Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Learning to Become Better - SpinU Intensive on Woolen Spinning

Several months ago, Sandy from Purlescence Yarns pinged me. Would I be interested in taking a 6-week intensive class on woolen spinning?

You betcha! I love, love, love, love woolen spinning and I want to get better at it. The woolen yarn I create is lovely, warm, and very airy.

Woolly Mutant

One of my very favorite handspun, handknit sweater is made out of woolen yarn.

Gretta's Sweater 3

But I want to get better at woolen spinning. Sandy is an amazing teacher and this class was going to be an opportunity to become a better woolen spinner.

The first class was going over the basics. Some students hadn't spun woolen yet, and some had.  I usually have a problem starting a woolen draw, which usually end in a lot of cursing and wasted fiber until I get into a groove. There is a fine line between ensuring that enough twist can get into the fiber so it won't fall apart and too much twist where the fiber breaks. On my own, it can be hard to determine this fine line.

Sandy went over some of that information including some basic exercises -- short forward draw, short backward draw, supported draw, and a few other draws with which I was not familiar. She showed how we could use these different draws to learn woolen. These exercises really helped me start woolen spinning a lot faster than normal, with less cussing and less waste of fiber.

love learning new things!

As per usual, we got some homework --
  • spin a woolen single yarn and to set the twist (but not to full). This would help determine what our "natural" spinning tendencies, in regards to WPI.  I ended up with a 28-30 WPI skein, which is about a fingering weight yarn.
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  • spin two bobbins of woolen spun yarn to to make a short sample 2-ply skein during class.
I'm really looking forward to the rest of the 6-week class and see how my spinning technique progresses.