We had our SCAT meeting at a home in the "up country" foothills yesterday. I drove myself and three friends up above Mace Meadows on highway 88 to a place called Sherwood Forest. It's a subdivision that makes you wonder if you're ever going to find the right road or the right house. It goes on forever. Then, just when you think you've gone too far and that the road is never going to end, you get to a beautiful home, with beautiful gardens...
This is "J's" house and we came to have some homemade squash soup and learn to use a spinning wheel.
The living room was filled with spinning wheels, carders, fleece and yarn. This was going to be such fun.
We (four woman and one chicken) arrived on one of those iconic days that California is famous for....blue sky, big fluffy clouds, a little breeze and ... wait, did I say we arrived with a chicken? Yes, I did. This is the kind of world I live in. You pick someone up and they say... "You don't mind, do you, if I bring my chicken with me?" and, of course, I say, "No problem." So, she hops into the car with her little chicken carrier and a little baby Sizzle in it. What's a Sizzle, you ask?
This is a baby Sizzle..
This little chicken was tired when we got to "J's " house and was a little bit frazzled, so her momma wrapped her little baby in the sweatshirt she was wearing and little Sizzle hunkered down and settled in for the visit.
We walked out back to the goat fort...
We had a great lunch and some dessert... then settled in for a lesson in spinning.
First we all picked out some wool roving and some pretty sparkly stuff and ran it through a carder. Roving is a long and narrow bundle of wool fiber that's made from wool fleece, which is fiber that is clipped from an animal. A drum carder is a contraption that blends, cleans and aligns the individual fibers with each other in preparation for spinning. This part was fun. We added different colors and little bits of thread and silk. One of us turned the crank and we ended up with beautiful roving that was ready to make into yarn.
Then the spinning began. "J" demonstrated and I, foolishly, offered to be first. Some of us were better at this than others. I think some of us had done this before... but not I. This seemed like a truly foreign and awkward task. I think that I will not be buying a spinning wheel. I think that I will probably be buying another lens for my camera. Cest la vie.
This is a sample of the yarn that we all wove.
I don't know how to get the twists out of it so they are going to stay that way.
This was a day of humble admission of my limits as a diverse artist. I can use a sewing machine, knit, crochet, felt, collage, paint, create ornaments out of eggs and gourds and photograph anything... but that spinning wheel brought me to my knees. I finally handed over the reins to the Sizzle chicken's mom. She seems to have a better understanding of this roving to yarn process.
In my defense, I didn't give up. I went over to another wheel that had only one small foot pedal and did some plying (putting two yarns together). This was easier and the wheel, that I was suppose to turn in a clockwise direction (on the first wheel), had to go counter clockwise for plying... so I was finally going in the "right" direction on this one. That's a confusing sentence but I know what I'm talking about and it doesn't make any difference anyway, because that other wheel will never see me struggle again. I don't think it liked me. I think there might have been something strange going on. Maybe something magic.
Yeah... that's it.
I read Rumplestiltskin.
I know about these things.