While I was at Pennsic, I taught a friend to spin on the drop spindle, using the park-and-draft technique that worked for me at my first Sheep & Wool festival. Then she helped me teach two people to knit with the yarn and needles that I’d specifically bought for teaching and giving away. Everyone caught on impressively fast, and we had some great knitting circles in camp when it was too hot to do much of anything else!

The day after I got home, I plied the BFL that I spun up last week. I solved the conundrum of uneven weights by just going with a two-ply, then using the leftovers to practice Navajo plying. (I definitely need more practice with that.) It came out to about the same thickness as the first skein, so I have about 150 yards of yarn to work with. I’m thinking armwarmers or a hat; it’s very bright and autumn-colored. I also solved the problem of only having four bobbins by discovering that I actually have six! Two were hiding in the bag with the updated flyer, which is now on the wheel although I haven’t shortened the second drive band for the smaller whorls.

Then I tried to spin up some of the alpaca fleece, and wow, that’s kinda difficult. It’s very slippery and practically drafts itself into a super-fine single. The finer the yarn, the more twist is required, so I treadled super-fast for the super-fine, and it seemed okay as I spun. I stopped every couple of yards to test the strength of the single just to be sure. But the fluff kept slipping and breaking, and then the single from the bobbin would break as I unwound it to begin again. Obviously more practice is required with alpaca as well as with Navajo plying! (Advice is appreciated, too.)

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One Response to “In Which the Pirate Teaches.”
  1. Janis says:

    You could try setting up a shorter band and use the smaller whorls since it needs more twist. When a single breaks, catch it as soon as possible and very carefully unwind from the bobbin. Breaking will untwist long portions of the single, even if wound on the bobbin, so it might take a bit to find a part that it spun tight enough to restart with.

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