Today I had a spinning lesson in newent, run in a lovely wool shop called the wool garden. http://www.thewoolgarden.co.uk I need to assure you, that the principal of spinning as a concept is reasonably simple, take a few fibres and twist to make them stronger, constantly adding a fibre or two as they run out to make a continuous thickness…
In practice though it’s more like patting your head and rubbing your tum and tapping a tune with your foot.
Foot needs to tap to make the wheel go around. On it’s own, this isn’t specifically hard. Although you don’t want it to go too fast otherwise when you come to do the hand parts it could feel like it’s running away from you, obviously too slow and it would take a week to make much and not have enough momentum to all the way round…
You need one hand to hold the fluff and let it out, again, not so hard.
The other hand stops the twist by holding into it and making sure there’s enough twist and then letting it on the bobbin… Not that hard by itself.
However, the moment you are staring at one thing one of the others stops working right, it’s like carrying drinks, whichever hand you aren’t looking at slops.
Keeping the foot going enough to keep the wheel going, while hour hands say find a stubborn bit and remembering then to stop your foot..
Anyway, I just need to promise you, it sounds sound in theory, and fairly simple. Doing is a definitely different kettle of fish. If you twist it too much it goes a bit hard, not enough and it falls apart, but how much twist is the right amount? Good question. It’s a moving target.
So, you take some raw sheep wool, and brush it till it’s fluffy as can be, tool it up, and call it a rolag, the roll bit I get roll-ag? Meh, ok. I promise you if spinning was invented today, it wouldn’t have these names.
Once you have at least one rolag, you can look to attach it to your bobbin which you do via a leader, or, a pre done bit of wool or string, you then use a loop at the end to stuff a wisp of your fluff through, and peddle, once there’s enough twist to stop it pinging undone, you give it more fluff and let it move the now twisted bit on, and repeat.
See, sounds simple enough doesn’t it???
I do wholly recommend having a lesson, as while spinning has few absolutes, the last thing you want go do is discover you’ve been committing sins of the trade and that every spinner would shun you because you did it.
I had had a bit of a go as you may have read, but, I found it hard to believe in making the single thread fine enough, so that if plyed it wouldn’t make a tow rope for the QE2 ( big big ship)
I need to get me some carders, which it have ordered now, so, posted this before I was done, oops.
Here you see 2 rolags made by my teacher as she made them while I was spinning, and my 2 ply yarn I made today. It looks quite uneven in this photo, but I assure you face to face to looks pretty good. Even if I say so myself.