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Spinning Classes

I love to teach, and am willing to travel to almost anywhere to share my love and knowledge of spinning. Please contact me if you are interested in arranging a spinning workshop.

 

Half-day Classes

 

Understanding your Spinning Wheel (half day)

Learn how your spinning wheel works and how to adjust it to spin the yarn that you want. This class will teach you the parts of a wheel, and how they all work together. Once you understand how to control your wheel (rather than having it control you), you can choose what type of yarn to spin and not be limited to spinning the same weight or type of yarn forever.

Perfect Plying (half day)

The singles you spun were gorgeous, but what happened when you plied the yarn? This class will start with the basic plying techniques for creating smooth evenly plied yarns, in a 2-ply, 3-ply or more. You will learn how to do Navajo or chained plying, as well as Andean plying.

Meet the Ply Brothers, Navajo and Andean  (half day)

You’ve heard them talked about, but aren’t quite sure how to go about making their acquaintance. In this class you will meet Navajo plying, whose specialty is making a 3-ply yarn using one bobbin of singles. He has a few more tricks up his sleeve and you will also learn his secrets for making a 4-ply yarn and an easy novelty yarn.  You will also be introduced to Andean plying, an easy technique for plying short amounts of yarn into a 2-ply yarn without assistance from their sister, Lazy Kate.  Bring one bobbin with spun singles, any weight. You will also need a second bobbin and a Lazy Kate (for the Navajo plying).

 Spinning on a Support Spindle (half day)

Spindles come in all sizes and shapes and a good many of them are meant to be spun with the spindle resting in a bowl, the hand, or on the ground. Some of these spindles are specialized, such as the tahkli for cotton or the Russian support spindle for Orenburg Lace. The technique for using any of these supported spindles is basically the same, and is also used on a charka or a great wheel. In this class, you will learn to spin on a basic support spindle resting on the table in front of you. After learning the basics, you will also be able to try out other types of supported spindles, such as a tahkli, a Turkish, an ahka or a Navajo spindle. We will also discuss why these spindles are used, and what fibers or techniques are best suited to a support spindle. Spindles will be provided for class.

Knitting Shetland Lace (half day)

Shetland Lace shawls, known for their fine, delicate appearance, are knit out of the finest fibers from the Shetland sheep. The shawls use a variety of traditional knitting patterns and are constructed by knitting a center square and then an outside border. In this class, you will learn about the history of the Shetland shawl and how the shawl has been adapted to more modern knitting tools. You will begin knitting a small sample shawl, starting with the center square, then will add the border edge.  You will learn how to finish and block the shawl. Students should be comfortable with basic knitting skills.

Spindles, Around the Whirled (half day)

Spindle spinning is a world wide practice, although it takes many forms. In this class, we survey a variety of spindles, look at their history, their design, and their function. You will learn to spin on a basic spindle, ply your spun yarn, and wind it into a center pull ball.  The spindle and the yarn are yours to take home. You will join the millions of women who, throughout history, have learned to use this basic tool. The craft of spindle spinning is truely an art form.

Braiding a Wrist Distaff (2 hours)

A wrist distaff is used to hold your fiber while you are spinning on a spindle. It keeps the fiber out of the way of the spindle, so the unspun fibers are not caught in the spindle unexpectedly. In this class, you will learn a simple braid technique to make a wrist distaff. You will bring some of your handspun yarn to use for the braid. Commercial yarns will be provided that can be used to add a bit of glitz. Beads will also be supplied to embellish the ends of the yarns after the braid is finished. If you want to bring your own beads, they need to have a large enough hole to thread the yarn. 

Spinning Shetland for Fair-Isle (half day)

Shetland sheep are a primitive breed and their fleeces retain a large variety of colors and type. . They are particularly known for fair-isle yarns and laceweight yarns. In this class, we will focus on yarns for fair-isle knitting. This class will include a discussion of the Shetland breed, samples of the various fleece types (single- and double-coated) and sorting of a fleece to select the appropriate fiber for each type of yarn. In this class you will learn to spin to match commercial Shetland yarns in order to create the perfect yarn for knitting a Shetland heirloom sweater. We will spin 2-ply jumper weight yarn, 3-ply sport weight yarn, and a worsted weight yarn.

Spinning Shetland for Lace (half day)

Shetland is well known for its hap shawls (worn for warmth) and its wedding ring shawls, knit from very fine spun Shetland yarn. This class will include a discussion of the Shetland breed, and the history of lace making in Shetland.   We will look at commercial samples of Shetland lace-weight yarn and knitted samples of hap shawls and cobweb lace to understand how the yarns behave and how to reproduce them. In this class you will learn to spin a 2-ply lace-weight yarn and a singles cobweb yarn, suitable for knitting a fine lace shawl.

