Saturday, May 3, 2008

All Sheep Go To Spinning Heaven

I've finally pulled myself together enough to tell you about spending three days in spinning heaven. Seriously.

The Weaver's Guild of Greater Cincinnati had Judith McKenzie McCuin all to itself for three whole days. I was one of sixteen students for her class on Exotic Fibers. We spun it all! We had several types of cashmere, 3 types of yak, bamboo, several forms of silk, alpaca, angora, hemp, and naturally colored cottons. We had SUCH a good time.

In addition to the different fibers, we also learned to use different methods of spinning. She taught us to spin worsted, semi-worsted, semi-woolen and woolen, as well as several novelty yarn methods.

At the beginning of the class, I couldn't see how I could possibly spend 7 hours a day spinning for the next three days. At the end of the class, I just wanted it to go on for another week.
Judith is quiet and low-key in her Canadian way, but at the same time quite authoritative and opinionated ... and the breadth of her knowledge is simply breathtaking. She seems to know everything there is to know about fiber and spinning. And she was so patient with all of us.
I tried to put in a short video of Judith teaching us to ply three yarns together, but I couldn't get it to upload. Sorry.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the class as much as I did. I was so inspired that I ran out and bought half a pound of cotton so I can practice the long draw technique she taught us. She said if you can spin a pound of cotton, you'll have mastered the long draw. I'm starting with half a pound, but even that shows a lot of faith in her. I HATE to spin cotton.

I got several naturally colored cottons from Mielke's and I'm trying to spin long draw. It's like I'm starting all over again. The yarn is so irregular and often breaks because of too little twist (even though I'm pedalling as fast as I can). But Judith says (I can see this will be my mantra for the next few weeks), you know you're doing it right if it breaks and is difficult to restart. Do I need more stress in my life? Apparently, yes.