My adventures in the world of handspinning

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First steps

The next exciting part of my spinning journey is, of course, learning to how to spin!
A bit scary though, the land of the unknown, so I watched some youtube videos and Craftsy classes and learnt so much... and discovered how much there is to learn about spinning; there is grafting, s- and z-twist, plying, not to mention roving, comb top, sliver, draw, fold and much more!! Now I was even more concerned about my ability to master this craft!!
In Foundations of Spinning, Amy suggested some spinning games, one of which was to practise with yarn that is already spun, pretending to spin but basically just treadling and feeding it through onto the bobbbin.
About the time that I watched this class, I came across this 'cushion cover' that never was... I started crocheting it years ago but it got way out of shape and I never did anything more with it.
I decided to unwind it onto a bobbin, which does seem kinda backward but it felt like I was doing something worthwhile!
The extra special thing (to me) about this wool is that it is the same yarn used by my hubbie's grandmother to knit baby blankets for us when we were expecting our first baby - he was born nearly 29 years ago :-) After Nana had given them to us and she'd told us where she'd got the wool from I hunted some out. It seemed like the closest thing to 'homespun' wool that I'd ever come across at that stage - it came on hanks and it SMELT like sheep - it also had that lovely lanolin feel to it!! We got it from a local Emporium so I have no idea of its history, but it was a good price - another bonus. It's a fairly coarse wool but strong and has washed up nicely; and survived at least 4 babies (not all mine!) and years of storage.
The original, and inspiring, blankets.
Made by Nana Hilda Williams, 1986.
Any way back to the wayward crocheted cushion. Here it is (below), just about all 'spun'. I got 4 bobbins off it, that's a lot of wool by my reckoning!

Looks impressive doesn't it, if only this was proper handspun (by me) wool!
What was really exciting was that something happened with the last bobbin...all of a sudden it seemed to flow really nicely and I felt like I got into a really good rhythm...with some fibre arriving soon in the post, I felt like maybe I was ready to start doing the real thing!
But that of course, is another story!
Thank you for reading along,
Raewyn, a spinningfarmgirl.

Friday, May 22, 2015

First post of a new spinner!

I'm very excited to be finally learning to spin and have decided to document my journey - or will it be adventures? - through this blog.
I've been blogging for a while over at I'm starting this blog so I can write in a slightly different way and to avoid subjecting my quilty followers to wooly posts.
I'd like to connect to other spinners through this medium - if you're in this category, welcome!!
(This photo was from the trade-me auction site.)
I bought my Ashford Traditional about 6 weeks the New Zealand on-line trading site, trademe. I've since read that it is recommended that you try a few different wheels before you buy! However for me the deciding factor was the brand - Ashford has a good name (and honestly at that stage was the only one of any note that I knew!), a friend of mine had an Ashford Traditional and is really happy with hers. This one was affordable and within picking up distance from where I live. Good reasons to me, I figured!!
The drive to pick up my 'new' wheel was interesting ... the location on trademe was Kaikohe, a small town about 50 mins from home, heading north the back way. However, I then had to travel another 30-ish minutes to Horeke, some of it on a metal road through pine forests ... I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive, I've driven the Managakahia Rd to Kaikohe plenty of times but don't think I 've ever been to Horeke.
The little known Horeke, in the Hokianga Harbour.
The seller was a lovely lady living in the bush, self sufficient for power...she'd only had the wheel about a year and had decided she didn't have the time to learn. The woman she'd bought her wheel off liked to work on preloved spinning (and weaving?) gear, restoring them and selling them to new homes. I was delighted when I saw my wheel, it still looked lovingly restored and was ready to spin!
Jargon I don't yet understand tells me my wheel is a single drive with a seperate drive band and Scotch tension. I looked up on Ashford's website and discovered the wheel is the same vintage as me, from the 60's, I won't be putting any bets on who will age the best!!
I think this is enough rambling for one day...thank you for reading along. I do hope you will come back for more of my journey :-)
Raewyn, a spinningfarmgirl.