroom), I've spent quite a bit of time trying to make the suspended (Ted says not to use the word "drop") spindle do what I want it to do.

I have quite a bit of fiber to play with right now thanks to a generous gift from my incredibly thoughtful sister, who sent me large box of roving from an unspecified breed. It seems the janitor at the school where she teaches does a little sheep farming in his spare time. (Ah, Maine.)

I asked Dolores if she knew what the fiber was, but she just glanced up from her tattered copy of On Being and Nothingness, grunted "It's nobody I know," and went back to reading.

Anyhow, as a mark of progress I am positing this first attempt. I don't think even really counts as "spinning." But you have to start somewhere.



A few hours later I was getting much thinner, more consistent results, thus:



I think this is more how it's supposed to look. I'll know better when the books I ordered arrive. At present I'm working from the sage advice of you, my dear readers, and the brief demonstration I got from Queer Joe at Rhinebeck.

I've learned a few things I should note before I forget them:
  1. Let the weight of the spindle help in the drafting.

  2. Pre-drafting is one of those things you can have described to you or demonstrated for you ad nauseam, but which you must try yourself if you're to understand it. Hands-on practice is the only way this spinning thing is going to happen for me.

  3. Do not look to Dolores for positive reinforcement, unless you consider "What do you want, a medal?" to be ample praise.

22 comments:

Marilyn said...

Yes. You have done supremely well for a first outing. I'm impressed. Before you know it, you'll have Dolores in your lap and dropping her rather than the ole spindle.

Ted's right, you know. You don't wanna drop it. It's really not a "drop" spindle unless you fuck up.

Anonymous said...

Just received my "all sheep chorus line" sweatshirt today - totally freakin' awesome!

The chorus line looks nothing like Dolores, though. Dolores reminds me of the Andrea Martin character from SCTV. And Patrice's posting regarding Dolores having Harvey Fierstein's voice - damn, I can't read her speaking lines without hearing that scratchy cigarette-n-booze tonal quality that only Harvey has.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

Anne Marie

Jay said...

I think you deserve more than just ample praise... I think "encouraging praise" would be sufficient. You are doing beautifully (not that I can speak from experience, since the closest I have got to spinning cannot be mentioned in polite circles) and I am looking forward to seeing the results

Jess said...

Looking good! I'm glad you decided to give the spindle another try.

marie in florida said...

did ya show duh-lorez you lil piece of string?

Ted said...

Hands-on practice is the only way you learn any fibre-craft. But it's really true of spinning, which is more about process than product. Yes you do get a product at the end, but it's not like in knitting or weaving where you have patterns that tell you how much of what you need and how to combine it and finish it. (I'm sure none of that made sense, because I really should be going to bed.)

Both lengths of single look like the results of spinning to me. Cut yourself some slack: you're doing fine.

Mel said...

Yay! You're actually doing it! Before you know it you'll be moving on to alpaca. :-)

We were watching 'Trick' tonight & I thought of you and Dolores (the name of one of my cats, incidentally) at the bar when one of the main characters goes to a bar and orders a Diet Coke with lime - while watching the go-go boy.

LornaJay said...

Thanks for your compliments on my design. That, plus Dolores, has cheered up some awfully early mornings for both DH John and me. Workmen need breakfast for 7am, and drink until 1am, so....

I'm *most* impressed with the spinning progress. We had a fibre-and-dying workshop in Jed a few months ago, and I decided then that wheel spinning just wasn't for me - no chance to learn slowly before either a)the wheel stops or b)your fibre ends up in a went-swimming-and-didn't-wash tangle all over the bobbin. Perhaps, in all this free time I have, I could try spindle spinning.

I can hear the comments from the muppets in the pub already!

Holly @Home said...

Your spinning results looking good..do not let Dolores get hold of your credit caed details ..especially if there are any hoof-shoe shops close.When she gets her figure back in Summer she'll be trouble.

Lee Ann said...

Both look good to me, too. Yarn comes in different weights, you know. And thinner does not equal better.

Ahem.

Sister Sue said...

Yay! I'm glad you are able to put the random Maine roving to good use! Would you like me to see if I can hunt down more details about the sheep from whence it came?

Ellen in Conn said...

What, calling a spindle by the time-honored term "drop" is no longer PC???

A really good way to see if your spun yarn is "right" is to knit with it and see if you like what you get. My first hand-spun yarn was perfect - for a heat-proof knitted pot-holder.

Elizabeth said...

Either one of your samples looks like decent spinning, just different weights. Without knowing the size spindle you're using, it's difficult to say which is the more appropriate weight singles. Your spindle will be full when you can no longer support the weight of the spindle+fiber on the diameter singles you are trying to spin.

dhi said...

Woot! Lookin' good!

I need Delores-at-the-Door on a tank for Fort Lauderdale. By Easter break. Whadathaodds?

Big Smooch!

Michelene said...

Franklin, there are at least three animal computer animated films coming out this year(Ice Age Two, The Wild, and Over the Hedge--two of which feature the fine voice talents of Mr. William Shatner)--I'm sure that if you get a hold of Dreamworks(I prefer Pixar, but Disney bought them and I don't think they'd go for Dolores' boozing) they'd snatch Dolores right up. Perhaps Harvey is available? Would you voice yourself, or who would you choose to voice you? How about a romantic avenging Ram voiced by that fine Scot and manly man--Sean Connery?

Julie said...

What you've produced so far looks knittable, so bravo!

And ask Dolores where she grew up. I think I went to High School with her.

Jon said...

I'll give you a medal, snookums.

Nancy said...

I actually like the first yarn better - it's more consistent overall. As Lee Ann said - thinner isn't necessarily better. If you teach yourself to only spin super thin yarn, you'll have a dickens of a time getting thicker yarn (ask me how I know. Oi!)

Congrats on giving the "drop" spindle another try - it looks like you're getting great results!

(A thought about how to show relative scale on each yarn you spin. Wrap it around a ruler so we can see how thick it is)

Sally said...

Great job, Franklin! I will be spinning soon--spindle is on its way. I just read "Spin It", by Lee Raven and found it to be very thorough. Good luck!

Rana said...

Both look fine to me. :)

(It's more about the consistency than the thickness, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

Tallguy said...

Hey, that looks just like yarn!! I think you got it. Yes, you need to learn to trust your tools, and let them do the work. Preparation is the key to everything. It does get easier. Did you look at my blog -- I have some tips for the suspended spindle!

Now -- let's do some plying....

sahara said...

I soooo want to spin again, as I have a wheel for bulky yarn, and would like to spin my own rug yarn (in another life, I made rugs).

Once you master a suspended spindle, you really appreciate what a wonderful invention the wheel must have been.

I think the New York Spinning Guild (if it's still around)had a total of NINE members the last time I checked. Hmmmm