What I did on at school on the weekend

by Lynne, age *mumble*

It was bright and sunny on Saturday morning. There were really interesting clouds outside. I woke up and got out of bed and got ready to go to the handweavers and spinners' guild. I was very lucky because Chocolatetrudi and Peeve gave me a weekend of summer school classes. I got to go to school in the middle of summer!

I got to the guild rooms just in time and that was good. I was to learn worsted ("wusted", like the sauce) spinning first. Worsted yarn is flat and shows off the sheen of the wool or silk or mohair. I think worsted is quite easy. It is good for control freaks like me. It involves taking locks of fleece, flicking them out and then spinning them from the tip (or the butt - ohh I got to say butt! Butt! Butt! "But but? Motor but? I do not think I like the sound of that!") whilst squishing the new yarn down and making it flat. I found it easiest to grip the fleece with the last two fingers of my right hand whilst drafting with the left. Then we got to play with wool combs.

Wool combs are big and vicious (except for my set which are small and vicious). They want to draw blood. That is their role in things. You thought it was to comb wool but I know better. None of my group fell victim to the wool combs' lust for blood. I made a very nice top to spin up. Top is also easy to spin worsted.

I think I will be able to spin lots of worsted yarn easily. I haven't got a picture of my worsted skein because it ran away and is hiding int he loungeroom somewhere.

Then we had lunch. I forgot to say on my feedback form that half an hour for lunch may not be enough time.

Next I did woollen spinning. I think doing woollen and worsted on the one day may be Too Exciting. You don't get enough time to lay down hand/muscle memory of these two very different techniques.

We used our had cards to card up some rolags. I made much better rolags than I ever have before. I used to use too much fleece. Now I know better. Downs fleece is best for woollen spun. Downs fleece comes from meat sheep and is really tightly crimped/curled/fuzzy. I carded up some downs fleece that was washed but full of VM. I carded up some downs top. I carded up some random fleece. The random fleece spun the best, the downs fleece the worst.

The hardest part of woollen spun is mastering the long draw. I made LOTS of bad novelty yarn with lumps and bumps and bits sticking out. You want fuzzy bits all along the yarn but I don't think you want as much lumpy bumpy action as I get. I guess I have to prepare the rolags more evenly or something. I am much better at worsted. I have tried to spin about 5 lots of woollen yarn so far and none of them are good, or even necessarily woollen spun. I won't show you pictures of them either.

On the way home I took a picture of the Yarra River. You can see the city in the background.

I was very tired on Saturday night. I had to spin up two bobbins of yarn ready for class the next day. I spun some blue yarn and some pink/mauve/purple yarn. After 6 hours of spinning, I slept and slept and slept.

On Sunday I was almost late. I kept trying to do woollen spinning and failing. But on Sunday we got to do different things. First we had plying class. I thought I knew how to ply. I don't count treadles or anything, I just look at the yarn. It seems that I do know how to ply. I can navajo ply too, but not everyone in our group could. I thought this was strange cos some of them have spun yarn for many years.

We did exciting plying. We did knots

We did bullions (I like bullions)

and we did snags (not the sort you put on the barbecue)

(I like the little alien antennae sticking up there)

I was cleverer than some of the people there - having two colours meant you could see the interesting plying and also I don't spin frog hair. Some of the ladies had yarn that was so fine that when it was navajo plied, it was still barely laceweight. It is hard to see the interesting knot stuff when you can barely see the yarn.

I can see that there will be novelty yarns in my future.

Our last class was carding and blending. We used our hand cards LOTS and my shoulders got sore. We made up a plate of blends and a card of blends.

I chose red and blue (of course) for my two primary colours. We blended these 50:50 and with black, grey and white fleece. Do you like the way the colours change depending on the neutral that is blended?

Then I did a blue and white mix. Again, half and half, plus 25:75, 75:25, pure colours and "hinto" colours where a teensy bit of the other colour was added. I wish I had taken different fleece colours with me cos some people had the BEST blends.

By the time we had done 90 minutes of carding, I thought my shoulders would drop off!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to my benefactors :-) I learned a LOT. I have lots more ideas for my spinning and things to make. This might not be a very good thing because I already had lots to play with and do.



  1. Wow, those colour mixes are amazing and I love the bullions best of all. What a great school!!!

  2. Sounds educational and fun!!

    I don't think I've ever seen clouds like that.

  3. Love the blends. You're right, just adding some black or white is a great idea. Must try it at home.

  4. I love your cloud pictures and your class sounds like it was a really good one. Well worth the half hour lunch.

    The yarns and carded wool you came out with are so fun and pretty.

  5. Sounds like you had a great time and learn't things.
    What a fabulous gift for the girls to give you!

  6. Sounds like you had a fantastic time - I'm so glad the pressie worked out so well (was a bit worried you'd find you knew everything already).

  7. Those colours look excellent! You did well..

    Were you able to do any knitting after all that carding?



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