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  • Writer's picturePam Shelmidine

Do you spin?

Most often times when you hear the words spin or spinning you think of something political or athletic. In my world however, spinning is with an actual spinning wheel! Yup, people do actually still use them! Below is a photo of me spinning at an exhibit at the county fair a couple of years ago. The wheel I was using is a CPW (Canadian Production Wheel).

This kind of wheel was made in Quebec in the mid 1800’s to about 1940, its main features being a large drive wheel, iron fittings, and a tilt tensioning system. With such a large drive wheel, this unit has the capability of mass producing yarn in a short amount of time. I have to admit, it took me a little while to get the hang of this wheel in comparison to the one I normally use, as it spins so much faster. I had to be on my spinning A Game to produce a good product! My everyday wheel is an Ashford Traveller, which only has an 18inch wheel, so it spins yarn at a much slower rate, but perfect for my tastes! Here’s a shot of my little buddy getting ready for a big spinning project for a friend ~ 5lbs of navy blue wool for a sweater! As you can see, the Traveller is much smaller than the CPW.

Once I got the hang of spinning, I found it to be very meditative. The sound of the wheel and the motion of drafting the fibers is calming. Although, there are some fibers that tend to make spinning alittle more stressful! Slippery fibers, like angora and silk, will make you slow down and focus more than you would with wool, sometimes even having to change my drafting method. My personal favorite is a combination of wool, silk and alpaca fibers. The properties of wool combined with the shine of silk and the warmth of alpaca make this a perfect yarn for mittens, hats and scarves in my opinion. Although they have to be hand washed or dry cleaned, which can be a pain, I still prefer to use the natural fiber yarns when creating a project versus an acrylic yarn. I find the drape of the created fabric to be better when using natural fiber yarns in knitting. While some acrylics can be very soft (they have come a long way in the past 20 years!), there is still a marked difference in the end product. (I may be a bit of a yarn snob though, because of spinning)

You can check out some of my spinning projects here on our website, but I suggest that you stop by the shop to play touchy-feely with the real thing! The selection of yarns at the shop fluctuates greatly ~ depending on how quick I am spinning and how quick people are buying. Fall is quickly approaching, and that is my favorite spinning time of the whole year! Right this second, shop inventory is low, but I just finished two skeins last night, and have another one in the works today, so I am getting inventory restocked as quick as possible. Below is a shot of one I finished last night ~ 100% Alpaca fiber (about 4oz of Aran weight) spun up so that it make stripes of the chocolate brown and white when knit up. Fibers are from 2 local alpaca farms here in Jefferson County.

The next shot is of the other skein I just finished. It is a blend of wool, mohair and silk. WOW it is so soft and squishy! Its 4 oz of bulky weight yarn~about 98 yards total. Fiber is from Allons y! fiber arts, the colorway is Of Sand & Shells. This is one to come and play touchy-feely with! These may get listed for sale online, but I’m not sure yet ~ I guess if you are interested, let me know!

So this concludes our talk about spinning today, I’ll talk more in-depth about spinning in another post soon!

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