Saturday was a long day, trying to figure out how to work the spinning wheel. I have a very old Singer treadle sewing machine, so the treadling action was quite easy. There are lots of helpful – and some not-so-helpful – spinning wheel videos and tutorials online. Most of them assume that you have a certain amount of knowledge already, which I didn’t. They all assume, for instance, that you should already know that the bobbin should spin freely on the flyer spindle. I didn’t know that. My bobbin did not spin freely, and there was a considerably frustrating time where the wheel and flyer were spinning nicely but the leader yarn was not winding on. I managed to work it out for myself, drawing deeply on vague memories about velocity and momentum from O’ Level physics lessons. I wrapped some sandpaper round the handle of a paintbrush to sand the middle of the bobbin so that it could spin freely on the spindle better – and it was like magic. The joy and elation when it worked are indescribable. It was like being in a fairytale.
My first attempt – some Blue-Faced Leicester roving – admittedly looks a little more like rope than yarn:
The following day I tried some silk/merino mix:
I plyed two lengths together and knitted it into a little holder for my mobile phone:
And then I had a go at spinning some hand-dyed silk throwster’s waste, not expecting to get anything at all:
I know that there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I think this is a fine start for an absolute novice. It’s a wonderful thing.
You're welcome to pick your way through threads and stitches, but I'd be really grateful if you could be kind enough to refrain from pinning.