Okay, so I didn’t do a lot with Tour De Fleece. Certainly not as much as I had hoped. On the other end of the spectrum my crafting classes are going very well. I have a lovely core group of ladies that are really enjoying the crafts I am introducing them to. Wet felting was a sloppy bit of fun, needle felting went off like a rocket (if you call it stabbing something a few hundred times it generates a lot of interest), and these past two weeks my ladies have taken to spinning like they were born for it.
During my Guild Meeting I managed to weave most of a towel, I have since finished that towel, woven another and a couple of coasters since I didn’t have enough warp for a third towel. I have also spun about half of my June Fiber box from Paradise Fibers. Okay, so I know most people are through their July Boxes but I don’t have that kind of crafting time.
I swear this is progress! I am still working on spinning up my 4oz of fiber straight from the roving in an attempt to create a unique piece from my June Box. While it does not look like I have made much progress, I swear it is there. I Can see my piece of fiber getting smaller and my bobbin filling up bit by bit. I do have to confess, I love my Woolee Winder. I cannot even begin to imagine trying to get even spinning while changing hooks constantly. I do realize that many people do not have any trouble changing hooks, spinning fine and doing a great job at both. I am still very excited to see this piece done so that I can work on the next. In between this piece and starting the next I will be teaching a spinning class at my public library, very exciting!
Last week I also attended the Southern Tier Fiber Arts Guild Meeting in Wellsville, NY. The ladies were all lovely and I look forward to attending again next month! This Friday I will be weaving a towel in Bradford, PA. What fun!
I received my set of Dodec Wheels from Porter Threads today. I purchased these spindle wheels for my Wooly Wednesday Workshop Series at the Public Library I work at. These are a very inexpensive version of a spinning wheel since they lack the bobbin and flyer component. There are also free plans for building your own wheel, which I lack the carpentry skills to create. I was able to buy two wheels, with four spindles and assorted parts, for less than $200. They arrived in two separate boxes taped together. Each box contained the wheel, two spindles, two drive bands, two pieces of paraffin, two crescent wrenches, and the wooden components that are easily assembled.
Since it is raining today waxing or otherwise staining these wheels will have to wait. Assembling the wheels is as easy as taking the part with the pedal putting it on the ground, take the part with the wheel and slide it into the appropriate slot in the base.
Each wheel also came with 2 spindles and two drive bands. Installing the spindles is a matter of unscrewing the rectangle of wood sticking out of the front, I am going to call it the front maiden, and installing the spindle. Finally screwing the front maiden back on.
Then before you know it, you have the spindle installed and since the bulky portion acts as your flyer to turn the spindle you have that installed as well!
Once you have the drive band stretched over the flyer piece and the wheel, hook the treadle to the drive wheel and you are ready to go.
All of this took about fifteen minutes! I cannot wait to get started spinning on the spindle wheel to see how different it is from my Ladybug!
I look forward to reporting how simple this is for my beginning students to learn this after their drop spindles.
I have made some progress on my major spin for Tour De Fleece. More importantly from my perspective, I have decided to take my time and enjoy the step I am working on. My personality is such that I am usually looking toward the next thing. The next project, the next skill, the next thing to learn, etc. This means that I do not really spend much time, if any, enjoying the step that I am on. Recently I have been reading where several spinners talk about the hours of enjoyment they have gotten from a piece of fleece/fiber. I have, for me, a large project that I am spinning toward.
Paradise Fibers sent me 8 oz of their Merino Blend in Bloom. I split that in half to perform a Monet Spin, if you’ve been following me you know this already. At present I am spinning about 4oz of the top in a straight short forward worsted spin on my ladybug. This is resulting in the finest and most consistent spin I have ever accomplished. However, instead of relaxing and enjoying this spin I am eager to get to the next step, spinning up the carded fibers. I am also eager to see what the final plied yarn will look like, I have done two ply back samples and I believe I will have either a lace weight 2 ply or a DK weight 4 ply. (it’s pretty fine)
Right now, I have spend almost three hours spinning up this first part of my fiber. I am only capable of spinning about an hour or so at a time, the fineness of this spin means that should my concentration waver too much I will lose my consistency. In those three hours, I have barely made a dent in my top. This being said, I have made a conscious decision to do my best to enjoy this time creating this yarn. Haste makes waste is very apt in this case. I am spinning a fine consistent yarn, taking my time, concentrating on how I am spinning and the results that I am obtaining will be key to enjoying this spin. At my current rate of spinning I should get another 21 hours of enjoyment from this fiber. Let’s see how it goes!
On day 3 I did not get much spinning accomplished, that darn work got in the way. However I did manage to get half of my “Bloom” roving carded up to be spun in the “Monet” way. It appeared as though for a true “Monet” spin the fiber was to be hand carded. I did do about half of this section of fiber, a quarter of the total fiber, on hand cards but the other half was done on a drum carder. I love how this fiber turned out.
As for the 4th day, I managed to begin spinning the roving from my wrist distaff as it came. This is great practice for me, not only spinning consistently, but moving across the end of a piece of top. Both skills are taking quite a bit of concentration so I can only do so for about an hour at a time. This means that this 4 ounces of fiber is going to take quite some time to spin. I fully intend to enjoy the experience to the fullest of my ability!
I promise this really is about 2 hours of spinning. There is some corkscrewing, but from my experience these things tend to work themselves out in the plying.
I received my June Box from Paradise Fibers just in time for Tour De Fleece! Their Suggestion was to spin this Bloom Roving in a manner different from how it would normally be spun by me. One of the suggestions was to spin it in the Monet style. Well I had no idea what that meant, so I had to investigate. From what I can find out, without paying for the book or article which I might do in the near future, this is a method of spinning where a top is divided in half then half is spun straight from the top and the second half is spun from a carded preparation. (rolags seemed to be what I saw). Given these parameters I finished off my bobbin from the first day, split my top down the middle and started looking at it. Half I wound onto my wrist distaff, the picture on the right, and the other half I decided I would take into work to card up. (My drum carder and hand carders are living at work until my workshop series is over).
I’ve been watching the Craftsy Video Spinning From Woolen to Worsted by Jacey Boggs Faulkner. She has some great suggestions on getting a more even yarn and how to spin more thoughtfully. Given that advice I am attempting to spin this yarn more thoughtfully and at a smaller, more consistent, diameter. My progress from Day 2 is on the bobbin. I am enjoying this spinning experience and hope that I am becoming a better spinner.
All of the notebooks look so Great! My students used their wet felted wool to create these amazing notebooks. Since there were a few issues with thin spots on their felt and a desire to add decoration I introduced some needle felting techniques to the process so that they were able to create the notebooks of their dreams!
Since our spinning class is coming up in a few weeks I decided to look into the plans available for the inexpensive ‘DODEC’ wheel. They look very easy to use if you are, or know, a woodworker. However, the gentleman that created the plans also sells the wheels already made. At $178 for his 2 wheels and 4 spindles you might think that expensive. Consider this however, an Ashford Kiwi (single drive, bobbin/flyer wheel) starts at $450. Given this information I have ordered his complete package to be sent to the Library. These are similar to the old fashioned ‘great wheels’ insofar as they use a spindle instead of a bobbin and flyer to add the twist into the fiber and to store the fiber. Honestly, for me, they are a beautiful step in between the drop spindle and a wheel, they allow the mechanics of a bobbin flyer wheel to be introduced gradually to the students instead of going from a drop spindle to this complicated looking wheel.
I do hope that they are simple to use, or at least that I can get the hang of them quickly. I will let you know when they arrive and I stain/assemble them! The link below is to the store, from there you can purchase a wheel or access the plans.