Monday, 2 April 2012

The Dynamics of a Spinning Day

Last Saturday was spent in Prescot, which is a little town 8 miles east of Liverpool, it has a rich history of spinning and weaving and an enthusiastic group of Prescotian who are keeping that history alive.

We were in the Space to Create shop which is the hub of all things Prescot, in the window of all places so hats off to the ladies who learnt to spin, which lets face it is hard enough, with an audience, some staring through the shop window, some popping in and asking what was going on. 

Spinning, as we know is a lot like rubbing your tummy, patting your head, hopping and doing the funky chicken at the same time.  Would you really like an audience?  So well done Jane, Rita and Ann who all ended up with skeins of beautiful yarn

Well done ladies, you were real troopers!  And, this is just the start of things,  some of the ladies will be spinning at Prescot Elizabethan Fair so if you live in the area, it might be worth a visit.

One of the things I come across regularly when teaching is the surprise that many students have that learning to spin is so difficult, especially when they've mastered lots of other textile skills.  It does take a little while for the penny to drop, I've only known one person to sit down and spin straight off with no trouble (and she was a 19 year old student with no interest in anything textiley, sickening eh).  I think she got up and then carried on with her law degree never to give spinning another thought.

Most people take at least a couple of hours to get to be able to treadle (use the pedal)  and draft (allow the fibres to spin).  Some people need someone else to treadle for them for a while.  I've found that age isn't a determiner either to whether you pick it up quickly so don't let that be a factor.

We try and make things as easy as we possibly can, using a fibre that is a medium staple, like  Bluefaced Leicester.  It's well known as a good fibre for beginners to learn with.

Now that's a Roman nose!

Having lots of breaks can help too, when you are learning to spin, there are many new things that your brain is going to have to learn together, remember how long it took to drive a car and not have to think of clutch accelerator, mirror, gear change before you did them?  So your mind will be tired and need a bit of a break.  Be kind to yourself and don't expect too much.

Another thing that I've noticed is that after lunch, you might forget EVERYTHING.  This isn't unusual so don't become frustrated, it's all par for the course.  Stick with it! At around 2pm, you may experience  a little bit of a slump and think the day will never end!  Then just when you think you're not going to get it, you have two bobbins and you'll be ready to ply.

Believe me, you will love your finished skein of art yarn - take it home and frame it!  You will see a marked improvement with your second skein, your mind having had time to take in all the new skills it's learned, but that first skein, you should love that forever!

If you fancy having a go at spinning, I'll be at Knit-Wise in Ormskirk on the 14th April, 12th May and 16th June, come along and join in the fun.  Here's my facebook page or call the shop on
01695 580 590

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