14 May, 2009
I have no idea what my fifteenth ever skein is made from. Wool, we'll guess. 2 ¼ oz of wool.
A friend gave me this fibre and a 1 ½ oz Schacht top whorl drop spindle. She had come by them accidently and realized how they were used once she saw me using my bottom whorl drop spindle.
Here I am using it at a Sheep to Shawl where my guild did demonstrations. I am trying to convince a knitter to visit one of our regular guild meetings and become a hand-spinner.
You can see a closer picture of the spindle and the yarn in singles in my post Cedar Dreams.
The spindle spins longer, I think, than the others I use.
The day I got the fibre and Schacht spindle, I tried them out while I was standing and chatting with another friend who had her young daughters with her. The girls were very interested. As a reward they got to take the spindle and fibre home for a week and try spinning under their mother's supervision, which is cool.
The older daughter said she would like to have a spindle. I told her, for your birthday tell your parents you want a sheep. Then, when you tell them you don't want a sheep after all, your parents will be so relieved they will agree to get you a spindle.
The one thing with young children spinning is the potential for wasted wool and regret over the waste. I expect that even seven to twelve-year-olds, who can hold a pencil and write quickly, would need considerable practice to produce a consistent strand and they would waste fibre in the process.
Even if you grew cotton in the garden, making it pretty much free, you would waste some. Worse, you would likely set kids up to get discouraged over spinning because cotton is a short fibre that works best spun fine with a tight twist.
If I was going to send a spindle and fibre home with a child again to use, I would make sure the fibre was not particularly expensive and good for a beginner (medium staple wool, neither too slick nor the opposite, good to spin thick) so I could tell the parent the child was allowed to burn through it all without regret.
Another thing I would do, if I could, would be to arrange for the child to watch a drop spindle in use for quite a while. Someone told me her experience: she tried drop spindling, couldn't, spent a couple years sitting next to someone drop spindling at their children's sports practice, tried to spin again, and could.
My Grannie is a nonagenarian, close to a centarian. She says people were always knitting when she was a child. No one ever taught her directly. She picked up the skill because it was around.