Kinda like self-sufficient living, eh, just go with me on this...
I have a dream. Ok, I have many dreams...but one in particular is someday having our own farm with a sweet cow to milk (oh how I miss milking cows!), barn cats to drink the milk, chickens running all over, and most importantly sheep grazing in the fields. Ahhh, yes...sheep. Sheep that my girls can love and tend to, sheep that our dog can herd, and most importantly sheep that I can sheer to spin and weave their yarn into clothing and items for our home. It is a simple yet heavenly dream.
Before I can live this dream I need - well, money first and foremost, but I also need to learn how to do every step it takes from taking the wool off the sheep to having a finished item. Over the years I have been learning bit by bit. It does seem as though I am going somewhat backwards in the process as I learned to knit and dye yarn first, although one of my jobs was to care for the sheep when I was a volunteer at the Gentle Barn years before then so maybe I am not all that backwards...
My teacher's spinning books
Last month I moved ever so slightly closer to my dream by learning how to spin my own yarn out of cleaned and carded wool. My local yarn shop was hosting a series of spinning classes that went from the drop spindle to the spinning wheel. I started out with the drop spindle so that way I can teach K when she's a little older. Plus with money being such a huge issue for us right now and a drop spindle costing a LOT less than a spinning wheel, it was really the only way to go (maybe someday before we have our farm I can afford a wheel).
Some of my teacher's spindles set up and her lazy kate in the background
Using a drop spindle was nothing like I thought it would be. I admit I was a bit hesitant and wondered how I could have the patience to make yarn in such a manner but after just a half an hour of practicing I was completely hooked. It goes a lot faster than I envisioned and what a meditation it is! I could feel my stress melting away as each bit of fiber twisted down from my fingers to the spindle.
Now, as much as I was loving it, you could tell it was my first try. My yarn had so many lumps and bumps it looked like it was in a fight. My teacher told me that they would lessen over time with more and more practice. So what did I do after class? Practice! K really enjoyed watching me, so that made it even easier. I practiced on and off during the week, still with lots of lumps. Then when it came time for my next class, I tried a heavier spindle, took it a bit slower and to my surprise I had relatively even yarn!
You could see a huge difference between the yarn I worked on last week (the spindle to the back in the above picture) and the yarn I had just worked on that class (the spindle in front).
My funky two-ply yarn
So we took my yarn from the first class and the yarn I had just spun and then spun them together to make a two-ply yarn. It looks kind of crazy and I don't know what I would ever be able to knit out of it but I have a feeling I will be hanging on to it anyway.
My homemade lazy kate
I have to add that my teacher was amazing and she showed us so many ways to be frugal and save money with spinning our own yarn (which is one of the reasons why I wanted to learn how to do all of this in the first place - have you seen the price of nice yarn?! Eeeeeek!!!). She mentioned that spinning could become expensive, like any hobby if you go out and buy every little accessory and gadget, but really you don't need them. Just keep it simple - my kind of philosophy! She brought me in a shoe box and a couple of wooden dowels so I could have my own lazy kate to make two-ply yarn with at home. Just what I needed!
So, with all of that said: (and wow,that was a lot, guess thats what happens when I don't get the chance to post for while) I have found a new love, a new way to save money, and a new step towards my dream. Now off to the lovely little ball of pink roving waiting to be spun and knitted. Practice, practice, practice!
Wishing you all the sweetest of dreams!
Have a great weekend everyone!!