  

One-Two-or-Three Day Classes

 

Wool Combing (1-3 days) (limited to 15 students)

Wool combs may look like weapons from the middle ages, but they are extremely useful and productive tools for preparing gorgeous, smooth top for spinning. This class will cover the basics of combing on several different styles of combs (English, Viking and Russian), using a variety of different fleeces. You will also learn how to prepare fleece for combing and how to spin the top that you produce. Wool combs will be supplied, but if you already have a set, bring them to class. If some students are able to bring their own wool combs, the class size can be increased.

 2nd day (optional): Blending for Color Effect: blend colors using wool combs to create a variety of color variations

3rd day (optional): Blending Different Fibers: blend wool with a variety of other fibers (alpaca, silk, angora, flax).

What’s your Spin? (full day)

Imagine that you have just bought a lovely fleece and you want to get the most out of it. You’d like to make a shawl, a vest and a rug but each of these projects requires a different type of yarn. Now you have to decide how to spin each of them. In this class we will evaluate 3 different fleeces, and spin three different yarns from each fleece. For each fleece, we will look at the characteristics of the fleece and how to prepare it, and then spin it fine, medium and bulky. We will finish the yarns by plying and washing them.

7 Fibers for 7 Spinners (2 days)

This class will cover seven spinning techniques, from woolen to worsted, including long draw, short draw, forward draw, backward draw, and everything in-between. We will discuss how each technique will affect the finished yarn, which techniques to use with specific fiber preparations, and how to finish the yarns when washing them. The first day will be spent working with different breeds of wool. We will look at the different characteristics of the wool from each breed such as fiber length, lock structure and crimp  to see what effect each has on the finished yarn.

On the second day we will add six more fiber types such as silk, mohair, alpaca, rayon, a down fiber, and angora for a total of 7 different types of fibers. We will use the samples from the first day’s spinning to select the appropriate spinning techniques to use on the second set of fibers. Students will go home with a sample notebook with each of the wool samples and each of the other fiber types that they can use as examples for future spinning projects.

Kitchen Sink Yarns (full day)

Want to spice up your spinning life and add the WOW factor to your handspun? Add a few novelty yarns to your repertoire. These yarns are easy and quick and do not require complicated spinning techniques. We will spend the morning learning a few basic techniques to give you simple novelty yarns, and then in the afternoon, we will use these same techniques to produce fancier and more elaborate yarns. Yarns we will cover include noil, bouillon, boucle, wrap yarns, fluffy mohair and others.  After you have learned a few techniques, you will have the opportunity to use a variety of fibers to create your own original yarn.

Spinning Fine Yarns (full day)

Want to spin a lace weight yarn? Love to knit fine shawls and want to make one out of your own handspun?  In this class, you will learn how to adjust your wheel for fine fibers, and how to adapt your spinning style to accommodate a variety of fiber types. We will spin fine wool, silk, bamboo or rayon, alpaca, angora, cotton and at least one luxury fiber such as cashmere, yak or buffalo. We will also spin several fiber blends that combine the characteristics of two different fibers. Our goal will be to produce a fine, soft yarn that enhances the qualities of the fiber you are spinning.

 Spinning for Socks (full day)

Socks should be warm, elastic, insulating, comfortable, and durable. In order to meet these criteria, the yarn they are knit from must hold up its end of the bargain. In this class, using a variety of fibers, you will learn different spinning techniques, different ply structures, and ways of combining fibers to produce a sturdy sock yarn.  You will also try out several ways to spin dyed roving so that you can control the color pattern in the finished yarn. This will allow you to spin for a matching pair of socks or a pair where each sock is unique. We will end with a discussion of sock construction, sock knitting techniques, and the care of handspun socks.

Spinning Shetland for Fair-Isle (full day)

The full day version of this class includes the half-day class plus an afternoon devoted to knitting. We will discuss Fair-Isle patterns, and practice knitting of a small Fair-Isle sample. 

Spinning Shetland for Lace (full day)

The full day version of this class includes the half-day class plus an afternoon devoted to knitting. We will discuss Shetland Lace patterns, spin enough yarn to knit a small sample, and practice knitting a Shetland lace sample. 

Spinning Shetland (full day)

Spinning Shetland for Fair-Isle and Spinning Shetland for Lace can be combined into a 1-day class.

 

Other options for full day classes:

Any 2 half day classes can be combined into a full day class. For example:

Understanding your Spinning Wheel and Perfect Plying can be combined into a 1 day class.

Perfect Plying and Meet the Ply Brothers can be combined into a 1 day class, in which case crepe yarn will be covered in place of Navajo plying in the morning session.

 

For a 2-3 day class, any combination of classes can be set up. For example, a 3-day class could include What’s your Spin, Plying Techniques, and Kitchen Sink Yarns.