Pam Austin's Spinning School http://www.spinningschool.org Learn to spin long draw Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:41:06 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 https://i0.wp.com/www.spinningschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-pam_s_logo-124x1241.png?fit=32%2C32 Pam Austin's Spinning School http://www.spinningschool.org 32 32 Dye workshop http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/dye-workshop/ http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/dye-workshop/#respond Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:11:52 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6079 Dye workshop in my studio came up with a whole range of fibres in toning colours to be spun into yarn for a Shetland Hap. My pupil dyed all these colours in the studio workshop - a one to one learning zone where mistakes are not  failure or wrong, simply part of the learning experience. [...]

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Dye workshop in my studio came up with a whole range of fibres in toning colours to be spun into yarn for a Shetland Hap. My pupil dyed all these colours in the studio workshop – a one to one learning zone where mistakes are not  failure or wrong, simply part of the learning experience. The day was scheduled around her personal needs; she wanted to dye some more fibres to match the ball of yarn in the featured image. We dyed blue faced Leicester fibre and BFL fleece, mohair locks and some yarn. Colours were mainly lavender and green and she will spin them up and possibly ply with silk or more mohair for the project. Some were dyed in two stages to achieve greater subtlety but the lavender was straight into a ready made acid dye bath. Dyes used were from Ashford and World of Wool, and the term ‘acid’ implies something rather unfriendly, but in actual fact the acid used is vinegar. The dyes will be colour fast and light fast which is one of the reasons I like to use them. Dyeing from plants is fun but the raw materials are not as readily available as these commercial ones where 10gm  will dye a Kilo of fibre. But for this workshop we used far less than dye than the recommended quantity as the fibre was all very fine and takes dye very easily.

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Spin long draw in one lesson http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/spin-long-draw-in-one-lesson/ http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/spin-long-draw-in-one-lesson/#respond Mon, 09 Apr 2018 10:26:23 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6075 Spin long draw in one lesson is achievable as this young lady recently demonstrated. Long Draw  technique is the hallmark of accomplishment in handspinning. This rosette, the second one to be awarded this month,  came as a great surprise to Melanie at only her second spinning lesson. It is always a great pleasure to see [...]

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Spin long draw in one lesson is achievable as this young lady recently demonstrated. Long Draw  technique is the hallmark of accomplishment in handspinning. This rosette, the second one to be awarded this month,  came as a great surprise to Melanie at only her second spinning lesson. It is always a great pleasure to see someone young enough to be my granddaughter learn quickly and demonstrate such skill. Partly this is because  I expect she will be spinning for many  years and hopefully inspiring others to spin this way, long after I am  dead and gone –  and this gives me great pleasure. My Long Draw Spinner rosettes recognise personal achievement and help spread the word about long draw. If only one in ten of my pupils were to eventually become spinning teachers  I think I will be getting somewhere…. there is still far too much misunderstanding about long draw. Only from rolags?American? English? How many Angels can we get on the head of a pin?

When I started the guild of long draw spinners eleven years ago (with a group of my pupils) my ambition was to establish a long draw spinning teacher in every guild in the country. It was an unrealistic ambition; just because I am a woman with a mission to teach long draw and help others achieve the same pleasure from it as I do, didn’t mean others felt the same. So, in 2010  I started my Spinning School instead, and have since helped and inspired hundreds of new spinners to get started.  I take genuine pleasure in seeing people grow and get more pleasure from their spinning –

when one can long draw it is usually possible to spin anything, on anything as it is such a consummate skill. As I say, if 10% of these spinners become teachers then I will be getting somewhere.

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Pothole outside Spinning studio http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/pothole-outside-spinning-studio/ http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/pothole-outside-spinning-studio/#comments Sun, 08 Apr 2018 17:54:15 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6071 Pothole outside Spinning studio is very dangerous and took out a front and back tyre of the same car this last bank holiday weekend. The county council's method of dealing with this hazard is astonishing...

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Pothole outside Spinning studio is very dangerous and took out a front and back tyre of the same car this last bank holiday weekend. The county council’s method of dealing with this hazard is astonishing…

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Robin in the greenhouse http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/robin-in-the-greenhouse/ http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/04/robin-in-the-greenhouse/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2018 09:07:59 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6065 Robin in the greenhouse nesting in a bag I left on the staging during the winter. There are five white, brown speckled eggs in a beautiful nest made with only a beak. And we spinners make a fuss about making yarn when we have two hands and a host of technology to help us! Clever [...]

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Robin in the greenhouse nesting in a bag I left on the staging during the winter. There are five white, brown speckled eggs in a beautiful nest made with only a beak. And we spinners make a fuss about making yarn when we have two hands and a host of technology to help us! Clever robin for building the nest, but not so clever in its choice of location! Had I not been startled when it flew out I would have upended the whole robin homestead.  There will be no hope of tidying the shed and bringing the greenhouse into operation for several weeks now.

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Long draw spinner – the world has another one http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/03/long-draw-spinner-the-world-has-another-one/ Sat, 31 Mar 2018 22:08:37 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6060 Long draw spinner - the world has another one and she was awarded one of my 'Long Draw Spinner' rosettes for her skill. This lady made a three hour trip from Yorkshire to learn the ancient craft with me. It only took her an hour or so to master the skill using her own Ashford [...]

