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Monday, May 11, 2009

Updates & Comprehensive Handspinning

I just spent a fantastic three days in a Celia Quinn workshop. I don't know how many of you have heard of her, but she is fantastic. She lives in Homer, Alaska, so she didn't have to come too far to teach us, but she does classes all around the world. She's been spinning since 1975 I think, and so she's seen a ton. She has all sorts of samples and techniques and advice. It was very wonderful.

I've been spinning since 1999, and I learned a TON in this class.

There were a few important things I learned that I want to note:
1. How to spin long draw.
2. Long draw should always be used with short fibers, as worsted-style spinning makes it next to impossible.
3. Worsted spinning has greater sheen/luster, while long draw spinning is fluffier and lighter, usually with some sort of halo.
4. Cotton is not the enemy!
5. Short-staple fibers should be spun thinly (i.e. spin cotton in the thickness of a paper clip wire or thinner)

I'll take pictures of my first cotton yarn (which I spun worsted, the only way I was familiar with) and the cotton samples I spun (which were my second cottons). There's a huge difference in them.

Including a few practice fibers, we spun 97 different samples of fibers. We spun wools, mohairs, llama, alpaca, yak, cashmere, silks (both silk tops and right from the cocoon [with a pupa still inside!!]), cottons, downs, guard hairs, qiviut, horse hair [something I've wanted to do for a LOOONG time], flax, ramie, ingeo, rayon, polyester, and many many many more.

Celia offers several classes, including a dyeing workshop. If you get the chance to take one of her classes, DO IT. I had a fantastic time, and I learned a ton.

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