You Spin Me!

img_20170221_155015So, two weeks ago, this happened!

I put a call out on my local Ravelry forum for a rent or rent-to-own spinning wheel and in just a matter of hours, a sweet and generous soul replied to my plea.

IamMo arrived the next Monday with this Lendrum double treadle in tow as well as her identical second wheel and enough fibre to completely cover my dining table. I thought she’d brought it to show me but she brought it for me to spin with!

Spinning looks a lot easier on YouTube.

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Here’s my first mess:

Ugly, isn’t it. I practised 4 hours every day, before and after work.

I am much better and certainly more consistent than what you see here but not as consistent as I aim to be but it takes time and more practise.

 
Here’s where I am today, 2 weeks later, a 2-ply worsted weight (worsted spun) which I can actually knit with!

 

Corriedale fibre is a great beginner fibre, it has a long staple and relatively easy to spin. I think I have enough to actually make a poncho!

Below are photos of some Polworth fibre I spun and plied in my first week, love the colours!

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Real Wool

What have I been doing? Walking dogs and knitting.

I’ve knitted many things in the past two years, shawls, socks, hats & scarves, dishcloths and softies. I’ve also crocheted amigurumi, doilies and dishcloths.  FYI,  I’m TabathaKnits on Ravelry (I haven’t posted everything I’ve made).

wmauMy goal for 2017 is to learn how to spin and one day, hope to own my own wheel, but they’re not cheap! They range in price from $600+ to $1,600 new, and some sure don’t look like the ones our ancestors spun with. They also come in compact sizes which are very portable. Hopefully I can find a used wheel for a fraction of the price.

The one pictured here is out of my price range but I love it, it’s a Majacraft Aura Spinning Wheel and retails for CAD$1,510.

In the meantime, I may have to be content with a drop spindle.

Something else I’ve learned in my knitting journeys, is how toxic the process is to make super wash wool. To the best of my knowledge and from everything I’ve read, it is only done in China. The wool is exposed to chlorine gas which strips the hair of its barbs, then coated in plastic, also known as a polymer resin or Hercosett 215. This is why some super wash wool feels really slippery.  Super wash wool just isn’t wool anymore (IMO). Instead of shrinking after washing, super wash “wool” stretches. All the amazing properties of real wool are eliminated from the fibre.

Before Christmas, I made my sister a hat with super wash (not knowing any better). After I soaked it for blocking, it stretched out to an enormous size, I had to throw it in the dryer but even then it was still too big. Then I made socks and again, they were slouchy, wouldn’t stay up and twisted on the foot.

I have made a pledge to myself, only purchase pure, untreated wool, from local vendors and from mostly Canadian sheep. Of course Yak, alpaca and other natural, untreated fibres are also welcome.

Acrylic yarn almost completely destroyed the wool industry when it came out in the 80’s. I’ll be purging and sending that plastic string off to my local charity shop.

I hope that I’ve helped educate you a little, so the next time you’re in the big box craft store, you’ll think twice before grabbing that acrylic or super wash “wool”. Remember, if the processes to produce super wash wool are so toxic that it can only be performed in China, do you want to have it against your skin or the skin of your baby?

There are many online shops all over the world which offer natural fibres. I have found that real, untreated wool can be in the same price range as synthetics or super wash and are far more environmentally safe.

Look for this symbol when sourcing real, untreated wool.

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