Its that time of year again when I become inspired afresh to spin when I freshen up my skills to teach basic principles and practise of spinning to the first year knit students. This year, I am concentrating on using drop spindles as the wheel can be quite intimidating as an introduction to spinning. Drop spindles are so accessible, and the look of pleasure on their faces when the first successful section of yarn is spun is so rewarding makes them the ideal introductory tool.
We start with tops so they don’t have to card (time is short for the workshop), and I buy both tops and spindles from Wingham Wool Works http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk, and find the dyed Merino tops a really easy one for beginners as the long fibre is more forgiving of slipping fingers and fumbled drafting.
I have made a few quite successful drop spindles out of chop sticks and wooden toy wheels which work well for those who choose not to purchase their own spindle (although as these cost less than a round of drinks I try to persuade them to invest). I discovered the wheels weren’t quite heavy enough, so have added a few pennies secured with BluTak as an interim measure – seems OK for the moment.
So whilst demonstrating I have spun a reasonable amount of purple tops up, and spent last evening plying this with a thread onto which I have threaded sequins – so have now got a pretty decorative yarn I will knit up and post here when done. Hopefully I have balanced the yarn sufficiently – but we will see. The fibre length for this was much shorter than merino so it is consequently a more woollen effect yarn.