Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thick Singles

I spent last weekend at the inaugural Fall Fiber Retreat near Boyne Falls, Michigan. The retreat, nicely organized by Pip Jones and colleagues, was held at the Lake Louise Camp & Retreat Center . The lodge there is delightfully comfortable, with a good sized main room containing the requisite large fireplace. There is nothing nicer than a blazing fire on a raw and wet November evening!

On Saturday afternoon, I taught “Variations on Long Draw”. In this workshop, participants get to spin from various carded preparations, including mill carded rovings, hand carded rolags, and drum carded batts. We play with different styles of long draw and different thicknesses of the spun yarns. I especially like covering techniques for spinning thick, soft, Lopi-style singles: yarns that have just enough twist not to fall apart, but not so much twist that they bias when knitted.

I personally love spinning these yarns. They provide nearly instant gratification. You can fill a bobbin in no time, and with no plying to do, you’ve got a usable yarn right away! (Well, I do wash them first.)

I’ve had the chance to teach this “variations” workshop at several venues this year: Midwest Masters 2010
in Wisconsin (see my blog entry on Emily’s Rolags ), the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival at Rhinebeck, The Gathering 2010 in Vermont, and last weekend at the Fall Fiber Retreat.

It’s always nice to hear from students who come away with a new appreciation for spinning thick yarns. I recently got an email from one such student, Marjorie Marker, who took the workshop at Rhinebeck. Here’s her email:

“Hi Amy, I just wanted to thank you for the great long draw class. It really helped me to make stable singles. I was sitting right across from you next to the lady with the lendrum with the duct-tape. Here’s some pictures of my first attempt using some coopworth from Maple Ridge Stock Farm. Hope to see you next year.”

Here’s a picture that Marjorie sent me of her spinning success:

By the way, she got the coopworth wool from Maple Row Stock Farm, a wonderful Michigan business run by Deb and Bob Cline (517-741-7434). They do have delightful rovings. I have 2 balls of romney roving sitting on my desk right now.

And here’s a picture of the Lendrum spinning wheel that Marjorie mentioned. Would you believe that both rubber links between treadles and footmen broke during the workshop?! Duct tape to the rescue!

1 comment:

  1. What great yarn! I hope to someday be able to make some so beautiful!
    I love the duck tape. It is amazing the things that can be 'fixed' with it.