Saturday, October 11, 2008

spinning out of control

i got a new wrinkle on my brain today.

for a while now, i've toyed with the idea of learning to spin (yarn that is, not a stationary bike to a remixed beat), but i've never gotten around to it. not so today. i found my way to A Weaver's Yarn, where the owner helped me figure out how to get my mind around turning beautiful batts of fiber into plied yarn with the help of an equally lovely piece of wood. i mean, what could be better than hand knitting a sweater for someone you love, other than spinning the yarn to make a hand-knitted sweater for someone you love? a no-brainer, really.

ok, this is what i learned.

that thing is spinning, even if you can't tell. i'm drafting fibers and spinning them into yarn - a chunky, home-spunny looking yarn, but yarn nonetheless! and my teacher reminded me that some people pay a lot of $$ for homespun yarn (just like my crazy curly, mind-of-its-own hair, i thought - some people actually pay $$ to make their hair fall in ringlets while all i've ever dreamed of is shiny straight locks...but i digress)

here's what i learned: every fiber has a staple, the natural length of the fibers that make up the roving, which is the big cottony thing that you spin into yarn. i also learned that you have to keep an eye on the hook at the top of the spindle, which likes to let go of your newly made yarn when you're not looking. you can spin the spindle in either direction - you just have to be consistent. however, as with everything yarn related, old wives' tales reign. apparently, counter-clockwise spinning can lead you to inadvertedly cast spells, which can make people suspect you to be a witch and get to thinking about burning stakes. i happen to spin clockwise it turns out, but my teacher spins counter-clockwise, so she says that she just remembers to think happy thoughts while spinning so that if any spells fling out unexpectedly, they'll be good ones. i think that's an excellent plan.

you know, i've knit many, many yards of yarn without really spending much time thinking about how this yarn was spun or plied. spinning only a few yards, as i did today, and trying to make it look even is HARD. really hard. i'm not sure i'll ever escape really appreciating this aspect of my yarn again!

i'm also sure that i'll eventually get to a place where i can think happy thoughts while spinning along, instead of the current $&%#* thoughts that zing around my brain as the spindle hook lets my yarn go and i try to convince my fingers that they're really ARE fingers and not the 8 thumbs they're acting like.

thank goodness i spin clockwise...


Theresa said...

Hey! I love the new header and all the knitting pics. Now you'll be spinning up a storm, too. I've been away too long.

Anonymous said...

I took a weaving class in college. We had to spin some yarn. I remember being amazed by how impossible it felt.

carabou said...

SO the next Knitters for Obama fundraiser is at your place?