Sunday, 24 August 2008

Spinning around...........................

Ok time to confess that over the last 3 weeks under the expert tuition of Diane Mulholland I have been learning to do a bit of hand spinning.
I am addicted, there is no other way to put it. Diane very kindly offered to let me have a go with one of her many spindles. Actually no, that's not how it happened. We were at the Natural Dye Studio for the open day and Diane said you need a bag of this........


.....well I didn't want to argue so I did as I was told and bought some. It is so, so soft. I had been talking about wanting to give spinning a go but was unable to book onto Diane's recent course as I knew I was away on holiday for one of the days. Diane needs no encouragement to enable people to become spinners and I became the next immediate convert.

So not wanting to spoil the lovely roving I had purchased merely to practice with I was supplied with the loan of a spindle and some fibre that Diane gave me.

Attempt number one.......



See at least one piece wasn't too bad. At least I know I can spin that thick, slubby yarn!

By now I already had some of the vocabulary under my belt too such as drafting and plying. My next aim was to get things a little less on the chunky side and more even.

Next was an additional session on my break from knitting hats at the Innocent Village Fete, where Diane provided me with yet more practice fibre.

Attempt number two.......



It was certainly improving and getting more even but I was finding the spindle a little on the heavy side to try and get a finer thread (what I mean was it kept breaking because I was drafting it too thinly).

So after a few emails backwards and forwards I had ordered these two little lovelies.....(purchased at P&M Woolcraft)



and two 500grm bags of undyed tops from Andy at, one was a lovely bag of the best ever British Merino and a bag of Bluefaced Leicester as was recommended to practice with. All arrived just in time for leaving for the Lakes for my holiday.

Well the problem is I have already got ideas well beyond my spinning capabilities so while away, as it doesn't count as stash as it is not yet truly yarn I made the following purchases...........


A 500grm bag of Alpaca fleece, which I now know needs washing before I can do anything with it.


A book on spinning, 2 bags of hand dyed merino tops and 2 bags of Mohair tops and 28 grms of Cashmere. I don't even know if spinning these fibres is any different. I have a lot to learn but I am looking forward to every minute of it.

I have also found myself looking at the adverts for spinning wheels and I am sure it is now only a matter of time before I come to own one.

So if you are now inspired to have a go at spinning and you live in the London area why not book one of Diane's courses. You can find them on the Socktopus website or visit Diane's blog Needles on the move where you can see what she has been up to and what she will be up to next. Diane is also going to have a series of downloadable spinning tutorials so even if you aren't in London you can benefit from her expertise.

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