This week I took the plunge and began to ply my spindle spun buffalo yarn. As you know I am plying the single of buffalo fiber with a commercial wool crepe yarn, these fibers have been combined onto a Russian plying spindle. Yes it did take me about 2 hours to combine the 2 yarns together but mostly because my plying spindle is so heavy I had to give my wrist a break from holding it. A lighter weight plying spindle has been ordered so I can move through this process quicker. Once I had the fibers combined the next step was to create the plying disc. I finally found some cardboard which suited my needs and made a somewhat round circle and began the process of plying the fibers.
My current spindle does work well as a supported spindle and is aiding in the plying process rather well. Somehow I seem to have more yak yarn than wool and keep getting gaps in the drafting area as the 2 yarns are not in sync. Since this is my first time with this process I’m trying not to be to critical and treating things as a learning experience. After all I have another 1/2 ounce of buffalo fiber plus cashmere, yak and paco-vicuna fibers to work with.
This weekend a met another lace knitter who happens to be a cashmere fanatic. She has asked that I attempt to make a 2 ply cobweb weight yarn from paco-vicuna for her use in her knitting business. My only hiccup at the moment is that I don’t know where I put my paco-vicuna fiber so that I can start on this process. The last time I spun PV fiber was a few years back and on my Louet wheel and it turned out a Sports weight single. Now that I can spin a fine yarn on the Russian spindles I am hoping to each cobweb status – time will tell.
Sunday was not only a huge snow storm in the Denver area but also my “Learn to Spin on a Drop Spindle” class. I reached out to the class participants to see if we should postpone but 4 out of the 5 students wanted to go ahead with the class. Yes I drove across town on decent highways to the ranch and am happy to say that we all made it to our class location and back home safely. We got lots of snow in the metro areas but CDOT was up to the task and kept the highways cleared on Sunday.
As far as the class, all of my students learned how to draft their fiber, spin with a drop spindle using the park and spin method, add fiber, correct a break in the yarn and finally wind on the yarn to the spindle. For future classes I need to give them more breaks or at least force them to take breaks. Everyone was so focused on making yarn that breaks really didn’t occur to them. We did stop and I reviewed with them several of the tools one can use to prep fiber and measure yarn with. We went over a few books and magazines that will be beneficial to them in the journey with fiber. I am happy to say that everyone made a nice amount of yarn with the wool roving and left with some nice alpaca roving to practice on in the future.
I did stress a bit about teaching for a fee but now that I have done it I am more confident for future endeavors. My next class will definitely be in the Spring/Summer when the option of a blizzard is non existent. I also have ideas on improving the class but will probably stay with a size of 5. The class size allowed me to give individual instruction and keep an eye on my students progress.
On the spinning front, I now have fiber on all of my spinning tools (4 tools). I also have 4 skeins of yarn to measure and label. There is only 1 project on the knitting needles though and I do not have plans to start a new one. My newest Russian spindle has llama roving being spun on it. It is the first time I am using roving to spin on the Russians as I normally I am using cloud fiber. I do like how fast I am able to spin with the roving but now in the back of my head that I need to finish spinning up the bison/silk fiber soon.
Praying that everyone in the paths of these snow storms in the U.S. stays safe and warm!