I really really enjoyed spinning on the wheel, and it didn't take that long to get the hang of....well, kind of! What I did find much harder to get the hang of was using the raw fleece, as is Seema's preference. When spinning with my drop spindle, I've always used fibre which has been carded. Carding is taking the raw fleece, which is an bit of a jumble, and either carding it on hand carders or using a drum carder, to literally comb the fibres to all the strands lie along the same direction.Also, previous to this I've always pre-drafted my fibre. Drafting is a little tricky to describe....Well, if you imagine you have a big thick hank of your carded fibre - you're not going try and spin that all in one go, are you? Your yarn would be as thick as your wrist, and also would be far too thick to hold much twist, which is what makes yarn different from roving (the carded fibre). Drafting is the process whereby when spinning, you tease out a few strands form the mass, and spin these, achieving a much thinner yarn which holds a lot of twist. When spinning on my drop spindle, I always did this teasing before hand, as I couldnt' seem to acheive the knack of doing it while I was spinning. And this seems to hold true for spinning on the wheel also - I just couldn't really seem to get the knack of drafting as I spun, and as a consequence, my spun yarn is pretty bumpy with big bits of fluff in it. I think I could get the hang of this drafting malarky with more practice though.
I'm delighted with my first wheel experience. The trouble now is that, while previous to this, I wanted a wheel but knew it would be crazy to buy one when I had no idea how to use one, now I have just enough competence to maybe (but not really) legitimately buy one. I guess in some ways it's lucky for me that they're so darn expensive! I doubt I'll be getting one for a while, but I'll defiantely be keeping my eyes open in used furnitures shops and of course, the best website ever.
Right now I'm on a bus back to Galway, just sobering up from mini-birthday celebrations last night (it's my birthday this Sunday but Galway is awful far from Donegal). This week I have also been crocheting a cardigan, but in my drunken rush to get the bus this morning, I left my camera behind. Boo! So pictures of it and the other spinning workshop I attended will have to wait.
Be good y'all.