Beginner spinning to bouclè in five lessons

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Beginner spinning to bouclè in five lessons is all it took for Helen to become proficient with her hand spinning. Lesson 1-beginner spinning (long draw), 2-pying, 3- dyeing, 4-quality yarn from rolags, 5-bouclè. The purpose of each lesson was clearly defined in advance. Yesterday’s lesson was to make bouclè from hand dyed BFL top. The colours had an almost animal quality about them – reminiscent of a cat’s undercoat and when the yarn was finished this was even more pronounced.
Helen brought along a glorious array of woolly things for winter made from her first spinning, first dyeing etc. Some of the items were from fleece which she prepared herself. Ann Budd’s book offers basic patterns for yarn of any thickness which takes out some of the guesswork. Result; One very happy spinner.
The yarn structure for Bouclè is threefold; a core, a fibre which is wrapped around the core, and a final binding thread applied in the opposite direction to the wrap. The spinning technique is core-spinning.
I used the Ashford e-spinner III to teach Helen how to wrap the fibre around the core – core-spinning. For the core we chose a chunky S-plyed commercial woollen yarn which blended well the fibre. The e-spinner was set to turn more slowly and smoothly than is possible with a treadle. Furthermore it leaves more ‘headspace’ to concentrate on what hands are doing without having to bother about feet as well.
The fibre wrap was a hand dyed BFL which we carefully pre-drafted to a smooth fine roving in advance of the spinning process. This was wrapped around the core in the traditional plying, S direction. The effect of this is to put extra twist into the core. Finally a binder thread in metallic nylon was applied in Z direction which has the effect of taking out much of the twist that was put in during the core-spinning.