ALSO......I have started a podcast. My first episode was in July, and I just uploaded Episode 2 last week. You can find the podcast and show notes here and it is also available for free download on iTunes. Just type in Spinsterknits in the search bar and you will find it.
Since returning home I have made some new friends at a fiber festival I attended in the beginning of October. I now meet with the ladies every Monday night for spinning and socializing. They all spin on a wheel, but sadly I am still a spindle spinner until I am able to purchase my own wheel. I did test a couple at the festival though. I am really liking the Ladybug wheel.......ALOT!
One of the girls I spin with on Mondays has the book "Intertwined - The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning". You can find it here I was able to browse it briefly on 2 occasions and finally decided to request it from my Library. It came in on Thursday and I am in Total and Complete Love with this book. Some of the yarns and projects are a little too OUT THERE for my taste, but the techniques are fantastic. I am still reading the book and all the different step by step details of each technique, but the book is designed with the Spinning Wheel in mind and not really the drop spindle. I am determined that I can spin just as many interesting and unique yarns on the drop spindle as can be spun on the wheel so I opened up the book, pulled out my wools, fibers,bits and pieces of handspun yarns,and my hand carders and went to work making some CRAZY BATTS as described on pgs 64-67.
Basically, for the yarn pictured (total yield= 93 yds in 3 skeins), I made 22 mini crazy batts by loading one carder with some grey wool (my mother bought it at a festival as a mill carded batt and she has no clue what the fiber is, the farm she bought it from raises Icelandic sheep and Llamas, so its a 50/50 guess as to what it is), and then I laid out bits of leftover pieces of handspun yarns from other projects in green, teal, pink and orange. On top of that I added pieces of hand dyed yellow and watermelon colored German Angora, and then topped that off with some hand dyed light blue Corriedale wool. Then I hand carded the mass onto the empty carder and then onto the other carder before pulling it off and rolling it up, ready for spinning. The idea is to lightly card the fibers so that they retain their lumpy, bumpy,unmixed textures. Then you spin it up fast with minimal drafting allowing the fibers to clump and shape into a thick and thin kaleidoscope of color. To finish I plied the yarn with a silver metallic crochet thread. I really like the end result and have already made some sketches for a new pattern I am designing especially for this yarn. I will be working on that project this week.
Now,some tips on the spinning process. Because you are spinning these batts up with minimal drafting it takes a little time to get the feel for the technique. A wheel will continue to spin as you treadle, but the spindle doesn't spin as long when you are barely drafting and basically overspinning the fiber. You have to keep a closer eye on the spindle so it doesn't change direction and undo all your hard work, and it is easier when you wind on every 12 inches or so instead of spinning until your spindle touches the floor. I spun up all 3 skeins in just a few hours. They were much faster to complete then I expected.
I will definitely get some pics and maybe even some video of the entire process for anyone who is interested in a step by step demonstration of how I made this yarn.
Over the next 2 weeks I plan to try out several more techniques in this book with my drop spindle to see how they turn out. Even though some of the projects are a nothing at all like items I would actually wear or yarn I would actually use, this book is a MUST HAVE on my Christmas list because the techniques can be used to make a wide variety of yarns to fit any person's style.