Thursday, January 25, 2007

walk with me wednesday, at the wheel

I did get out for my walk today...but it was early morning, just after chores and I did not bring my camera. It was a brisk walk, off road and up the mountain where the property is for sale. I found an area of turkey feathers and what was left of the turkey. The carnage left me thinking about the harsh realities of nature in winter, and wondering who the predator was. The woods took on a different feeling, and I decided to walk on the road for the rest of the walk.

Later in the day, I made some time to "walk" again, only this time, inside, next to my wheel.I remember the first time I had the experience of spinning at a Great Wheel. It was at the Philadelphia College of Art, and the wheel was mounted on the wall. The wheel was spun and we were taught to walk backwards while drafting out the fibers. This was why they called it a Walking Wheel, I was told.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I have read stories of how women walked over 20 miles a day while they would spin. I have read about how the children would spin the wheel while their mothers would draft, walking clear across the room. I have also seen photographs of "wool fingers" that the spinner would use to assist her in being able to walk farther away from the wheel.Now that I have my own Great Wheel, I realize that I do very little "walking" while I spin. If anything, I do more of a step back, step forward...keeping my one foot in place and moving the other. Keeping the right foot somewhat stationary is a habit I developed, so as not to trip over the leg of my wheel, which protrudes out from the bench at an angle.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I have been reading "Handspinning Art and Technique" by Allen Fannin, since Judy loaned it to me earlier this week. The first thing I realized that I need to do is "educate the hand" that controls the drive wheel. It has to learn to think independently from the rest of my body...and be "aware" of how many turns it is making on the wheel. I was happy to read that I had already taught myself to spin by using the same spoke on the wheel all the time, and not spin in a "free wheeling" style. Actually, it was my wheel that first suggested that I do this. I know that sounds a bit strange, but one of the spokes on my wheel is very smooth and well worn--much more so than any of the other spokes. When I noticed this, I deduced that it was because of being handled so much. I assumed that you were supposed to use just one spoke to do most of the turning.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Drafting on the Great Wheel is becoming easier, and I have read enough to feel confident that I am building a proper yarn package. I had been having trouble with the tips of my cone shaped cops collapsing, which I now understand is due to the low tpi of the yarn. I had bit of a chuckle over this...on the one hand I felt vindicated that it was the yarn, and not the spinner causing the problem....but in the same vein, the spinner is making the ultimately the responsibility is mine! In this case, I need to change the structure to a roving build, which is the torpedo looking package. Mystery solved, both yarn packages are correct.


Judy said...

I am glad you are enjoying the book and I hope it helped. I need to spin but I don't like what I am spinnning. I think I have to take the drumcarder out and card some of the Finn.

judy said...

What a great idea for a walk. I have an electric spinner that I use sometimes when my back is just too sore to sit and spin. I walk backwards to the other side of the room and back as I spin.
It is funny how the predator thing still affects us, I have had the same sort of experience.

Fiberjoy said...

Wandering the woods brings a sense of calm and right
Until when in dark shadows a twig snaps and I start in fright.
Feeling amber eyes watching - my heart hammering,
The sedate roads is more secure for this day's ambling.

Claire said...

What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing :-)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin