Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Adventures in Spinning, Part VI: A Field in Missouri

Friday arrived and I reloaded the car. It's amazing how much stuff I had to bring with me - my wheel, a basket of fiber (that's another story), my chair. That pretty much took up the entire back of the bullet car. Anyway, Judi and I got over to Memorial Hall around 8:15 a.m., and started to unload and set up. Luckily, once we were set up (Cedric and Lambchop helped), we were able to leave our wheels and everything in place for all three days. This was a great time-saver.

Tables were moved. Chairs were shifted, and I started to meet the women of Fiber Folks of Southwest Missouri, the guild that had sponsored this workshop. What an interesting bunch of women! Many of them live on working farms - a concept that is totally foreign to this city girl - and some of them have day-jobs in addition to getting up early for chores! All of them share a great love of fiber in all its forms. And all of them made both me and my friend, Judi, feel welcome and included in their group. This was shaping up to be a great time!

A Field in Missouri - I couldn't help myself! No, we weren't in a field, but Anne Field was there, in Missouri, on what was her last teaching stop before returning to New Zealand. The morning was spent on lecture and discussion about crimp. Anne also checked on the wool that some of us had brought with us to be sure it met the requirements for the workshop (it did). This particular workshop is based on Anne's book, Spinning Wool - Beyond the Basics, and if you are able to score a copy of it, it is a very great reference! The morning flew by with talk of crimp and twists per inch - pretty technical, and I was worried . . . I was the "youngest" spinner in the room, having only been at the wheel since June of this year, and I was worried that I might not be able to keep up and might not understand what she was wanting us to do . . .

After a couple of visits from the hotty bald fireman (!) to regulate the temperature in the hall, lunch was ready and we all sat down together to a spread of sandwiches and homemade soup, and of course, my favorite: chips! :-D Anyone who knows me knows I love potatoes, in all their forms. Must be my Irish heritage . . .
Soon enough, lunch was over and we did some spinning. We had three wools to work with, a coarse (mine was Cotswold, everyone else had Lincoln), a medium (Corriedale) and a fine (Rambouillet).

At the end of the day, Anne said that it had been the hardest day. She lied. :-D Saturday proved to be the hardest, as evidenced by how completely wiped we all were on Sunday!

Here are the fruits of our spinning to the crimp exercises. Coarse, Medium and Fine. Blogger wouldn't let me set them straight across, so they are vertical.

First in line is my Cotswold (actually spun on Saturday). These locks were actually like hair. Shiny, lustrous curls! You can't see the raw lock in this photo, but it had about 2 crimps to the inch. this is most coarse wool I have spun yet, and getting it to 2 twists to match the crimp was an exercise in stuffing it through the orifice as fast as I could :-D This was the second wool we worked on - first was the Corriedale.

Here is the first attempt, done on Friday afternoon. A medium crimp wool similar to what many of us spin most of the time. Corriedale. I felt pretty comfortable with this wool - it was really much more in my comfort zone (experience zone) than either of the other two we worked with. On the sheet - in case you're wondering - is the singles, then at the bottom is the plied yarn before washing and then more after washing. We calculated crimp and loft and used that information to calculate how many twists per inch were needed, and how many wraps per inch we should get. It was fascinating!

And last, but certainly not least, this is the Rambouillet. All of Saturday afternoon. A millions crimps to the inch and the finest yarn I have spun to date. OK - I'm exaggerating. This had 16 crimps to the inch and Anne told us it was the finest she had ever attempted with one of her classes! She gave us all high marks for it :-) I used my fast flyer for the first time - and discovered that it was ROUGH. No wonder it was on eBay . . . :-( Thankfully, Karen, one of the guild ladies is a collector of spinning wheels (she has 38!) and her husband fixes stuff . . . and to make a long story short, he took my fast flyer home and ground it out and fixed it!!! Yay!!!!! Thank you, Gene!!!!! I had to use my regular flyer to spin this - I never treadled so hard in my life ;-D
More to come . . .


Kris said...


I'm intimidated just looking at your accomplishments.

A :-) said...

Kris, it was amazing how much we learned. If you ever get the chance, you need to study with her!!