29 April, 2009

first skein

That’s the very first skein I spun. Isn’t it cute? Came from a Historic Folk Toys drop spindle kit I bought on a visit to Plimoth Plantation. I brought the kit unopened to the December 2008 meeting of my guild, the second meeting I’d attended. Lisa kindly got the leader on the drop spindle, predrafted the roving, and got me going. It was great. I had to park the drop spindle on my lap while I drafted—this lasted for most of the whole ounce of fibre while I got the hang of managing the spin—but I felt that was to be expected. Everyone commented on what nice fibre it was and I left the meeting well pleased, to finish up the rest of the roving at home.

Plying presented some problems. The guild’s copy of Judith MacKenzie McCuin’s Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning showed how to wrap a centre-pull ball on an empty toilet paper tube. Lisa had had me weigh my roving and divide it in half, with the aim of spinning two equal balls of singles.

I made two balls of singles. Equal? No. The balls were not the same yardage, since the gauge of my spinning had changed over time, so I was left with a fair bit of the longer single leftover as waste.

The balls of singles didn’t have a lot of mass to pull again my plying, so I put them in plastic tubs with the lids slightly open. The fix got me going, but wasn’t a great solution.

A tensioned lazy Kate would have solved the second problem. I felt a Kate was more for spinning on a wheel where the singles were already on a bobbin. I was looking for a solution that suited hand spindles. I was looking for the Andean plying method, but didn’t know it yet.

And that is the story of my first skein.

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