Spinning School https://www.spinningschool.org Pam Austin Tue, 12 Mar 2019 12:54:23 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 https://www.spinningschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-pam_s_logo-124x1241-90x90.png Spinning School https://www.spinningschool.org 32 32 New to spinning https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/03/new-to-spinning/ https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/03/new-to-spinning/#respond Tue, 12 Mar 2019 12:54:23 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6604 Dear Pam, I thought you’d be pleased to know that I’m still spinning and creating things from my yarns. Below are some of my recently completed projects. The cardigan is made from the yarn we dyed during my last lesson, supplemented with considerably more white. The bag is made from Navajo plied yarn from the […]

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Dear Pam, I thought you’d be pleased to know that I’m still spinning and creating things from my yarns. Below are some of my recently completed projects.
The cardigan is made from the yarn we dyed during my last lesson, supplemented with considerably more white.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The bag is made from Navajo plied yarn from the rainbow dyed top we made.
The sheep body is BFL and the head and legs from black Jacob.
I’m finally getting round to spinning the magenta dyed top but I’ve still to decide what I’m going to make with it. I find it difficult to create a yarn without an idea of what I will turn it into and I probably need to start experimenting with different yarn structures a bit more.
Anyway I just wanted to thank you again for introducing me to the most wonderful relaxing hobby.
Nikki x

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A Student’s Story https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/02/a-students-story/ Fri, 22 Feb 2019 10:59:24 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6585 I Wanted to Learn to Spin My Own Yarn A couple of years ago, I attended a drop spindle spinning workshop at my local yarn store. In eager anticipation of learning to spin I had purchased a Jacob sheep fleece, without a clue what I was doing, so I was lucky that it turned out […]

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I Wanted to Learn to Spin My Own Yarn

A couple of years ago, I attended a drop spindle spinning workshop at my local yarn store. In eager anticipation of learning to spin I had purchased a Jacob sheep fleece, without a clue what I was doing, so I was lucky that it turned out to be a lovely fleece! Anyway, the spinning workshop was a disappointment; I basically learned to twist wool a bit. After watching a few tutorials on the internet I set about washing, carding and spinning the fleece on a tiny little drop spindle. I decided that I was going to crochet giant granny squares, using a 16mm hook and make a wool throw.

Well, spinning a full fleece on a tiny spindle was quite a task and I decided that there must be an easier way. So I started looking for a teacher who could teach me how to use a spinning wheel.

I found Pam’s web site and thought her Beginners Spinning Starter Pack sounded great, especially as you can borrow a wheel to take home and practise on. This way you can take time to see if you really love spinning before committing to having your own wheel. So I went for my first lesson. Pam is a great teacher, very patient and knows just how to teach each person. We all learn in different ways and at different paces, so this is important. I took one of Pam’s spinning wheels home with me, along with some easy to spin wool roving. Pam set me homework; to spin two bobbins worth before my next lesson! The following couple of days consisted of me keep snapping my yarn, cursing and taking a break then going back for another go. I was not a natural! Then it clicked, I loved it. I returned for my second lesson with two bobbins of spun singles which Pam taught me to ply to make my first little skein of yarn. What a feeling of achievement.

Choosing the Right Spinning Wheel for Me

I borrowed a couple of different wheels from Pam, so that I could get a feel for the right type of wheel for me. I settled on a Kiwi 2, a compact little work horse of a wheel that can cope with anything that I want to spin, from very fine to super chunky art yarn. I needed a compact wheel that would fit on our narrowboat so the Kiwi with its upright design is perfect.

My Spinning Wheel

My Kiwi Spinning Wheel

 

Pam also helped me with my drop spindle spinning, and provided me with a more substantial drop spindle, that made spinning on a spindle a lot easier. The new spindle enabled me to complete my throw, which in the end used up two and a half fleeces!

Giant Granny Square Throw – Spun on a Drop Spindle

Giant Cranny Square Crochet Blanket Using Handspun Chunky Yarn

 

Falling Further Down The Woolly Rabbit Hole

Dyeing and Mohair

Shortly after my first spinning lessons, Pam was running a dyeing workshop for a couple of ladies and one of them couldn’t make it, so Pam asked me if I would like to take her place. Well, that day I fell in love with Mohair and dyeing! The lady that I shared with is called Jackie and she has a herd of Angora goats. Jackie brought some beautiful, soft Mohair locks for us to dye. Wow, they take colour well and are still my favourite fibre to dye (and spin).

Handspun, Handdyed Mohair Skeins

Handspun, Handdyed Mohair Yarn - Skeins
 

Woolly Days at Knuston Hall

I soon started to attend Pam’s monthly “Woolly” days at Knuston Hall. Now, the group of ladies that attend Knuston each month are fantastic; knowledgeable, friendly, kind, funny, in fact just great company. I was made to feel very welcome and have learned even more woolly skills. I leaned how to “wet felt” wool and use it to make many things; buttons, bowls, book covers and felted soap.

My Woolly Adventure Has Changed My Life!

