Sunday, August 03, 2008

wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'

Saturday I finally got to take the spinning class at the Hand Weaving Museum.

I've been very excited about this for a while. And they did not disappoint.

We started out with several bags full of wool:
spinningclass wool

Then we picked apart the wool, and fluffed it up:
spinningclass picking

Then we carded the wool:
spinningclass carding

My first batt:
spinningclass batt
I really enjoyed carding, and someday hope to get a drum carder of my own, the possibilities are endless for color combinations and fiber prep.

And the fiber prep it was time to spin:
spinningclass me

(we used Louet S10's btw)

I forgot to take any pictures of my yarn on the bobbin. But I can tell you that wheel spinning is very different from spindle spinning. My mantra of the day seemed to be "there are too many parts!" I got treadling down, but it was difficult to get it going in the right direction, the arm never stopped in the right place, and I had to constantly hand start the wheel. And then half the time I would catch the drive band and it would pop off.

And I kept forgetting to stop and change flyer hooks, and I ended up with lumps. Drafting I was ok with, mostly because of my drop spindle experience. But I didn't get as much practice at the long draw technique as I would have liked. Although they all seemed pretty impressed with how thin I was spinning, it wasn't very even and I ended up with a few lumps every now and then.

Another problem I had was that I kept winding on the yarn before enough twist hand gone in. They started us at the lowest ratio, and I think I would have been happier with a little faster speed, so I could have gotten more twist in before letting it on.

After the spinning it was the plying, which is where I discovered my problem of too little twist. My singles kept drifting apart, so I had to send everything back through again, to try and give it more twist.

Because I was spinning so fine I actually used up all my fiber on one bobbin, but I already knew the gist of plying, and I wanted to see how well Navajo plying worked on the wheel. Navajo, or chain plying is my favorite method of plying on the drop spindle, and I was interested to see how it worked on the wheel.

Getting started was a little fiddlier. But I eventually got started. Boy was it difficult! With the spindle, the weight of the spindle pulls everything down, so when you are making your chains it can't kink up very much, and you also can go slower and make a long chain and then ply them together. With the wheel I didn't have enough pull to really keep everything from kinking up, and it was plying as I was making the chains, so it didn't go as evenly as I would have liked. I think turning up the uptake tension may help a little, and perhaps tensioning the lazy Kate next time as well. But I think I'm just going to need A LOT more practice. Which I don't mind! :)

Here's the finished yarn on the niddy-noddy:
spinningclass yarn

And all skeined up:
spinningclass yarnskein

And finally my two saints of teachers:
spinningclass joan and connie
Joann and Connie

Now that I've taken the class I can go in whenever I want and use one of the museum's wheels. I definitely plan on getting a lot more practice in. especially before October when I go to Rhinebeck, where I plan to hopefully get myself a wheel all of my own.

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