OK, first of all, if you ever have a chance to take this class (or any class) from Judith MacKenzie McCuin, do it immediately. Don't think, just sign up. She is a wonderful teacher, extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of things spinning, weaving, fibery, sheepy and just really knows practically everything you'd ever want to know about anything (I think, I didn't ask her about physics, but you get the idea - the lady knows her stuff.) Also, she is totally approachable, and not at all intimidating. If you can't take her class, you should get her book
(I'm not getting a kickback for this, FYI), it's also great. I took the class and got the book. I understand there's a DVD
out there, but I don't have that yet. Yet, being the operative word - oh, the ability to play and replay to my heart's content!
We learned Worsted Spinning (inchworm), semi worsted spinning, woolen spinning (long draw, semi woolen spinning, and an attenuated long draw for cotton. She taught us some color techniques (marling) and some multi colored cables. She taught us some novelty yarns: spiral, knots, boucle, and mohair wrapped. She filled our brains with things we had never thought about and then kept going. She showed us how to select a fleece, how to wash it for combing, versus washing it for carding. She showed us combing and carding. She spoke about the history of spinning, the history of sheep. She taught us exotic fibers like bombyx silk, silk caps, yak, cashmere, camel, and one of the most frightening fibers to many spinner's out there - cotton.
About 30 minutes into the first class, my mind was reeling from all the information it had already absorbed- and this was a 3 day class! I took pages of notes, and we spun many tiny skeins. I'm in the middle of reorganizing the notes now so that when I look at them next week, I'll be able to understand what I wrote (or meant to write).
Here is some of the spinning we did:
From the top: A marled 2 ply of merino top, a marled cable yarn of the same merino top, a 3 ply of Merino/Yak, spun semi woolen, a 2 ply of Yak down (a loose puff of fiber) spun woolen, a white cotton 2 ply spun with attenuated long draw, a brown Fox Fiber cotton 2 ply spun with attenuated long draw, a dyed puni from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks spun as a 2 ply with attenuated long draw (the puni was definitely the easiest preparation to spin cotton), and a semi woolen cashmere 2 ply spun from top. According to Judith, if you can spin cotton you can spin cashmere (...if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball...)
Another thing she showed us is plying. Most of us take plying for granted and don't put too much thought into it. She showed us how to hold our hands, control the tension of the singles, and how to make the plying consistent. Then she had us wind our bobbins with some singles she had had spun from her organic Ramboulliet fleeces and try some plying ourselves. From the top of the picture above: 2 ply, 3 ply, 4 ply, 5 ply!, and cabled yarns.
I'll show more tomorrow!