Sunday, October 12, 2008

Learning Some More - Yarn Design Class

I should know, from past experience, that the one thing which will make me feel rejuvenated is learning something new. Being a lifelong reader and avid student, I LOVE taking classes in all kinds of things, but who can beat a class on SPINNING just when I needed a lift?

I took my wheel, which I've now named "Fernie" after Grammy Ferne, who gave her to me.

The class? "Yarn Design," a 4 hour session at Yarn Barn. Boy was that ever a fast-paced wonderful class. We learned so many things compressed into 4 short hours. First we learned wheel mechanics, figuring out things like the whorl ratio of our wheels. Fernie's whorl ratio is 7:1.

We practiced spinning some yarn, then figured out the Wraps Per Inch, the Twists Per Inch and the Grist of our yarn using a Yarn Balance. That was fiber mechanics and it was really interesting.

Then we learned fiber preparation and blending, using combs and then a drum carder. We went upstairs to the yarn shop, picked out yarn we wanted to recreate, then practiced making a desired yarn. We practiced better coordination of our treadling with the type of draw that would create the right texture and thickness of yarn.

The whole thing was just such a blast!

Finally, I made this beautiful self-designed yarn. It doesn't look nearly as pretty in this picture as it goes in person. It contains brown merino, green mohair, purples and some gold colored silk. My partner, Janeice and I, were really proud of the batting we carded. Then we spun and plied it and made this cute little mini skein.

The book our teacher recommends is:

Diane Varney's SPINNING DESIGNER YARNS. She also likes an older book called "Essentials of Yarn Design" by Mabel Ross.

The biggest thing I learned today is that I don't have to just spin up whatever thickness and texture of yarn that comes out. With practice, I can also design yarn, creating a specific type of fiber and can prepare, spin, and ply the fiber to create the yarn of my heart's desire.

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