I am now using all my new found “Woolly” skills to run my own little business, making and selling handspun Mohair yarn and scarves, felted fleece rugs and felted natural soap. If you are interested in seeing what I make, please visit my web site: www.east-hill-mill.co.uk

You never know where meeting Pam and starting your own little adventure will take you, but you can be sure you will have lots of fun, learn new skills and it can even be very therapeutic. I can recommend it highly 😊

by: Viv Carter

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Toadstool art yarn https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/10/toadstool-art-yarn/ Sat, 06 Oct 2018 02:17:40 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6426 Toadstool art yarn is named after some fungi that appeared this week in my stable yard. When Mary arrived for knitting yesterday she would not drive over the fungi to park in her usual place: ‘It’s so beautiful – I can’t bear to drive over, and spoil it’ she said. The colour of the fungi […]

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Toadstool art yarn is named after some fungi that appeared this week in my stable yard. When Mary arrived for knitting yesterday she would not drive over the fungi to park in her usual place: ‘It’s so beautiful – I can’t bear to drive over, and spoil it’ she said.
The colour of the fungi reminded me of some tops I dyed last week and spun up at Social Spinning,Knuston Hall on Wednesday. I took the photo to record the fungi, rather than the yarn – but the two look good together. Then it seemed the yarn had to be called Toadstool – so it became a sort of ‘Art yarn by retrospective design’.
The fungi comes up every year from the roots of an old silver birch. First it appears as grey toadstools, then each cap opens up and oozes black gunge. Sounds disgusting; looks beautiful.
The singles on the bobbin is hand-dyed BFL with a very small amount of angelina fibre to add a little interest. It is spun from rolags and at present I am not sure what it will be plyed with. The colours are very subtle and I don’t want to muddle them up. A Navajo ply will be too thick. I have a cone of silver metallic nylon which might make an interesting sock yarn if plyed with the toadstool. However, I will spin it all up before deciding. The colours would work well for men’s socks.
My knitting group takes place every Friday and anyone is welcome – particularly knitters who need help or inspiration. There are always lots of things going on.

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Beginner spinning to bouclè in five lessons https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/09/beginner-spinning-to-boucle-in-five-lessons/ Sun, 30 Sep 2018 18:48:19 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6415 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 […]

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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.

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Rewards of teaching the young https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/09/rewards-of-teaching-the-young/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 06:07:09 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6390 Rewards of teaching the young are not financial as I consider it an investment – as well as a lot of pleasure of course… I recently received this letter… Dear Pam, Tabitha [daughter]wanted me to write a note to you to thank you for teaching her how to felt. She really enjoys it and decided […]

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Rewards of teaching the young are not financial as I consider it an investment – as well as a lot of pleasure of course… I recently received this letter…
Dear Pam,
Tabitha [daughter]wanted me to write a note to you to thank you for teaching her how to felt. She really enjoys it and decided she would enter a felted picture into this years RSPB WildArt competition. Amazingly out of over 2000 entries Tabitha, who is 10, came joint second in her 8-12 age category. 
Her picture is to be displayed at the Natural Eye Exhibition in London in October, where she will get an award.
Attached is the picture she did, wet felting the background and needle felting the puffin
I think it helped that you had dyed some of the wool so it changed from yellow to blue gradually, and so it turned out perfect for the sky and the lighting. So a bit of your own work is in the finished product too!!
Another development is we are doing our wool/fibre/felting day workshop on 22nd September and around 30 children plus parents are coming. The various samples you gave are great, and Kezia[older daughter whom I taught to spin] has even started to keep some silkworms that are growing rapidly. Hopefully we will get some of our own silk cocoons in a few weeks.
I thought you would like to know the good news of your investments!!
Love,
Elizabeth

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Doodler shawl by Erica https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/09/doodler-shawl-by-erica/ https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/09/doodler-shawl-by-erica/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2018 09:13:35 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6229 This fabulous work reminds me of sunrise straking out across an imaginary landscape. It is worked by my Knitting Advisor, Erica. Also in the picture is Val who teaches long draw spinning in the Leicester area. Erica told me The pattern for the shawl is called ‘the Doodler’ and is byStephen West – it is […]

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This fabulous work reminds me of sunrise straking out across an imaginary landscape. It is worked by my Knitting Advisor, Erica. Also in the picture is Val who teaches long draw spinning in the Leicester area. Erica told me The pattern for the shawl is called ‘the Doodler’ and is byStephen West – it is available on Ravelry costing about £5
The yarn is fingering or 4 ply sock yarn and can be made from 3 100gm balls of different colours and 3.5 mm circular needles – whatever colours you choose !
The whole shawl is knitted in garter stitch and is easy as long as you can count – the great thing about it is that it works – if you follow the pattern things happen in the right places and you have the right number of stitches (even if there are a lot of them sometimes)
He also has a couple of helpful utube videos to show you the cast off and edgings
I suppose it took me about three weeks of evening knitting to complete but was great fun to knit even the edging when you had a lot of stitches and never boring! The 34 stitch cable was certainly different !
I think it works well with at least one multicoloured yarn but on Ravelry there are many examples of the different colour ways it can be done

