Sunday, July 13, 2014

How I spin (Under certain circumstances, using certain tools, when a certain mood strikes)

I have spent the past 5 years or so working on broadening my spinning experience. It used to be that I could spin well, but in one way only. I have worked on learning long draw, using new tools like support spindles and charkhas, working in double drive, and using different fibers like cotton and silk. I have also been learning to use various prep tools, a drum carder, and combs and a flicker rather than just my trust old hand cards.
Most recently I have been using no fiber prep at all. Inspired, as always, by Abby Franquemont, by Nilda Callanuepa's Andean Spinning DVD, and by the fantastic work of the Andean spinners and weavers, I have been working to skill up on spinning yarn from clean but unprepped fleece on Pushkas, or low whorl spindles. It is a new way of spinning to me, a long drawish, double drafting. I find it easy to do for longer periods as I am not tempted to fling my arms around, but rather I keep my elbows pretty close to my sides and stay comfortable. I let the fiber come through my hand, the fleece behind and the working yarn on the palm side, like so:
And so:

Then I can use my fingers to do quality control on any bits I want more even, to tug out VM or draft out a slub:
I then keep drafting and can butterfly up the yarn, flick the spindle again and finish the make before winding on. It is a technique that I have found to be very very suited to long periods of spinning, to easy quality control to keep your yarn to a good standard, and a minimum of body strain. These photos were taken seated, but I generally spin standing up. Over the Fourth of July weekend I spun for most of a day while at a family reunion. It was easy to start and to stop, and very very mobile. I did not have to worry about carefully prepared fiber becoming disarranged.

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