I can go on and on, it's true.
How much I hate not being good at something, I cannot even begin to say, I don't know if you know this about me. For years, I tried nothing new that required skill development (rather than native wit and cunning) because I couldn't stand the learning curve. Which is weird, because I love to learn stuff.
But I hate looking a fool. And people were always looking at me anyway, I felt compelled to look reasonably competent so as not to inspire mockery or pity. (Don't even try to analyze it. Really. I have a therapist.)
I mostly got away with it, as I run to competence anyway. But it's a very limiting way to live: Never biking, never hiking, never picking up a new game, or sport. No dancing in public. Reading a lot, working a lot. But not doing things that required a willingness to fall down physically or metaphorically.
That was my 20s, mostly.
But things change and along the way I started knitting and that led to the wild acquisition of new friends and hobbies and habits and now I have four spinning wheels (as well as a completely different life).
Spinning has been such a weird learning curve for me - not surprising as I am my own teacher mostly - and lately I have been terribly, terribly frustrated by my failures. My dim recollection that in learning things that require muscle memory as well as skull sweat you are often at your least competent right before a new skill takes root is the thought that started me on this post.
I started two summers ago - is that right? how can that be right? - and I learned some and
got better and then I switched to Canadian Production wheels which are
fast, fast, fast and I am not, not, not, and everything has been a
little of the moment since then.
Much over twisting.
I think it is important for me to remember that I mean over twisting
for my own purpose. Which is to make knitting yarn. A harder twist
yarn totally has uses, just not for my particular goals.
I've been making a lot of tightly plied two ply yarns because that was how much twist the singles had. I know that technically I could run them back through and remove some of the twist, but at the speed I've been working, I thought I would shred the singles or leave me with an unbalanced two ply. And anyway, I don't wanna make do, I want to do it right.
All of which is a precursor to some pictures that I found interesting
This is about 600 yards of Shetland ram lamb that I really struggled with. This was a double coated lamb, a gorgeous soft mottled silver mixed with longer strands of silky black. I left the coats together because the blend was so beautiful to the eye.
You can see how inconstant this is - particularly on the right, the plying is almost hard? And it turns out that the silky black is a bit too wiry for comfort with that extra twist. Sigh.
When I can work up the heart, I'll remove a bit of the ply twist, see if that helps. But this was the step before the camel silk from last week - the reason I worked so hard to keep the twist soft enough.
When I ran out of that orange silk last week I ransacked the stash for anything suitable to finish the bind off - I didn't find it, but I did find three interesting little skeins.
Two are mine, one is a long draw demonstration from Spindle Rose. The spinning lesson is from July 4 2006, the other two from November 2005.
I am just fascinated to see that two years ago, when I was barely a spinner, I produced samples that are closer to what I was aiming than I can do now.
The difference being that I spun these on an Ashford Trad - a slow wheel - and on the Maja Suzie on a slow ratio. Switching to the Production style wheel made that big a difference in my ability to spin. Which isn't a criticism - my spinning has improved in other ways on the fast wheels, and I'm gaining control now that I haven't had previously
It's just interesting. This is why I date and label my skeins, why I kept my early efforts and samples along the way. I did it because people told me I should, but now, I totally get it. This is how you remember what you used to know, as well as figure out what you still have to learn.
Like Long draw. Still can't do that - it's like the top of a roller coaster I can't let go for. Something to work on.