March 13, 2011
I have been busy with quite a few things of late. I actually took up spinning again. This came about quite innocently enough through a Spin Along in the Backstrap Group in Ravelry. I have had so much fun with Ravelry and the wonderfully " warped" folks there, lol. I have even made some on-line friends. Quite the blessing, considering I really still don't have many friends here in Georgia.
But I digress...again.
One of my new friends known as popsicletote belongs in a couple of the groups I also belong to. Inkle and backstrap to be sure. She is involved in the Inkle Weave Along and the Andean Pebble weave in the backstrap group also. Thus we go onward into the Spin Along.
Just cruising around and reading one morning I stumbled her her profile and found that she makes her own hand whittled spindles...ALL kind of spindles. I contacted her to ask if she sold them. They have a very rustic look to them and I simply had to have one. Turns out she doesn't sell them, she gifts them. I am now the proud owner of the coolest spindle I own to date. It is a Turkish spindle and it is very light compared to my others. This might be why I have had so much trouble with my cotton spinning...duh...ya think?
My cotton is from GA (just a coincidence that I live here) and is of course short staple. When I say short, I mean VERY short. And I have TONS of it. So since I was having so much trouble spinning it without carding, I gave in and started carding and making puni's. If you are unfamiliar with puni's they are little rolls of cleaned and carded fiber. Mostly called puni's in places like India they are sometimes called Rolag's here in America. Anyway, I started carding and making them as I watched television, or while helping Dana in tapestry class. I wanted to weave myself a shoulder shrug of some sort. Past tense.
Now I have decided that I want to spin for warp face weaving. A horse of a much different color. When I picked up my spindle again I still had a difficult time. Now keep in mind that I have plenty of commercially processed cotton I could use. But that is not what I want to do. I also feel that it is important if I am to offer to teach this ancient craft, I should know how to process the fiber start to finish.
Thus, more reading and such on Ravelry which lead to my new friend. I received my new spindle yesterday. I jumped right on it too. I already had some cotton spun and had been told that it needed to be spun a second time so that it would hold up to the abrasion caused by warp face weaving. So I did. If you take a look at the pictures below you will see that it has little arms. You wind the spun fiber onto these arms in a fashion that afterward is a center pull ball of yarn. You simply slide the arms up off the center piece...then slide the arms out. Wala! Center pull. No winding off of the spindle and then into another skein, or ball or hank. Cotton is kinky when it is newly spun and that rewinding was always a hassle. So not only is the spindle perfect...it cuts down on the other work involved for storage. LOVE IT. It has the added benefit of being able to come apart if you want to take it around with you in a small bag. Very portable, even more so than most spindles, which are admittedly very portable. Especially when compared to a spinning wheel.
So then, after re-spinning it, I plied it. I took one end from the center, the other from the outside, and spun it in the opposite direction it was originally spun to make a plied cotton yarn. AWESOME, if I do say so myself. Turns out I am not as bad with the cotton as I originally thought. Very nice surprise, and I am on my way to being able to use my own yarns in my warp face bands.
Here is a picture. I must say it is the simplest things that bring me the most joy. Thank You so much popsicletote!