On Dec 12th I took the first of two "Spinning with a Drop Spindle" classes at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Berkeley with WonderMike (Ravelry name) as our instructor. It was a fun class. I took it, because I have a few yarns I would like to ply together - so I was mostly interested in plying. I bought one of their student spindles (an $18 Schacht top-whorl spindle), and we were supplied with 2 oz of combed Blue Face Leicester fiber - Wonderfully soft - and you can still smell the sheep! I was able to spin a yarn, mostly approximately fingering weight, but overall ranging from worsted weight to lace weight. It was fairly consistent in thickness when I pre-drafted, but when I tried over-the-fold the yarn became rather chunky.
Just takes practice. It's rather fun, one step closer to the source so to speak, but I don't think I'll be taking it up seriously as a hobby - I'd rather knit something. We got homework, too: we had to spin 1/2 oz and wind it off onto a cone, and another 1/2 oz and leave it on the spindle, so we are ready to ply during the next class.
In yesterday's class I was able to improve my over-the-fold drafting. Then we learned how to handy-ply (instructions here at Knitty) and from a cone (basically the same technique as for handy-plying, with the cone taking the place of your hand). Here is the result:
Now the twist still needs to be set, then I can actually use them for something. It was a great class - Thank you, Mike!
Recently I also got Cat Bordhi's book A Treasury of Magical Knitting in which she teaches how to knit Möbius shawls and scarfs. It's a great book - I really like her style - and I've been practicing with my "dishcloth" cotton yarn as a break from my Louis shawl.
It's great mindless knitting - I can use up some of my alpaca for the Merging Stripes or Honey Lane Alpaca patterns in the book. I've also ordered some Moguls yarn for her Moguls Möbius scarf - I love the way it looks!
Till next time!