By the end of the morning, I'd spun one whole bobbin and Vikki then showed me how to Navajo ply it. This sort of plying is good if you have long colour changes in your fibre. It creates a 3 ply bouncy yarn, good for socks!
We had a break in the afternoon and went to a local yarn shop where I bought some buttons for my Peasy cardigan. Then it was back to the spinning! I tried to spin some thinner yarn, and filled another bobbin before spending the rest of the evening knitting. Sunday was a full day of spinning! I had a go at plying some of my yarn with some tiny beads threaded onto quilting cotton. You could also use a laceweight yarn for this. It was really hard to control the release of the beads whilst plying and not get into a tangle, so I was very grateful for Edwina's help. She did the same thing for Vikki later in the day, as you can see below!
Vikki was plying her yarn with some really pretty beads. They added a lovely sparkle to her yarn. Here's how mine ended up. Not quite Tilli Thomas yet, but it gives me something to aim for!
I spun up the rest of my singles into a 2ply yarn - it's come out at about double knit thickness. I think that I'll probably dye it with some Kool-Aid and then knit it up. It's lovely and sproingy!
Vikki then showed me how to combine various fibres to card my own batts. I used a whole mixture of things including merino, silk, crab fibre, (yes, you did read correctly - it's a waste product made from crab shells and feels just like silk!) some acrylic and some sparkly bits to produce a small batt.
You can see some of the fibres being laid onto one of the carders. I did this four times to make enough to spin with. I loved the sparkly bits! I'm such a kid! Here's what my batt looked like. It's quite fragile so you have to handle it gently.
I then learned a new spinning technique - core spinning. You hold a single out straight, and then draft fibre onto it at an angle. The fibre wraps itself around the central core of the single, and gives a really interesting texture. Mine is a little overspun because I used a handspun single and then plied it the wrong way, so I was adding even more twist to the yarn! Oops! But I soaked it and weighted it overnight and have ended up with some knittable yarn.
It was a really inspiring weekend - just look at some of the yarn that Vikki's spun. It gives me so much to aim for!
And of course, I didn't leave empty handed. Well, if I'm going to improve my spinning, I'm going to need some fibre, aren't I?! I may be on a yarn diet, but fibre's different, isn't it?! I bought three skeins of merino and silk fibre. I think that I'll have a go at dyeing these first.
I also bought three skeins of merino and silk dyed in a pretty pink and yellow colour scheme. It would be amazing to be able to spin up enough yarn to knit something other than a scarf! I shall hold on to these until I'm spinning more consistently I think!
Paula, the proprietor of the Westcliffe Hotel, looked after us so well all weekend. We had delicious homecooked food and nothing was too much trouble for her. She has a whole range of knitting holidays on offer throughout the year, so have a look to see if anything takes your fancy.
I couldn't wait to get spinning this morning to practise some of what I'd learnt this weekend. I delved into the box of fibre, looking for some BFL to use. I found some roving from the Skein Queen in the colourway Carmelita Spats.
I've spun it as a single straight from the roving, and am planning to Navajo ply it to show off the long colour runs.
I'll show you the finished yarn next time. But now my spinning wheel is calling out to me, not to mention my bag of knitting that feels a little neglected!! See you soon! xxx