Inventing the Wheel

I know what you've been thinking:  What ever happened to all that blather about spinning?  Did she finally wise up and resist the urge to take on YET ANOTHER form of fiber fixation?

Duh.  We've met, no?

I've just been quietly obsessing about discovering it for a little while.  Ready for my first ever spinning show and tell?  Here goes (actually taking a cleansing breath):

Clockwise, from left:  Ashland Bay Colonial Top, Kundert spindle resting on singles of unknown WPI, my first finished 2-ply.

Clockwise, from left:  Ashland Bay Colonial Top, Kundert spindle resting on singles of unknown WPI, my first finished 2-ply.

Spinning is teaching me, in no particular order:

1.  Learning a new thing is good for you because remembering what it's like to know nothing keeps your britches fitting.

2.  Being a first-time hand spinner sucks until you figure it out, and then it abruptly and completely stops sucking.  The distance between "Oh my gosh what have I done?" and "Oh my gosh I can't believe I made yarn" is both millimeters and light years. 

3.  Experienced spinners who tell you that you really need a human teacher and not just a book are completely right.  I know because I have neither experienced human teaching, nor yet received the book I ordered.  I figured it out on my own, of which fact I am very proud; but I know it would have taken Abby about 30 seconds to teach me what I discovered alone over the course of two weeks.

4.  Whichever direction you spin your singles in, you have to ply them together in the opposite direction.  I know this was probably outlined somewhere in my research, but I swear I don't remember seeing it.  Only when 4 days' worth of singles were in a tangled backward-plied mass, literally leaping out of my hands, did I realize that something had gone horribly wrong.  Ever try to make two magnets stick to each other the wrong way round?  That's what plying backward does to would-be yarn.  Fascinating.  Infuriating. Nauseating.

Two glasses of wine later, somewhere around 1AM, a lightbulb went on and I began reversing the ill-plied horror.  Turns out it takes more than twice as long (as correct plying) to reverse an arse-up of that magnitude, but I don't care.  Not only was I able to rescue the 4 days' worth of singles spinning (can you imagine having to throw that away?  Yes, I did come close), but I also feel that I well and truly OWN this bit of knowledge.  Don't think I'll be repeating that particular mistake. Hope Not.

My Yarn (how much do I love saying that?) is pretty.  Not great, or even good, but mine, and, gosh darn it, its good enough, for a first effort.  For that I love it.  For what it's teaching me, I love it.  And let's not forget that its color ROCKS:

My first handspun yarn porn

My first handspun yarn porn

Ever held a newborn baby?  That you made yourself?  This is like that, but different.  Handspun yarn will never throw up on you, hide your keys, or comb the dog's eyebrows with your toothbrush.  Probably it won't throw its arms around your neck and squeal that it loves you, either; but you get the idea. 

How do people who don't make stuff ever have any fun?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I ordered a spinning wheel.  Fish On.

All The Cool Kids Do It

This is one of those New Year's Resolutions that I never come up with until the New Year is about three months old.  I hereby proclaim that 2009 will be the year I learn to spin.  Lately I can't swing a dead cat without hitting some new information/publication/fascination on spinning.  Not that I swing dead cats all that often; but you get the idea.  I called my friend Carson to see if he could talk me down.  "How long have you wanted to spin?" he asked, trying to guage the severity of my infection. "I can't remember.  I got hold of some sheeps wool once when I was about four and wore it out by spinning and respinning it...Cotton balls were never safe from me at the time, either."  "Too late," he said.  "You're already in the advanced stages.  Nothing for it but to get yourself a drop spindle and see what happens."  Dontcha just love a good Enabler? 

I still tried feebly to control myself:  I really do not need another fiber habit to support.  Phillip, who doesn't know about drop spindles-as-gateway-drugs, thought that I had to buy a wheel to start spinning (I have not corrected this misconception - what am I, New?).  He asked me what in the world we could get rid of to make room for a spinning wheel.  I suggested the sofa: we spend too much time sitting around anyway.  Dead Silence.  A dog barked in the distance.

Then I had an opportunity to order this book, and my resolve began to crack:

I had the honor of meeting its author, the esteemed Ms. Judith MacKenzie McCuin at Madrona, only last month.  I took it as a sign that I was predestined to own her book.

It's only a book, after all.  We are pretty self-indulgent in my family, where reading is concerned.  One more fiber-related tome might not even be noticed among the rubble, were it not for the conversation about replacing the chesterfield with a saxony wheel.

Then I talked to Carson again, who kindly checked in to see how his patient was.  We formed Big Plans, he and I, for continued adventures around spinning. There will be much to tell.  For now, he prescribed the purchase of this:

Yummy, no?  I'm feeling better already.  You can find it here, along with all its gorgeous friends. 

Naturally, to go with it, I had to order this:

which I'm told is Ashland Bay Colonial Top.  I do not care what it is, as long as it's on the way to my house.  Look at the beautiful colors!

Clearly I have stepped onto the slippery slope, but you never can tell - I still might not like spinning, and get over it right away.  Or else pigs might fly outta my butt.