My appreciation for fine quality wool has grown alongside my love affair with knitting. Extra fine merino... baby alpaca... Shetland wool... All so lovely against the skin and far more inviting than the typical acrylic sold at my local Spotlight. While I move and loop the beautiful yarns in my hands, my mind traces over the journey these fibres have had before they reach my needles. The process of making wool into knitting yarn. This lead me to toy with the idea of spinning my own wool.
I took action. On Saturday I became a member of my local Spinners and Weavers Guild!
After some googling and a few emails I found the group and was warming invited to attend their meeting (which also happened to be their Annual General Meeting!). When I arrived at the Community Hall I was greeted with the sound of treadling wooden wheels, chatter and laughter. Pikelets, an assortment of cakes, and cups of tea were spread out across the high table squeezed tightly into the hall kitchen. I watched as the ladies each took a turn at show and tell, and I learnt about a unique breed of New Zealand sheep that can be shorn every six months (the name of the breed escapes me at this very moment).
The Guild ladies were all very welcoming and patiently answered my 1001 questions. I was supplied with a bag of fleece (fresh from the sheep!) for practicing purposes, a spinning wheel to borrow and a book on loan from the Guild library.
I am set up to spin!
~ My first fleece for practice ~
~ Combing the wool in preparation for spinning ~
~ A small amount of white wool I was also gifted. Preparing to be washed ~
After a few hours of practice I am beginning to see some progress. My treadling is beginning to become smooth and I am achieving a few meters at a time of well spun wool - in between these meters are quite a lot of mistakes ;-)