I don’t usually go to workshops at the Knitting and Stitching Show, but since I’ve taken to going to the Thursday evening opening as well, I thought I would have time this year.
And I did. I went to a workshop on Spinning Silk Mawata with Ruth MacGregor, and came back with my very own drop spindle to play with.
First of all I’ve never been to any fibre related workshop at which there were tubes of handcream on the table! Secondly, although I have – literally! – written a book about spinning, I’ve never held a drop spindle in my life and I had no idea what to expect. My book is about industrial spinning, and the machines always did the difficult stuff…
It turns out that silk mawata is a web of filament that can be drafted (stretched) and spun fairly easily – it’s a forgiving material, and because silk is so strong and the filaments are so long, it’s easy to draft and create fine threads. Of course, that means that spinning heavier threads is going to take a bit more thought and care.
Or – since Ruth taught us how – there is always the possibility of twisting two threads together to make one. In the photo above you can see my early efforts. The two light ones are both fairly simple plied yarns, but speaking as a fancy yarn specialist, the dark one is a slubbed gimp yarn. I just wish I could claim that that was exactly as I designed it to be!
So I came home with a packet of silk mawata caps and some silk tops, so I can play and learn to make the thread I want to make.
Eventually I want to be able to spin in both wool and silk, and use some of my yarns in the Vision of Placidus panel…