Last night was the monthly class I teach at Starstruck Cat Studios in Greenwood. I had three students last night and we had a lot of fun.
Let’s start with Debbie. Debbie has been in my class fro several months now, spinning on a drop spindle. Well, her husband bought her a spinning wheel for Christmas, an Ashford Kiwi, and she brought it in last night. I sat down with it, did some tweaking on it, oiled it up really well, and got her going. I started her with drafting and feeding the single into the wheel. Learning to “let go” of the yarn and let the wheel wind it onto the bobbin took a little concentration on her part, so I sat at her feet and did the treadling part with my hands so she could concentrate on her own hands. Then, once she was feeling more comfortable about that, I had her place her feet on the treadles, but not actually treadle yet. I wanted her to get the rhythm of treadling while still concentrating on her hands. Once she felt comfortable with that, I told her to begin treadling. I still kept my hands on the treadles for a while, helping when her feet faltered, but soon, she was off on her own.
We had to place her wheel against a wall because the slickness of the floor made her spinning wheel scoot away from her at every push on the treadles. I told her to go to Target or someplace like that to get those little rubberized mats that people put in the dish cabinets and to sit the wheel on that so it won’t walk away from her. But, you can see from the photo above, that she accomplished quite a bit for her first night spinning on a wheel. And her enthusiasm is so infectious. She was practically dancing when the class was over.
Caeli, my oldest and youngest student (she’s been with me since the beginning of these classes) worked more on her Polworth/angora bunny blended yarn. We had to do a little tweaking on her wheel, mostly adding oil to it. I showed her where she was starting to cause wear on the bobbin shaft where the metal was rubbing on metal. Also, I explained to her and Debbie the “grooves” on the wheel and the flyer and how adjusting the drive band on these can change the ratios of spinning and the results of each. Caeli had been given homework the last class, which she said she got done, but she misplaced the sheets and would bring them next time. But look at that lovely yarn on the bobbin. The blending of the angora with the fine wool is going to make a lovely scarf. I can hardly wait to see it because that angora is going to give a sweet halo to the yarn.
The third student was Brenda. Brenda has been with me nearly as long as Caeli. She did bring her homework with her. She had three out of the four parts done, but hadn’t had enough of the same wool to complete the fourth one, so I sent her home with more of it, plus about 4 ounces of a sweet merino for her to work with.
Sample and swatch with singles.
Sample and swatch with a two-ply yarn.
and Sample and swatch with a three-ply (Navajo ply).
The three samples taught so much. The swatch knit with singles was light and airy – perfect for something lacy. The 2-ply would make a great sweater and the three-ply would make a good sweater-coat. Brenda said she was surprised at how heavy a fabric the three-ply was.
And I have to admit, I enjoy watching Brenda spin. She has a graceful fluidity of motion that is just beautiful. Her yarn is fine and consistent and will knit up into something beautiful. I’d really like to see Brenda spin up enough for a sweater vest, one where she plans out the pattern, knits swatches to find what works for stitch definition and calculate how many yards she will need. We discussed this last night and she seemed to be open to the idea. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.