The first thing we did was fondle lots of fleece, and I have to say that my tastes fall at the luxury end of the fibre market - alpaca, silk, merino, cashmere.......... We were each given a little pile of fleece, and shown how to card it.
Carding puts all the fibres in the right direction, and removes bits of debris! The carded fibre is called a rolag. We made a few before we were let loose on the wheels!
I have to say that I was complete rubbish when I first started on the wheel. I couldn't get it to go round the right way, and the fibre kept breaking. But things did improve, and after a while, I'd spun this much ...........................
Becky and her mum, Christine, were excellent teachers. We had regular breaks for yarn fondling/purchasing, eating yummy chocolate brownies and drinking mugs of tea. Before I knew it, I'd spun two bobbins full like this ............................
My second bobbin of yarn was much better than my first, with far less lengths of overspun yarn. It was amazing what we achieved in such a short time! Then came the plying - twisting the two bobbins of yarn to make one. To achieve this, you have to make the spinning wheel go the opposite way round (anticlockwise). I'd been brilliant at this at the start, when I needed to make it go clockwise, and it had gone round anticlockwise, but now all it wanted to do was go clockwise!! After a bit of gentle coaxing, I succeeded in making it turn the correct way, and produced one fat bobbin of plied yarn. This was then wound onto a niddy-noddy (what a great word!) to produce a skein of yarn.
I still have to wash it and let it dry with a weight on it (not quite sure why that's needed), and then decide what to do with it!! There are thick bits, thin bits, overspun bits and underspun bits, but I don't care! I feel really proud of my first efforts at spinning, and I think that it probably won't be my last!