Monday, January 18, 2016
on the spinning wheel
I've recently gotten back to spinning again after a few months away from it. Any extra "crafty" time I had during the fall was spent knitting to build inventory for my business so I couldn't seem to find the time or even the energy to practice my spinning. I had even moved my wheel from the living room down to my studio (which is actually more like a really nice storage room for all of my yarn and supplies rather than a working space at this point in my life) because it was starting to collect dust and get in the way during the boys' wrestling sessions.
My lovely Ashford Traveller, however, was most eagerly brought back up to the living room early last week as I just couldn't wait a moment more to get back at it. Shearing season is, after all, only three months away, and I'm still drowning in the last two years' worth of alpaca fiber.
Right now I am mostly spinning merino wool because it is an easier wool to spin since it has a longer staple length yet is still incredibly soft next to the skin. Why am I not spinning my alpaca? Well, I have, but alpaca is not as "sticky" as wool so it's a bit harder to spin. But the even bigger reason is because I cannot possibly keep up with all of the washing, drying, and carding that needs done before the alpaca can even be spun. I have a set of hand carders but they are no match for garbage bags full of fiber. One day I will purchase a drum carder, but that's not currently in our budget!
Before my spinning hiatus I did spin some merino that I ended up plying together to make a marled yarn. After plying, relaxing, and drying the yarn I ended up knitting the little hat pictured above for Lily. I was quite proud of that little hat. Quite proud indeed as it was my first item knitted from my own handspun. I can't imagine how amazing it will feel when I can do the same with my own alpaca fiber. That will truly be a COMPLETELY handmade knit!
I am currently spinning some more of the light blue merino. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it once it's spun and plied. I'm mostly just viewing these spinning sessions as practice. I did just place an order for some plain white merino as well as some wool dyed a rich berry color. I find I get bored spinning the same color for an extended period of time. Besides, once I get going, I seem to fly through those tops of wool!
I am really enjoying this whole spinning thing. I really love my wheel which, I have found, really helps when learning to spin. I knew from the moment that I "test drove" it that it was the wheel for me, having tried other models as well and having originally learned on a saxony style wheel. This wheel is a castle style, double treadle wheel. I really am quite fond of my wheel. I think she's quite beautiful. :)