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Spinning!March 21, 2005

Oh, my goodness. There's something about it, isn't there? Janine gave me BEST lesson, ever. She taught me history and technique, and she was patient, and she made me feel like I was doing great, even though it was obvious that I wasn't -- I couldn't even get the wheel to go only one direction -- it kept turning and unspinning/tangling the yarn into great lumpen messes.

Oh, but it's fun. She loaned me her Ashford Traditional (made in my mother's NZ hometown, Ashburton) as well as a book, and the oil, and the little picker-thing that I know has a real name, and a Lazy Kate, and she showed me what to do with it all!

Busyangelmom asked in a comment:   What is behind this recent motivation that keeps   cropping up in all the serious knitting blogs?

For me, it's something I've always, always been drawn to, ever since I was a kid. I used to open the vitamin bottles and remove the cotton balls and spin them into thread. I would sit on the couch for HOURS doing this, never doing anything with the thread, just wanting to spin. Maybe it IS the New Zealand sheep-farm blood coming to the top, but ever since I saw a woman spinning on her Traveller at a bluegrass festival ten years ago, it's been something I haven't been able to let go of.

What I was scared of was buying a wheel and realizing belatedly that I hated spinning. Janine kind of laughed at that, I think. She was right. I love it. I'm thinking about the Traveller, myself, since I could take it to, say, bluegrass festivals. Or Lala's house. Or, you know. Just the fact that it folds. That's way cool. I like foldie-things.

It's like learning anything else, though. I'm impatient. I'm frustrated when I'm not great at it right NOW. I'm getting better, and the learning curve is steep, as everyone says. But when someone tells me a learning curve is steep, I think: Great! I'll be a master at it and spinning gossamer moonlight by Wednesday. Instead, my spinning isn't that clumpy anymore. That's the best that can be said. But look. I'll show you.

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That first ugly white thing was supposed to be yarn. I swear. Stop laughing. The second skein is a little better. The third, not any better than the second (all from Correidale top).

In the bedroom I have three little skeins of better stuff hanging drying right nowDscn82951 :

See? That almost looks like the real thing, don't you think?

I was so excited this afternoon that my first skeins were finally dry and ready to be wound into (teeny-weeny) balls.

Dscn82971

And then I had to:

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It'll eventually be a scrappy little scarf. I have to tell you, it's surprisingly soft.

I'm in love. Dude. Love.

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Comments

Woo hoo! Spinning is fantastic. And knitting with your own yarn is even better.

The Traveller does *not* fold, btw. If you want an Ashford that folds, that's the Joy. The Traveller still travels rather well, though. I put mine down flat on the back seat. It's a pain to carry any serious distance (say, from my car in the fairgrounds parking lot across several acres to the barn where I demonstrate at the spring fair), but it isn't bad at all for short distances (from, say, my car again to a school gymnasium for a spin-in).

Seriously, my favorite sweater *ever* is my first (and so far, only) sweater knit from my handspun. I love it to death.

Oh, yeah, the Joy! That's right. I knew that.... Hmmmm....
:)

I'm not laughing (or even giggling) at your yarn - I think the thick & thin is neat and it's knitting up nicely. It's yarn with character and I'm jealous because I haven't yet gotten up my nerve to try spinning. {g}

ooh very cool. i've been thinking i'd like to learn although i don't know where i'll find the time. but i need to keep an eye out for a class or something. very pretty though. makes me want to touch it.

Awesome job, Rachael! I just started spinning too -- bought an Ashford Joy and LOVE it. Your handspun looks fabulous.

I can spin !!
I honestly can't imagine anyone wanting to do it though. I did it for a job 5 summers in a row while I was working at Greenfield Village.
Once you get it you'll be away in no time !!

Rach,
I too just learned to spin. I tend to be a bit high strung (no!) and I have found it very calming. AND ADDICTIVE!
Now I am into discovering yummy yummy new fibers.
You have to play with merino roving--mmmmmmm
yay for you!!!! dance dance dance
xo reenie hanlin

Congrats! Your first yarn looks beautiful and spinning is a blast. I learned to spin at the late, great Straw Into Gold in Berkeley about ten years ago and have loved it ever since.
If you really want a folding wheel check out the Lendrum folding wheel, it's a sweet little wheel. And I would say don't buy a wheel without trying it first - they can have very different personalities!

