My First Spinning Class

  All this week, I’ve been on pins and needles, waiting for my spinning class this Saturday. I (as usual) fell through the shop door with a torn paper bag full of sweater pieces under one arm and a bag with my t-shirt sleeve and a camera and a notebook and some pens and $2.

 Pat had several Ashford wheels out in the front of the store already and took me and…and…oh, gosh, I think another Pat to the back of the store to give us some fibers. For clarity’s sake, Pat is the owner of the yarn store, and I will call my classmate Patricia. (The other person signed up for the class broke her wrist, unfortunately!) Patricia aquired some alpacas and so wants to learn to be able to use their fiber!

Pat pulled out a few spindles just to show us some basics of drafting. I’ve had some experience with a spindle, but I reaquainted myself with it. Patricia had never used one, so they practiced together.

Once again, my efforts produce a lumpy yarn, but I didn’t feel too frustrated. After all, this IS a spinning class, I’m here to learn.

To start, we practiced our treadling on single-treadle Ashford Traditionals.

 It took a little time for me to build an even rhythm. It helped to watch the, uh, lever things that push the wheel—those things attached to the treadle. Yes, I am still very ignorant.

 After me and Patricia practiced our treadling, Pat brought out a double-treadle wheel and I volunteered to try it right away. I knew immeaditely that I like double-treadle wheels the best. It was much easier to build a smooth rhythm of spinning. Here’s me, practicing my treadling on a Ashford double.

The class runs from 2-4 and most of that afternoon, I spent pulling broken yarn through the orifice with the orifice hook. See at first, my yarn was very thick and lumpy. But then I started to spin very thinly, but I wasn’t adding enough twist. Finally, after working and working and fixing and fixing, this is what I had.

 Towards the end, I really started to sense why people spin. It was very soothing; the blend of concentration and sensation was unique.  I cannot wait for the next class. I could rent a wheel but I am too afraid to bring it home, at least as this point, so I’m probably going to practice in the store.

 In the meantime, these are the fibers that Pat gave to both of us. This is some merino, which I think we will be cleaning.

 This is Black-Faced Scottish sheep roving. It has a great bounce, although it is more coarse, to make a good beginner’s roving.

And then we have some absolutely filthy merino roving that we will be learning how to clean. It’s full of dirt, lanolin and little bits of damaged wool to pick out.

 I think it’s a sign of how far gone that I am that I think it will be fun to clean up a clump of filthy animal hair!


July 13, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , . Knittin' Porn, spinning.


  1. jinniver replied:

    Oh, yeah. If you get excited by that last picture, you’re a goner. 🙂 I’ve been looking forward to this post–you’ve been so excited about it that I knew it was going to be fun to read.

  2. Aunt Kathy replied:

    I can’t believe that is what the yarn looks like before it gets to me? The spindles remind me of sleeping beauty, I’ve never seen one for real

  3. Kathy replied:

    I love your posts and envy your spinning adventure. I can’t wait to see more.

  4. Vivian replied:

    that all looks so exciting! can’t wait to see all the lovely yarn you’ll spin!

  5. rainin9 replied:

    Haha, I can’t wait to see the yarn that you spin out. Great pictures, your classes sound so fun. 🙂

  6. AJ replied:

    I was totally with you until that last picture. I look forward to seeing the end result of that dirty merino. Right now it looks like something my aunt’s cat coughed up. Your class sounds like a lot of fun! Too bad I don’t live in WV!

  7. Sonja replied:

    OMG I know that store. It’s not far from where I live. We (my knitting group) sometimes go there on a field trip.

  8. yarnardent replied:

    Wow! I am so glad you are enjoying your class. You will improve quickly in no time at all.

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