As if having an obsession for beads and more beads was not enough, and knitting and buying yarn and more yarn until my stash bag is full to overflowing, I now have a new obsession. Spinning - not that futile heavy duty static cycling exercise thing where you pedal like fury and get absolutely nowhere. No! Handspinning.
I attended a half day workshop at my friend Carol's studio in Chorlton, Manchester last weekend. First we inspected a Suffolk fleece to see which bits were best for spinning.
Then we learnt to card bits of fleece to get all the crud, dead beetles and bits of hedge out as well as straightening those curly dreadlocks.
We rolled the carded wool into rollags, which were then stretched out before spinning.
Then came the really exciting bit. Of course, if you aren't into yarn and don't have to cross the road to avoid a knitting shop just to save yourself hundreds of pounds, you won't find this exciting at all, but I know a hell of a lot of people who can talk for hours about a nubbly silk, mercurised pure cotton, baby alpaca or even camel yarn that they covet. So, the next stage was to spin the yarn on a drop spindle. This was harder than it looked as the darn thing kept spinning and unspinning until I got into a rhythm.
Finally, we all had a bit of a go on a spinning wheel. This was a little like learning to drive a car, with hand-foot-eye co-ordination going straight out of the window as the yarn whizzed through the machine's orifice faster than I could blink.
So, here's my first attempt at spinning. Truly remarkable and to anyone but me it just looks like something my cats brought in one night, but it is knittable. I have practised my carding and drop spinning technique daily for the last week and have seen a vast improvement. I no longer spin lumpy fat yarn.
Next step - a spinning wheel. I have one on order! This weekend I'm taking another course with Carol - natural vegetable dyeing. Her workshop schedule can be found at www.beetlefelt.co.uk