I have spent all week spinning. My results have been a little mixed – there is not a consistent thickness to what I am producing, but I am very excited. The soundtrack to my spinning goes ‘concentrate, concentrate, no, don’t do that, DON’T… Thunk… Damn’.
Sometimes I say even ruder words.
The difficulty with drop spindling is that it’s like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head a the same time. To produce good wool you really need to have a consistent speed on the spindle and ensure its always going in the one direction. Having hung the spindle from your fluff, set your spindle spinning you then need to use both hands to ‘draft’ (get me – that’s a technical term) the fibre into a piece thin enough to allow down onto the twisting ‘wool’ so it gets twisted and turns into wool as well. So the twist runs up the fibre twisting it tight.
The problem is while you’re concentrating in your hands, your spindle has slowed, stopped spinning and is now starting to spin in the opposite direction, turning the wool back into fibre at which point it all falls apart, drops to the ground and rolls under the sofa , liberally applying purple fluff all over your carpet (and picking up an equal amount of dog hair and differently coloured fluff from the regularly hoovered floor). Progress is not exactly fast. And there are lots of lumps from when you get distracted in re spinning the spindle and let too much fibre through.
Apparently the lumps make it more attractive and unique.
So I got two whole spindles full through and rolled into mini-balls and the next step was to ply them together
This involved hooking them both onto the spindle and trying to hold onto them while dropping both threads onto the spindle while spinning it in the opposite direction, so they are twisted together. Well that was never going to work – within seconds one had escaped and was running loose all over the floor – much to the dogs delight. So having twisted the threads together, it only took another day to get it skeined round the back of a chair. I ended up with this.
It actually looks like wool! You can see the thick and thin and lumpy bits, but it looks more cute than when it was just one strand. I was so excited. I wanted to knit it straight away. But there was still one more step – get it wet to set the twist (so it doesn’t unravel when you start to knit it) and then dry it.
So far this has taken about six days. It finally looked like this.
In an hour and a half I had knit it up into this.
It is the most gorgeous, soft, beautiful thing because of the work that has gone into it. I am totally proud.
I am a bit worried that if I am going to do much of this it’s going to take six days to keep me knitting for an hour and a half. It’s never going to work.