Monday, February 20, 2017

Leaving Wisconsin

What a tightly packed slice of life a five-day event like the Master Spinner class is! You laugh, you cry, you get frustrated when you don't get it, you get exhilarated when the lightbulb goes off. If you're lucky, you make new best friends. At worst, there are people you are glad to be well shot of, and because it's only five days you get to do that fairly quickly. We had three strong alpha personalities in our class, and at time there was friction. But I think we all got out with goodwill intact. Out of the rest of the class, nine are definitely taking the level two class together again next spring, one is definitely not, and two are on the fence. I am one of the on-the-fence ones as I wasn't planning to wait that long to take it, and, besides, Wisconsin in February isn't always 70 degree days...

But that's the next level. For this level I have a full fleece to process. After it's processed (skirted, soaked, scoured and dried), I have to spin woolen and worsted skeins from the legs, shoulders, sides, back, britch and belly, make a finished (woven, crocheted or knitted) sample from each skein (12 in all), and write a detailed description of the look and feel of each part of the fleece indicating what it would be good for.

The other big portion of the homework is the breed study. We are to collect raw fleece samples from ten different breeds of sheep (and the instructor and some local members of the class mostly supplied those), scour them, prepare them for spinning (card, flick, or tease), spin both woolen and worsted skeins from them, and prepare a finished sample (crocheted, knit, or woven). The physical spinning and prep is one thing, but because this is a college-level course, there is also a lot of writing. We need to write descriptions of the sheep, the fleece, and an evaluation of the yarn this particular fiber would be appropriate for.

There are also natural dyeing exercises, blending wool with tussah and bombyx silk, the usage of different spinning equipment, alternative fiber prep methods, and more on alternative spinning techniques. And of course write-ups on all of it. At the end of the level is the final project. It begins with pairing an appropriate type of fleece with a pattern or design, and then executing every step of the project all the way through the finish. The fleece is scoured, prepared for spinning, and spun. At some point, either the fiber, the yarn or the finished piece is dyed in natural dyes (which we are to source--maybe collect--ourselves), and the yarn is crocheted, knitted or woven into a finished piece. Of course there is a written report that needs to accompany the project with a justification for all of the choices made and --pluses and minuses. I'm thinking I'll use my sock knitter to make a pair of hand-dyed, handspun wool socks.

All of these projects required a bunch of material, and I am very grateful to Ingrid of Spry Whimsy for shipping my great, big, bow of stuff to me tomorrow. I love you Ingrid!!

For tonight, I sit at O'Hare airport waiting to board my flight to Austin. Taxes and glass await me there. And sleep. In my own bed. With my spouse. Heaven.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Glass? Wool? Glass? Wool? Glass? ...Books!!!