Monday, 2 March 2009

A Guild Meeting

Having recently purchased a spinning wheel, it only seemed right to finally take the plunge and visit the local Spinning Guild. Accompanied by my friend Jess we took our drop spindles and fibre and set off for a meeting in Rode. As first timers and complete wheel novices, we felt that spinning wheels could wait for another day, especially as I haven’t managed to fix mine yet.

On arrival, we discovered the hall filled with spinners working at their wheels. We were also advised that half the members were attending a workshop in the back room. It was very pleasing to see it is a well attended Guild. As newbies, we were warmly welcomed and one of the members, Rosemary, kindly showed us the basics of spinning.

She supplied us with a lock from an unwashed fleece and had us prepare and spin it by hand so we could get a feel for the behaviour of yarn. I found this very useful, even though I have been doing some spinning; it gave a real feel for slipping the yarn. It was definitely felt more intuitive than using the commercially prepared tops I have been spinning. Based on Jess’s first attempts with her drop spindle, I do think this is an exercise that is totally worthwhile. Afterwards, Rosemary kindly ran through maintenance and set up of a spinning wheel, which was informative and will help me as I fix my wheel and give it a general overhaul.

Unfortunatley Jess couldn't stay for the afternoon session. It was a real shame as Anne Lane, another member, showed a range of fleeces together with skeins spun using wool from a variety of rare and common breeds. The main emphasis of her talk was decorative yarns.

The samples passed around comprised a wide variety of decorative yarns including slubs, pompom, tuft and striped yarns. As she sat there, Anne carefully made a range of batts and proceeded to demonstrate long draw technique. This made my jaw drop in amazement at the range and quality of the yarn she produced and I never recovered as she ran each technique through her wheel. She then demonstrated tuft yarn using neps raised when spinning long draw.

Finally Anne placed two bobbins of hand spun silk in two handmade lazy kates (of the shoebox and knitting needle variety) and started to spin knotted silk yarn. Carefully stopping the silk from winding onto the bobbin she passed the right hand silk back and forward over a short portion of the left hand silk, forming an elongated knot. Once this was completed the silk was allowed to wind on slightly before repeating the process with the left hand silk forming the knot.

All too soon the meeting came to an end. As a new member of the Guild I can't wait for the next meeting.

Sorry there are no photos of the lovely yarns.

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