Friday, July 29, 2011

New Spinner

My 10 year old SoCal Grandgirl is visiting for a bit, with her brother. Inspired by the main character in the MG Fantasy, she asked to learn to spin with a drop spindle. So we had a lesson as soon as she got out of the pool. The girl is a natural- she caught on to the motion and rhythm almost immediately, which thrilled us both.

A few years ago, I went through a spindle-making phase and I still have a lot of cut and shaped, unassembled spindle parts on hand, so she went through the whorls for a spindle of her own. Of the whorls that were heavy enough for a new spinner, she chose a lovely Bocote whorl.
She sanded it herself, and then we assembled it together. After waiting all night for the varnish to dry, she began to spin the next morning with her very own spindle.
She did a remarkably good job. The first spindle of yarn was thick and uneven (like all first yarns), but by the second shaft-full, she was making a fairly even sportweight yarn! I told her that it took me a lot longer to get the hang of spindle spinning.

Tonight, we plied the two spindles to a third. Even Ms. New Spinner could tell that plying on a spindle is a pain. But she persevered, and here is her very first handspun yarn!

I let her choose from my stash, and she selected a braid of lovely dyed merino/mohair for her next yarn. She has pre-drafted a bunch of it, and her first merino singles look very good. She's already asking about trying the wheel, but I want her to be more comfortable with what her hands and the spindle are doing before we throw feet into the mix. However, I have a feeling that when we get the wheel out, she'll be up to the challenge.