Drop Spindles and Fluff

Drop Spindles and Fluff

Photo-Take-Outter Fridays have been thin lately… because I’ve been busy photo-take-outting. I’ve got a cool thing or two buried in the gigs and gigs of RAW files that are clogging up my mac. I’ve also been bouncing around on weird hours between the west coast and Toronto and let me tell you folks; When you live in Toronto, Vancouver should never be considered a day trip.

Shall we talk about something else then? How about spinning? I took my first ever spinning class last Saturday afternoon at the Purple Purl. Our instructor was the wonderful Leslie Ordal who took us through getting the wool ready, thinning it out, spinning it and finally plying it into something that might resemble yarn if you closed one eye, squinted with the other, took some acid and had never seen yarn before.

We learned the difference between roving and ‘top’ – this, to my surprise, is not roving. It’s much nicer.

Tito took part in the spinning as well, to the amusement of his friends. Not surprisingly, he also turned out to be better at it. I know you’re thinking ‘what a good sport’ but really, he was interested in spinning before I was. True story.

Leslie is a great instructor, laid back, friendly and patient. I’ll definitely be trying another class with her just as soon as I’ve got enough practice under my belt that my skeins don’t resemble sheep with dreadlocks.

We bought some more (top? roving? let’s just say fluff…) I plan on getting much better at this before tackling these two lovely shades which I will ply together and knit a brag-worthy hat from someday.

Here is the spindle that inspired me to start.

Gifted to me by my penpal at the convent in Boston this ‘drop spindle’ is from the holy land. It’s a stick, with a nail through the top. Its got a skein of camel hair wound around it. The Bedouins in the desert have done it this way since time out of mind.

As Leslie pointed out, spinning is ancient. Humans have been spinning for the entirety of civilization. Sticks and fluff and a couple of wooden knitting needles and you’ve got mittens. One of the reasons I love fibre arts is that it’s so low tech, which is refreshing when you work with computers all day.

It’s like pottery that way – it’s an ancient art of simple tools that allow me to take something from lump of mud to delicate vase, and there is something deeply satisfying about that.

At her suggestion, Tito and I are trying to spin for about 15 minutes a night.  It’s getting just a little better each time. It’s actually pretty relaxing and to my amazement,  the difference in skill is noticeable!

Now… where on earth will I put a wheel?