Saturday, October 04, 2008

Spinning Class with Judith MacKenzie McCuin

The North Country Spinners held its biennial Fibre Fallout last weekend. It was just wonderful. The organizers worked very hard to ensure that we all had a great fiber weekend. I had a chance to learn from two great teachers, Judith MacKenzie McCuin and Lily Chin. This entry will be about Judith M.M.'s class for two simple reasons: a. I have photos and b. it came first.

Judith is a wonder of information and fiber wisdom. Among the many subjects, Judith talked about different wheels and how to use them. Judith emphasizes that because it's so hard to change ones habits, it's imperative to get to know how to adjust the wheel to be able to spin and ply a variety of different yarn.

We experimented with a number of fibers, the first of which was Shetland. It was my most successful attempt of the day -- I actually succeeded in spinning and plying (back on itself) a short length lofty yarn. Judith joked that she'd like 50 pounds of it, please, as soon as possible! We learned how to draw fiber from superwash merino across the top of a fan created by the open sliver. To make it a harder lesson we were given up to five colors of superwash to play with. I am not terribly adept at this and will have to practice a lot.

Judith talked about making appropriate yarns for the intended object. For example, for socks, a good, round yarn is needed. To achieve this, a three ply works best. The photos are of Judith's three strand plying technique. I also have little videos but don't yet know how to transfer my camera's videos.

The first photo of Judith's hands is how NOT to ply 3 strands. The second is how she holds the strands so that all three ply evenly.