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Long draw spinning and Joy to the World https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/08/long-draw-spinning-and-joy-to-the-world/ Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:11:48 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6217 Long draw spinning and Joy to the World as another star pupil makes it onto my ever-growing list of acclaimed Long Draw Spinners – all accredited with specially commissioned rosettes. This happy lady recently received her rosette – a tremendous achievement in only five weeks and three lessons: Lesson 1 – long draw technique, Lesson […]

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Long draw spinning and Joy to the World as another star pupil makes it onto my ever-growing list of acclaimed Long Draw Spinners – all accredited with specially commissioned rosettes. This happy lady recently received her rosette – a tremendous achievement in only five weeks and three lessons: Lesson 1 – long draw technique, Lesson 2 plying, Lesson 3 rolags and spinning a quality yarn. She started with my Beginners’ Pack on a traditional wheel. And worked at it! She then tried other wheels including the Kiwi and Joy. The Ashford Joy wheel ticked all the boxes! If ever a spinning wheel was well named it is the Joy 2.Ashford Joy 2 double treadle A joy to (2) spin on – I love my Joy. ‘Joy To the World’ as the tuneful Christmas carol goes (whoops – don’t mention Christmas, it is only August)

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Spinning lessons make happy smiles https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/08/spinning-lessons-make-happy-smiles/ Wed, 29 Aug 2018 17:44:00 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6213 Spinning lessons make happy smiles as well as sumptuous yarn as this photo of my happy pupil shows. She is holding her first spinning which turned out much better than she expected – as I find it always does! First spinning is very important as it is the benchmark upon which to assess progress. Lesson […]

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Spinning lessons make happy smiles as well as sumptuous yarn as this photo of my happy pupil shows. She is holding her first spinning which turned out much better than she expected – as I find it always does! First spinning is very important as it is the benchmark upon which to assess progress. Lesson 1 is to learn the technique of long draw: once that is mastered it is possible to spin almost anything – from yak with <1inch staple - to a long curly lock. Lesson 2 is to ply whatever the pupil can get onto two bobbins. On a scale of difficulty 1-10, learning long draw is 9.5, but learning to ply is about 2-3. All the hard work is over by then. And the plyed yarn always comes as a pleasant surprise to the beginner who thinks they have spun rubbish until they see it plyed...

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Knitting on the Nene https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/08/knitting-on-the-nene/ Mon, 27 Aug 2018 17:31:29 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6208 Knitting on the Nene. No better place to be than this lovely little backwater where I stayed overnight on Saturday evening – in spite of the weather forecast which was for rain. No rain fell until Sunday morning. And early in the morning I sat out in the cockpit with my knitting and some fresh […]

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Knitting on the Nene. No better place to be than this lovely little backwater where I stayed overnight on Saturday evening – in spite of the weather forecast which was for rain. No rain fell until Sunday morning. And early in the morning I sat out in the cockpit with my knitting and some fresh coffee. No-one but me and then, along came Seven Cygnets a Swimming, accompanied by their parents. I think some may have been adopted as seven seems quite a brood. It made a lovely sight. They arrived silently and cruised on by without a sound and hardly a ripple on the water.
Also on the river was a kingfisher which I didn’t see until something plopped into the river in front of me and flew off again. It settled on a nearby boat and I watched intently…sure enough…it was a kingfisher and there was another splash followed by a glorious flash of colour as it skimmed down the river about 2 feet above the surface. Magic moments. Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a laying, Five G-old rings…too early for Christmas and too slow for a photo of Flashy the kingfisher

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Successful spinning lessons https://www.spinningschool.org/2018/08/successful-spinning-lessons/ Sat, 18 Aug 2018 23:22:41 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6186 Successful spinning lessons are a great joy to me. Another promising pupil is my neighbour who has her own sheep – she learned to spin on her first lesson. Like all my pupils, she learned to spin on Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) prepared tops. I always start beginners off on BFL as it is the […]

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Successful spinning lessons are a great joy to me. Another promising pupil is my neighbour who has her own sheep – she learned to spin on her first lesson. Like all my pupils, she learned to spin on Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) prepared tops. I always start beginners off on BFL as it is the easy to spin. Merino top is easy too, but to mind it is environmentally unacceptable to use something from the other side of the world, when there is as good as, or even better fibre on the doorstep.
My neighbour came for her refresher and plying lesson a week later on a Friday afternoon when I have a knitting group* and everyone there was very complimentary about her first spinning. It can be very reassuring see people react so positively to one’s work. For all my new pupil knew, I could have been just flattering her when I said her first work was very good but I never waste my time with flattery as everyone knows a fraud when they see it! When she saw for herself how the knitters responded with such pleasure and surprise to her first spinning – and very, successful spinning lesson – it was very positive affirming experience. All very pleasing and one of the reasons I so much enjoy what I do.

*Knitting is from 2-5pm in my studio and spills over into the house or gazebo as necessary. Any knitter, beginner or not, is welcome to come along regardless of if they are spinners. It is a great place for free help and advice and no fee other than a donation of £3 for tea.

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