I have a confession to make:Â I haven’t been practicing.
After an initial, energizing success at spindle-spinning, I got distracted. Â I picked up the spindle only a couple of times in the fall, and when all we got together in Waterloo a couple of weeks ago, I proudly got my spindle out, rakishly drafted a bit off the braid of BFL Jillian gave me, and started to spin.
And it was an unmitigated disaster. Â I dropped the spindle. I had lumps the size of grapes. I couldn’t draft. I kept breaking the roving. I couldn’t control the twist. It was a mess.
The worst part was that, naturally, I was surrounded by expert spinners at the time – goddess of all things fibre Denny, Amy, Jillian, our host Sue, and Tabi the spinning teacher from Shall We Knit. Â At first, they were all smiles, but as it became quickly clear how badly I was doing, they averted their eyes. I think I might have heard a snicker. Â (I kid, they were all very encouraging.)
Denny, sitting beside me on the couch, was very polite: she gave me a few pointers (including, most helpfully, to remember to spin the spindle in the same direction all the time… ), and refrained from laughing.
We all agreed that you don’t get better at spinning by keeping the spindle in a box, so I’ve made a plan. I need to practice every week. I teach a class on Thursdays evenings at Lettuce Knit, and Denny works a shift there Thursday afternoons. Â My plan is to go to the shop early so that she can watch over me while I fumble my way through this, and hopefully expand my skills.
Once I’ve mastered the basics with the BFL, I’m keen to get started into a little sampler project that the lovely SueÂ put together for me. Â I’ve got a collection of little bags of rovings from various breeds – each is enough to try it Â out, get familiar with the fiber, and experiment.
And then – THEN! – I am desperate to try this mittens-from-silk-hankies thing that all the cool kids are doing.
I figure that’s enough for a year. Â Wish me luck!