Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A new idea to consume my time

So recently I decided that I really needed to understand more about spinning. Much more than the person who taught me was able to help me with. I have long wanted to take some "advanced" spinning classes to pick brains (so to speak) and get answers to all the questions I have and a bit of direction too. Unfortunately---they think we don't like to spin in the South and there are not many classes to choose from (that I could find anyways).
One program I thought I might do is the master spinner program through Olds College in Ontario Canada. I do have family near there but no matter that---it is far away. They also periodically have one in Oklahoma---again a distance for me.
So when I stumbled on the Handweaver's Guild of America and their Certificate of Excellence in spinning (or weaving or a number of other things) I sent off for the guide book to peruse and see if it would work for me. The study and work involved is very similar in scope and style to the Olds College program. Most of the work is done at home---in your own time---then sent off to be evaluated. Eventually you pass (I assume anyways :-D) and receive your certificate.
My reason for doing this is that I would like to teach spinning. However---I do not want to be the type of teacher I had who would say "you will get into that later" or "I am not sure" or "it should be in the book I had you purchase from me". I want to be able to "teach" not just offer some mediocre instruction. I like to learn from books and have always had good luck with it but I do understand that not all people favor that style of learning. So..if I say "well look in the book" or "I don't know" basically I have failed them in their quest to better understand this "skill". I mean really--some people learn better by watching than reading. So as a teacher you should both be able to direct them to good manuals and books and also give visual instruction too.
Anyways, besides defining some terms related to a number of things involving spinning wheels, dying, plying and spinning there is a lot of actual spinning of fibers (surprise surprise aye!). Just for the wool section alone I have to have five different breeds of sheep wool supposedly trying to have different "aspects" for each one: A fine wool (I chose merino) a luster wool (wensleydale) a carpet wool (navajo churro) etc. I am also supposed to start with raw wool and wash, card and prep it for spinning myself.
Of course I will use some of my own Icelandic but studying other breeds enables me to understand the different reasons you would choose them over Icelandic because lets face it---no one fiber is perfect for every project. It also helps me understand more about my own fleeces so when I sell them I can help people choose the right one for their project.
Of course wool isn't the only thing to spin. I have to spin cotton, flax, synthetics and some protein fibers that are not wool (think Alpaca or angora bunnies here).
There are also sections to show different styles you can get either through plying techniques or also dying (or both together).
Should be fun---though I think it will probably take a while which must be why they give you a two year period to accomplish it in. are some pictures of my fleeces that came today.
There is a cotswald lamb to the left, a very crimpy merino on the top right and a pound of wensleydale lamb in my kitchen sink soaking. I will try and keep up with pictures of my progress though I do forget sometimes in my "glee" to be finished with something.
By the way---we have stalled totally on our house as all extra income goes into stockpiling hay for the next year--which is not cheap right now. Eventually we will have more pictures of some progress on the house (hopefully! since it seems never ending sometimes.)

1 comment:

Robbyn said...

How exciting, Monica!

Those fleeces must be so much fun to experiment with, and with this being all by hand and custom-choosing your fibers, it's art! SO happy you'll be teaching it...what fun! The shawl looks great, btw

We have rain here now...trying really hard to send some your way :)