Thursday, April 19, 2007



Noel Thurner leads my NGCSU class in spindle spinning...

My friend, Noel, came to my class last night to introduce the students to hand spinning using a spindle. She has a wonderful way to introduce spinning with a top whorl spindle by asking the students to stand behind her and simply watch her. Over the course of a few minutes she repeats the motions, gradually beginning to whisper three words: "pinch, pull, pinch"...then after a minute or so of that, begins to say: "pinch, pull, pinch...wind on." After about five minutes of this process she talks her way through the whole thing. She says she wants the students to get the motions into motor memory and watching, first, rather than just listening to her speak about it can help that happen.

The class was almost three hours long and during that time the students went from using a nostepinne to learn to wind a ball (that they later used to wind a ball of their handspun, from which they used both inside and outside ends to make a 2-ply yarn), to spinning a pencil roving into a single strand and then making a 2-ply from it. She then passed out finnish wool roving, showed them how to attenuate the fibers and to spin from a "bracelet" of the roving.

She also demonstrated carding and making a tightly rolled rolag -- using a dowel around which to roll the fiber (rather than a more loosely rolled one straight from the card). And she also showed them how Viking wool combs are used to prepare for worsted spinning.

All in all, it was an amazing amount of information and the students all went away thoroughly excited about the possibilities of hand spinning with a spindle...all but one of them, in fact, checked out a spindle and took several handfuls of Gotland roving to spin over the weekend.

I was one of the students, as well, since I haven't spun in years--and never very well when I was spinning! I'm going to make time to learn enough about it to use it as an introductory lesson next fall for my beginning weaving class.

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