Giving Whorls a Whirl

I first learned how to spin

I was taught how to spin by Chicwithstix

Chicwithstix gave a spinning lesson as part of the Irish Knitters Retreat I went on back in October 2008. I gave it a go but it didn’t “click” with me so I didn’t keep at it. Hence, I can’t say I was taught or learned.

As SusyMcQ chided me, at the time – and quite correctly, too – I expected to be naturally great at it and was frustrated by being proven wrong. It’s not like me to admit defeat to a new technique but I think that because spinning involved learning a new skill set based on physical dexterity, and not an intellectual challenge; it was easier for me to put it to one side. Dexterity is not my strong suit.

Then early this year Kneehigh announced (on the Dublin Knit Collective Group on Ravelry) that there would be a spinning group meeting on monthly basis in the Powerscourt Towncentre. The attraction of meeting up with other crafters was the real motivator for me to look at my drop-spindle with new eyes. I knew I was more likely to learn how to spin if I was regulary spinning with other spinners .

Last week, I heard Matthew Syed being interviewed on the radio about his new book “Bounce – How Champions Are Made”. His book “demolishes the idea that talent is the key to success. The path to the top, Syed argues, is a combination of opportunity — being in the right place at the right time — and hard work.” As the Interviewer quipped: the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall is true – “Practice, practice, practice”

Syed also spoke about how it’s better to praise children for their hard work in acheiving something; rather than for their being talented. If children who are used to being praised for effort don’t succeed, they are motivated to keep trying until they succeed; whereas children praised for talent won’t try again if they fail as their failure serves to “prove” that have insufficient talent. It’s an interesting, and new, way of thinking. And it’s just the kind of motivating logic I needed to hear about my spinning. If I’m to master this new skill I have to keep trying.

My New High-fibre Diet

To that end, I’ve been accumulating spinning accoutrements. Mainly roving and fibre – which I don’t count as contributing to stash since it’s yardage is (yet) unknown. (A technicallity, I know!) I’ve also acquired two drop-spindles: one small one in TIK the day I met Averil; and Clarabel’s student spindle from the same spinning lesson at the knitting retreat. She was about to throw out all her roving samples from her Knitting Retreat goody-bag so I rescued them. This give me loads of odds’n’ends to practice on before I start to tackle these beauties:

From top to bottom, we have:

  • Ivy Brambles Merino Roving – “Volcano”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because of the name of the colourway!
  • Sereknity Blue-faced Leicester Roving – colourway “Kismet”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because I’d heard Blue-faced Leicester is a good starter-fibre
  • Louet Northern Lights Wool Top from This Is Knit; Chicwithstix was with me at the time and thinks that the fibre is Corriedale
  • Ashford Merino bought from The Yarn Room, Co. Wicklow
  • LHogan Blue-faced Leicester – “Georgia”; bought from TIK after the April Spin-In
  • LHogan Corriedale – “Gabrielle”; bought from TIK after Annie Modesitt’s Knitting Class

Look fondly on them – hopefully they will be still things of beauty – and recognisable as yarn – the next time you see them.

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10 Responses to “Giving Whorls a Whirl”

  1. sheknitupthatball Says:

    Ooh wow! Beautiful fibres there.

  2. Irene Says:

    You can spin? You can spin! YAY!

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Ah now! I can’t say I can spin. I can twirl a spindle with some fibre attached. I’m still figuring out drafting.
      I haven’t even tried to ply yet. I’m a long way off saying I can spin… yet!

  3. Sinéad Says:

    Well at least you have everything you need to get spinning! Looking forward to seeing the finished results. I’ve tried it once, and it was a total disaster. I think I’ll stick to knitting for now 🙂

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Read again! It doesn’t matter if you were a total disaster (and I doubt that – you’ve never seen me spinning!) it’s all a matter of keeping trying!!! Go on… fibre purchases don’t count towards stash, you know!

  4. Bionic Laura Says:

    They always said a high fiber diet is good for you… I’ll get me coat.

    Lovely stuff, can’t wait to see what it grows up into. I think you may soon rival me for fiber stash. Though in fairness I do have a load of alpaca fleeces which make the fiber stash giant! Next time I see you I can give you another lesson in drop spindling if you like.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      I would *love* that! We haven’t been at the Spin-In the same days yet. I’m not going to make this Sunday, but maybe the June one?
      I’m loving what you’ve been doing with your alpaca fleeces so far, with the drum-carder. I’m only trippin’ after you!

  5. SusyMcQ Says:

    I wish I could go to the spin days… I have done some spinning but have so many little questions I need to ask.

    I did ply that wool we started at the retreat… I think it should be called Twisted Sister. I’m pretty sure it was over spun somewhere along the way.


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