I've spent the last two days at a Spinning Seminar with none other than Spinning Diva, Patsy Zawistoski, and my mind is about to burst with all the new knowledge I have gained. The photo shows only a few of the samples from the weekend.
On Saturday, we spent the day learning how to spin several types of Novelty Yarns. If this had been the only thing offered, I might not have signed up because I really don't like lumpy bumpy spinning. Instead of being boring and uninteresting, like I half expected, it was a wonderful day. Spinning those lumpy bumpy yarns was way more fun than I ever imagined.
We learned what kinds of yarn we normally spin - soft, medium or hard. My normal spinning is soft it turns out. That was a surprise to me. I would have thought it was medium at least. We learned how to make a sample for our records (now maybe I need to actually keep some) and we learned how to Miss America ply for short, quick samples. This is similar to Andean plying and saves having to locate a ball winder when you only have a little yarn to be plied.
What kind of yarn you spin is important to some of the techniques for the novelty yarns. Different yarns require components that are spun at certain hardness's.
Next we learned how to make a cabled yarn. I had read the procedure for this before, but had never tried doing it. Cabled yarns are a four ply made from two two ply yarns. Some of the plying is done "S" and some is done "Z". It is really important to have the right amount of twist in so your yarn does not fall apart.
As the day progressed, we learned to make bumps in our yarn on purpose. We made core wrapped yarns where the core was a sewing thread and the same thread was used as a binder. The other fiber was mohair locks. Now I know what to do with some of the mohair I have accumulated. We also found out what happens when you ply a single with woolly nylon serger thread.
All in all the day of the seminar I was NOT looking forward to was wonderful. Would the seminar day I wanted most be disappointing in comparison?
Today, the seminar was on "Silk, the Queen of Fibers". Patsy started out talking about the different types of silk we might find to spin and told us about how they were prepared. She then passed out part of a silk cap for us to spin samples from. We spun some Cinnamon Tussah Silk, and plied that with the silk cap single for another beautiful yarn.
Patsy had us spin from ten different types of silk preparations. We learned how to evaluate each type as far as ease of spinning and what type of speed worked the best on each one. We talked about possible uses for each type of silk. We prepared some silk cocoons for spinning. We had lots of fun blending various silk waste products with wool. Patsy had some cut silk waste, some short waste and some sari silk waste and showed us how to blend them into plain wool for a unique and special yarn.
Patsy had a wonderful record card for us to keep our samples on. The card ends up with samples of each of the original fibers plus the end resulting yarn. It is really a great reminder of what we did and what we learned. I wish I was disciplined enough to keep this record for all my spinning. The cards for the novelty yarns end up with the yarn recipe on them. Often, I never look at workshop materials once the workshop is done. I know that is not true for this workshop though. We ended up with very useful stuff.
Some of todays knowledge was not silk specific, but will be a help to all my spinning. Patsy taught us the proper way to evaluate the wraps per inch of a yarn or single. She gave everyone a stick for this and told us how to mark it. We learned how to count the actual number of revolutions a particular whorl will give when spinning so that can be part of the records for the yarn. We learned how to make a sample card so we can keep a yarn consistent no matter how long it takes to spin. We learned how to ply a yarn that has spent too many days on the bobbin and seems to have lost it's twist. We talked about the different types of wheels and tensioning systems. We learned about the differences in Scotch Tensions and why some brake bands are fine if they are fishing line and others require a soft string.
So, I definitely was not disappointed today either. Patsy is a wonderful, organized instructor. I guess her experiences teaching preschoolers are a big help for teaching spinners. She carefully explains the "why" in her instructions. She is not a "my way or the highway" type instructor at all. If you have a chance to take any spinning seminars from Patsy, clear your calendar so you can go and run don't walk. This was a totally awesome weekend, worth the headache from all the knowledge that was pounded in.