HA! Knew you would love it :) You know what? In a few years you are going to wish you could recreate those skeins, mark my word. I have been spinning 4 years and WISH I could spin like that again, makes for some cool designer yarns! I have a Susie by Majacraft (also very cool foldy up model) and a beautiful production wheel that hails from the 1880's. Spins like a dream and I love 'her'. Keep at it, not that you will need encouragement, ha! Spinning is a serious ADDICTION!

Girl, I'm in awe! Your spinning looks pretty good to me! I've seen it done in person and it looks pretty easy but difficult (as in easy when someone who knows what they're doing is doing it but difficult if I had to do it!). I'm gonna leave the spinning to others who have more experience than me!

I took a spinning workshop in college, mostly because it was taught by the same women I had taken the year-long weaving course from the year before. I learned that I have not got the patience to spin with a drop spindle or the coordination to spin with a wheel. But it was fun anyway, and my yarn looked a lot like yours...

Awww, she's got a new expensive hobbby...thank heavens you got a raise.

all i ever wanted to do with the cotton from the vitamin bottles was stick 'em in my ears, so nope, no future in spinning for me. why should i learn to spin when i can just buy some off of you talented spinners???

i learned recently ,myself, after YEARS of wanting to. all i have is a drop spindle, a dream, and no money for a wheel. but my yarn! it looks like yarn now!!!

congrats on the new hobby.

Ah, you've seen that resistance is futile! Your yarn looks fabbo!

Sweetie, it took me DAYS to get yarn that held together! I spent those days swearing and learning to manipulate the orifice hook... You've got it DOWN! And isn't it the greatest to knit with???
Hahahahahahah!

A new spinner among us! That's wonderful! Glad that you are using/saving the first yarns, you'll never have anything quite like that again.

Hey Rachael, I'm a pretty new spinner too - had avoided for years, afraid I would buy a wheel and then hate it - just like you.
I rented a Traditional, fell absolutely in love with the whole process. Don't criticize your first yarn - doesn't it look suspiciously like Manos?
Buy yourself an ounce of cashmere roving - pet and fondle it when you feel the learning curve is too steep. Does wonders for me.
Happy spinning!!!

Spinning pill bottle cotton into thread? Too cute.

Ok, so I'm just re-learning to knit and now I want to jump right into spinning! Looks wonderful and sounds fun - enjoy! I'll be following your footsteps someday . . . . ;}

Congrats on your spinning! It looks great and it looks like that scarf is going to rock! Now you can say you spun and knit a scarf! How cool!

OK, you've inspired me to pick up my damn drop spindle again and finish off the last of my undyed Berkshires roving. Though I don't think I'll get it to look as good as yours, that last batch looks like Manos!

Yeah! You're spinning is beautiful~ so incredibly great for a beginner (said by another beginner). You must have the gene. :)

I used to spin cedar bark into string when I was little - I think your yarn looks amazing! Especially the purply goodness, because purple rocks. :)

See, it's the addictive nature of the process that I'm afraid of. That and having to find more room to stash roving. But it's gonna happen at MS&W, I just know it. And hey, we missed you on Saturday.

Hmmm..Do I need another addiction?

I love your yarn and your scarf. It looks wonderfully soft!

mad props to you, yo. i tried my hand at spinning once (admittedly, on a crappy drop spindle) and discovered it just. isn't. my. thing. i thought it would be, seeing's how i geek out on process and all, but no. so i'm in awe of you for not only being able to do it, but *liking* it. go, you!

Woo hoo! So so glad for you. I love spinning. But I've only done it on a drop spindle and I'm envying you your wheel right now. I haven't done it in a while... but seeing your sweet little scarf and the urge rears its head. Must. Get. Wheel. Yay!

I thought I spied a drop spindle & fluff in your kitty picture awhile back - do you like that, too?
Your yarn looks great. Fun stuff, eh? I just learned, myself - on a Majacraft double treadle. I like my homemade drop-spindle, too. Fun stuff!

Don't be dissing that shit, looks like Colinette Point Five to me. Cool, cool, cool. If you like traveling wheels, check out the folding Lendrum, my mommy's got one of those!

Your yarn is lovely.And that scarf is really
nice.I am a beginner,And i have an Ashford traditional wheel.I want a pipy wheel really bad.Dont know why,except they re pretty.
And this spinning is addictive.I wanted a wheel so bad,since i was a child.And id have gotten one even if i hated spinning.Just to sit and treadle an empty wheel.
But by now i think its true no one who puts they re hands to it doesnt love it.And i still use my drop spindles too.
Keep spinning
Mary

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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