Today I took a drop spindle class with spinning teacher extraordinaire, Maggie Casey. It was great!
We started with what seemed like a very heavy spindle to me, the Schacht 3 oz model. We worked with some Cormo roving. Cormo is a fine wool breed, but this particular fiber hadn’t been processed ideally and it was full of nepps and veg. This made it “stickier” and a little easier for beginners to spin without dropping the drop spindle so often (yes, that’s why it’s called that). Then we moved on to some nicer stuff, which we spun in 2 batches and then plied. FINALLY I know how to proceed with plying spindle-spun yarn! It didn’t occur to me to start taking pictures until we started working with our third fiber of the day, the Louet Northern Lights top. The preparation is quite thin (not pencil thin, though) and space-dyed so there are short spans of color:It looked awfully bright to me (a classmate used the term “rainbow barf”), but once spun, it tones down quite a bit. Here are some singles on my spindle: And here is some plied yarn on the spindle (2-ply): We used a shoe box and a clothespin to turn the spindle into a bobbin (the clothespin is on the spindle hook, keeping it from escaping the box): We wound the singles onto those little rubber balls and then plied off the rubber balls onto the spindle again. Interesting!
Here are my products of the day. The white stuff is the singles that we spun first and then abandoned. The purpley-brown stuff is our first plied yarn. The the tiny skein at the bottom is the Northern Lights stuff. I only had a few minutes to start playing with another type of dyed roving, which you can see here. Believe me, it looks better spun up than not! And maybe you noticed that I asked Maggie to sign my spindle (since I forgot to bring my copy of her book to sign)… good geeky fiber fun. (Also not my idea – I copied someone else!)
Here is the master at work, demonstrating spinning with a supported spindle. See the little cup at the bottom? This spindle spun finer yarn than I’ve ever seen before. I wish I had a picture to show you. It made everything else look like rope. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m going to start training with my spindle. 15 minutes a day for 3 weeks. Then we’ll see how comfortable I am with it. Thanks, Maggie, for giving me some spindle mojo!