I Teach All Methods of Spinning
I teach all methods of hand spinning, including on a great wheel. I was professionally taught in the 1980s and have been teaching ever since. I am one of very few teachers of the long draw technique – the hallmark of accomplishment in handspinning. In the last year I have taught pupils from France, Germany, Australia and California – so, as this shows, there are not many teachers of long draw around.
I prefer to teach individually (one-to-one) for the first lesson. Hopefully pupils go on to join my group lessons and activities if they live locally. For complete beginners I begin by treadling the wheel to allow pupils concentrate on their hand work. It is too difficult to do both together for a start! After about an hour we both treadle and within a couple of hours I find the majority of pupils are able to produce yarn by themselves. Not their best spinning of course, but they have grasped the technique and can spin while I keep the wheel turning. My initial focus is to learn the technique – quality control is lesson two, along with plying and finishing the first spinning. Even after more than thirty years, I can still recall the joy of holding my first spinning – it was such a moment.
Free wheels and fibre
Learning to spin is easier with a reliable wheel that performs properly and fibre that is easy to spin. For this reason my lessons include free fibre and the use of a wheel both in the studio and at home to practise. We begin spinning with commercially prepared pure Blue Faced Leicester wool rovings, and spinning on an Ashford single-treadle traditional wheel. I also have double treadle, double drive and integral wheels for pupils to use and there are other exciting fibres that you can learn to spin too, for example, silk, mohair and alpaca.
Which Spinning Wheel Is Best For Me?
There are so many different types of spinning wheel it leaves the beginner bewitched and bewildered. Most people don’t choose a car until they can drive, so why choose a wheel before you can spin if it can be avoided? I have a personal interest in helping pupils find the wheel which really suits them. If this turns out to be an Ashford they get a discount – I sell all models ready assembled (Not Flat -packed, please note!) at no extra charge. And I actively encourage my pupils to try out all types of wheel to find out which suits them best.
To get started…
My studio is at Albany Lodge, Desborough Rd, Stoke Albany, Leicestershire, LE16 8PS where there is off-road parking for several cars.
I find most pupils are happy to travel for about an hour and I time lessons to avoid busy times of day.
Market Harborough Train station (Midland Mainline out of St Pancras/KingsX) is just 4.7 miles or 9 minute drive.
Overnight accommodation is available just 5 minutes walk from my studio at The White Horse Inn www.thewhitehorsestokealbany.co.uk and has rooms opening directly onto a courtyard and car-park.
Beginners Spinning Starter Pack (£99)
Beginners Spinning Starter Pack (£99) appeals to students as it offers the chance to find out if spinning is really for them before buying a wheel and investing in something they may not ‘fall in love with’.
The pack includes:
- Free home loan of a wheel for a month (if required)
- Three-four hours’ Individual tuition in two separate sessions, or in a group class (see below)
- 200gms/ BFL wool – enough to make a cushion cover, scarf or hat
- Wheel Magazine
- Ashford Brochure
My Beginners Spinning Starter Pack can be booked online. The first stage is to agree a date and sort out any queries you may have either by email email@example.com or phone- 01858 535466 – 07940 839 143 – this may include travel distance, public transport, accommodation. When you are happy about matters the pack can be purchased on-line just like any other product.
If you already have a spinning wheel…
…You are encouraged, and most welcome, to use your own spinning wheel and pay for lessons as you go (£30/hour). However, if the wheel is not in full working order it will be difficult to learn on it! If in doubt then it is best to book a free assessment beforehand. Sometimes it is easier to learn on one of mine and tackle the tricky one later.
for Wonky wheels…
I can repair or renovate most Ashford wheels myself, and for other wheels I can put you in touch with a very reliable engineer who is also a hand spinner. Frequently repairs can carried out while you wait as I stock all parts for Ashford wheels. If necessary I can arrange for you to borrow a wheel for your lessons, while repairs take place. Maintenance and repairs are £20/hour plus parts.
For more information about spinning lessons, please call me on: 01858 535466
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