HTS Newsletter, June, 2013
Volunteer editor: Gary Lee Phillips, tivo.overo at gmail.com
Our next meeting will take place on Saturday, June 8, at 10:00 am at Cherry Lane Farm, 18311 Garden Valley Road, Marengo (Just south of The Fold, on the south side of Garden Valley and the second place on that side after you turn off from Millstream Road. The farm name is painted on the antique barn. Watch for any signs indicating where to park.) This meeting features a special guild workshop with Carol Rhoades, on Spinning to Mill Spun Yarns (details below.)
July 13 meeting reminder: Garage Sale and Swap with Picnic Lunch.
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The deadline for the next newsletter will be June 29, 2013. If you are submitting material for inclusion in the newsletter, I really would appreciate having it by the deadline.
For those of you who get SpinOff magazine make sure you look at the Winter 2013 issue. Page 80 is the article by Carol Huebscher Rhoades and Elizabeth Prose on spinning yarn to match millspun yarns.
Carol will be presenting a three hour workshop on just that.
One of the joys of handspinning is using your own special yarn for a knitted, crocheted, or woven textile. If you produce the yarn first, then you have to find a pattern it will work with. If, on the other hand, you've selected a pattern first, then you need to spin a yarn that closely, if not exactly, matches the recommended yarn. This takes some thinking, planning, and focused spinning but the more you work ahead, the better your yarn is likely to be for the given project.
In this workshop, we'll discuss and practice some of the important factors necessary for approximating a millspun yarn:
After some spinning exercises to practice and experiment with each of the factors above, we'll finish with matching some specific yarns. If you have yarns that you'd like to match, please bring them and a small amount of similar fiber if on hand.
Special skills or experience needed: basic spinning experience
Class time: 3 hours with a one hour lunch break in the middle.
Materials Fee: $5.00 for handouts and an assortment of prepared fibers
Equipment students should bring to class:
For those of you who are new to spinning let me introduce Carol to you.
Carol Rhoades lives in Madison, Wisconsin with a basement room (and some garage space) full of wool. Carol has taught spinning classes around the U.S. and abroad (U.K., Norway, Denmark, and New Zealand). She has written many articles for Spin-Off magazine and has given presentations at several meetings of the World Congress on Coloured Sheep.
Carol learned to spin in 1975 after discovering the craft while on a bicycle trip across northern Europe. A college friend lived in Tilburg, Netherlands, an old textile town and Carol happened to be visiting on a “life on the farm” day. She went home to Austin Texas and signed up for beginning spinning class in the University of Texas Informal classes program. It wasn't long before she had an Ashford wheel ($50.00 new and shipped from New Zealand!) and a few fleeces. She loves to experiment with various fibers to challenge herself and learn new skills.
This will be a hands on workshop. Grab your spinning wheel and your brown bag lunch and come join us. The guild meeting will start at 10am with Carol starting her presentation at 10:30. At 12:00 noon we will take a lunch break. There is a refrigerator available to us for our lunches if you need something kept cold. The workshop will resume at 1pm and run until 2:30pm. Seating is limited, so please if you have not already told me you would be attending, please let me know as soon as possible. Carol will also need to know how many participants to be ready for.
We will be meeting at Cherry Lane Farm, 18311 Garden Valley Road, Marengo, Il. This is just down the road and around the corner from the Fold. Of course, out in the country that can mean any distance. But for real, it is very close to The Fold. The $5.00 materials fee is payable to Carol at the time of the workshop and will cover the cost of the fibers and handouts. The guild is sponsoring the workshop, so there will be no class fee.
Our workshop at Cherry Lane Farm will be held in the antique barn which has been beautifully cared for and restored. Gardens maintained by Master Gardeners invite you to ”take time to stop and smell the roses.” This will be a beautiful setting in which to spend a summers day among friends and while spinning.
Don't forget, if you have not already done so, be sure to let me know if you will be attending the workshop.
(Field, A. (2011). Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics (Rev. Ed.). North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square.)
Anne Field is known for her conviction that wool spins best when the twists per inch in the final plied yarn is equal to the crimps per inch of the unspun staples, and the wraps per inch of the unwashed plied yarn should be twice the twists per inch of the plied yarn. It gets more complicated. Because freshly plied yarn blooms after it’s been washed, Field includes a washing allowance. When Field walks one through the figuring (pp. 91-2, e.g.), the arithmetic can be mind-numbing.
Field is aware of the limitations of her method, and regularly reminds spinners that different uses justify varying the formula. Warp yarn or yarn that will be used for rugged outerwear might benefit from more twist than the formula recommends. Soft knitting yarn may improve with slightly less twist, as knitting adds twist to the yarn (p. 57). Field even admits that many spinners would prefer to just sit and spin as the mood takes them. However, one wonders if she really means it. She does seem to insist sometimes that her method can be relaxing, too (p. 88).
While the above description can make Spinning Wool seem daunting, Field’s work is actually quite approachable. Spinning Wool is aimed at the intermediate spinner, at persons who are ready to appreciate the variety of wools, wheels and techniques out there. Field’s earlier chapters on the properties of wool (p. 13), eighteen different breeds (pp. 37-54), and the basic mechanics of spinning wheels (pp. 60-8), were quite helpful to me in Unit One of this course. Field is a clear writer, with enough detail to be helpful without being patronizing. Indeed, my only serious criticism is not so much with Field’s writing as with the pictures. The photographs demonstrating spinning techniques are in black and white and taken from something of a distance (p. 107, e.g.). It is difficult in general to teach physical craft skills in words and pictures, a problem that Field acknowledges (p. 118). Fewer words and more pictures might have been helpful.
Field’s emphasis on spinning to match the crimp does have a point. Finer, crimpier wools do seem to prefer being spun finer and tighter than coarser, barely wavy wools. Paying attention to the quirks of the wool does help retain the wool’s natural characteristics (p. 100). What’s the point of hand spinning if the joy of playing with the wool’s natural characteristics doesn’t inform the process?
As a person who would rather just sit and spin as the mood takes me, Field’s attention to detail does sometimes lose me. I will probably never be a Fieldian spinner. However, I would love to take a course with her, walking through the details, as part of a class. While I doubt the experience would change my basic approach to spinning, I am sure I would benefit from the challenge and expand the range of the yarns I produce. Field remains a useful resource on my shelf.
Programs for the new year are listed below. Some events may still be tentative.
If you know of an upcoming event, or have a press release or web link, send it to Gary (tivo.overo at gmail.com) in time for the previous month's deadline in order to make sure it gets into the newsletter in time.
Space permitting, members and their friends may submit notices and classified advertisements to appear here.
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We are running a Web-based newsletter instead of e-mailing the actual document. This should mean that anyone with access to the internet will be able to see the newsletter, regardless of the kind of computer or software they are using. Most public libraries now have internet browser access as well. An e-mail will be sent to members once a month when the newsletter is ready, reminding them to look at it and print it if they wish. Please let us know what you think. E-mail the editor, Gary Phillips, or guild manager Toni Neil with your comments or suggestions.
Meetings are on the second Saturday of each month unless otherwise announced. The newsletter should be ready by the Monday before the meeting. Please submit items, announcements, etc. to the newsletter editor, Gary, at least a full week in advance of the newsletter date (TWO weeks before the next meeting.)