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Long draw spinner – the world has another one and she was awarded one of my ‘Long Draw Spinner’ rosettes for her skill. This lady made a three hour trip from Yorkshire to learn the ancient craft with me. It only took her an hour or so to master the skill using her own Ashford traditional wheel and then she proved her new found skill on the Great Wheel. Her husband, who is a weaver, took this photo.  She is a very accomplished knitter and was wearing a lovely pullover and some seriously nice hand-knitted socks…

Long draw technique is the only way to spin on a Great wheel and to make things more difficult, the draw must be made using the left hand as the right hand is needed for turning the wheel. If people could do this in medieval times I can’t see why so many people think it is difficult today (I recently taught 12 members at the W. Essex guild meeting).  This wheel is a replica of the one illustrated in the Luttrel Psalter C1330, which was commissioned by the Luttrel family who owned land near Stamford which is not far from where I live.

I begin to teach long draw by making a thread between two hands. Then we make a thread using a drop spindle  – just turning the spindle by hand  not necessarily spinning and dropping it.

Next I go on to a wheel and control the twist while the pupil draws the thread so they can begin to feel the plasticity as the fibres attenuate between our hands. It is only a matter of achieving the right balance between fibre and twist before one can feel this stretchiness – I call it the ‘chewing gum moment‘  – and  make the long draw – a really satisfying way to spin that makes yarn in timescales to suit out busy lifestyle.

Spin long draw – life’s too short for anything less

 

great wheel

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Wheel Bracelets a unique new way to secure spinning wheels http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/03/wheel-bracelets-a-unique-new-way-to-secure-spinning-wheels/ Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:38:29 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6049 Wheel bracelets a unique new way to secure spinning wheels for transport or when not in use are now available in my shop. These high quality handmade bracelets from Celtic Leathers (Wales) prevent the flyer falling off or thread getting into a tangle on Ashford Traditional and other wheels which are supported from a stock. [...]

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Wheel bracelets a unique new way to secure spinning wheels for transport or when not in use are now available in my shop. These high quality handmade bracelets from Celtic Leathers (Wales) prevent the flyer falling off or thread getting into a tangle on Ashford Traditional and other wheels which are supported from a stock. They brace the wheel by clamping it to the frame and the flexibility of the leather allows for a soft, yet firm grip on the wheel which  leaves no marks and is highly decorative as well as being uniquely functional.

The unique Wheel Bracelets  £12.99 +p&p are hand-made in genuine  leather and decorated with a Celtic design throughout; they incorporate three different fittings to allow for the difference in wheels. When not in use, the bracelets are of such high quality they can be worn as items of jewellery.

Liz Baxter, a hand spinner from Wales who commissioned the first bracelets said: ‘I was fed up with the dogs knocking my wheel over or brushing against it and thread disappearing through the orifice – or worse still the flyer falling off completely – I can’t think why no-one has thought of it before.  I am very grateful that Pam is willing to  sell these for us though her online shop and make them available to  spinners beyond this remote region of Wales. Hopefully it will  bring valuable support  to a deserving local craftswoman.’ 

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Yarn to Dye for http://www.spinningschool.org/2018/03/yarn-to-dye-for/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:21:31 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5960 Yarn to dye for is worth the trouble -  even if it is a two-stage process -  when the colours feel as classy and sophisticated as these feel to me. I did a lot of dyeing this winter and will be demonstrating how to do this  at the First Wednesday workshop at Knuston Hall next [...]

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Yarn to dye for is worth the trouble –  even if it is a two-stage process –  when the colours feel as classy and sophisticated as these feel to me. I did a lot of dyeing this winter and will be demonstrating how to do this  at the First Wednesday workshop at Knuston Hall next week – see events page. Undyed skeins, dye packs(£24.50. for enough to last ages)  will be on sale on the day.

Spinning and knitting is much more fun when the colours please you as much as this. The image was taken in my kitchen using iPhone 4s, and is just as it came out, and not  enhanced or digitally altered in any way…

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Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/12/dyeing-with-complementary-colours/ Sun, 31 Dec 2017 20:47:21 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5881 Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop takes place at Knuston Hall on Wednesday this week. Dyeing is always fun and doing something different even more fun. This new workshop is a chance to find or discover a few things for yourself. - see Events  If you can't [...]

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Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop

Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop takes place at Knuston Hall on Wednesday this week. Dyeing is always fun and doing something different even more fun. This new workshop is a chance to find or discover a few things for yourself. – see Events  If you can’t make the date the workshop can be repeated for individuals and small groups in my studio – use contact form.

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Riding with my granddaughter http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/riding-with-my-granddaughter/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:07:26 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5860 Took my youngest granddaughter out on Nola last Sunday. Granddaughter is 12 and Nola is 25. All three of us had a lovely time. She posed for this photograph to show her friends - probably on Instagram or some such thing - I could imagine a picture caption 'Riding my Gran's horse' ....my horse - [...]

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Took my youngest granddaughter out on Nola last Sunday. Granddaughter is 12 and Nola is 25. All three of us had a lovely time. She posed for this photograph to show her friends – probably on Instagram or some such thing – I could imagine a picture caption ‘Riding my Gran’s horse’ ….my horse – but not my house!

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Twill weave http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/twill-weave/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:58:16 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5857 Twill weave, my house-pigeon must like twill weave - here he is inspecting two of my oldest rugs dating from the late 1980s and still going strong. I have not seen pigeon for several days now - nor found feathers or remains in the garden so hoping he has made a success of his bid [...]

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Twill weave, my house-pigeon must like twill weave – here he is inspecting two of my oldest rugs dating from the late 1980s and still going strong.

I have not seen pigeon for several days now – nor found feathers or remains in the garden so hoping he has made a success of his bid for freedom. I don’t think it will have much effect on the local pigeon population – there seem to be more than there used to be.

I noted Pigeon Breast  was on the menu at The Falcon hotel  in Uppingham when I went there with two of my grandsons recently. One of them chose it and said it was very good. I’m vegetarian.

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