Last June I was able to travel down to Eugene, OR for the Black Sheep Gathering. It's a fiber festival drawing spinners from all over the Northwest together with sheep farmers and wool merchants. There's a certain hippie vibe going on in Eugene at any time, and it's amplified manyfold with the diverse crowd gathered to show sheep and other animals, buy and sell fiber, and generally hang out. It was my first fiber festival and I loved it. I bought this little Kuchulu spindle, made of Tulipwood, from the Jenkins Woodworking
booth. I had been coveting one since a lady in my knit night group showed me hers. It's small enough to hold in the palm of my hand, and so beautiful that a little toddler girl came up to me in the park in Eugene after I bought it and was trying it out. "What is it? It looks like a flower!"
Basically, for those who don't spin, this is how all yarn and thread was made before the invention of the spinning wheel. One form or other of the drop spindle. I never figured it out for the longest time, but it's relatively easy once you get the feel of it in your muscle memory, like spinning on a wheel. Last year was the "Year of the Spindle" for me and this one is the one I've been using the most. I also bought some hand-dyed fiber (75% Blue-faced Leicester, 25% silk) from Dicentra Designs
and have been spinning it a little at a time for several months. The nice thing about a Turkish style spindle is that you can remove the crossbars when you're finished spinning and have a center-pull ball ready to store and eventually ply. The lovely thing about the Kuchulu is that it makes beautiful, fine laceweight yarn. I find it incredibly fun and rewarding and am looking forward to knitting a beautiful shawl with it someday.
I finally had enough to ply and decided to do that this week, using my wheel. There's still plenty more to spin, but here's what it looks like on the bobbin. Haven't wound it off yet, but it took a few hours to ply 4 balls together. We'll see how much yardage I get out of 7 months' spinning.
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