Instrument of the Devil
Remember the play The Bad Seed? Several movies were made from it as well. You know the one, with the little girl who looked so angelic and sweet but who was evil to the core?
Well, my own little bad seed has crept into my happy home:
It looks so inviting and lovely! What could be better than a bag filled with fiber and two drop spindles? Ahhh ... looks can be deceiving! This is no doubt an instrument of the devil.
I don't know what possessed me to buy this. I've never spun yarn before, either on a drop spindle or a wheel, and never really had a great desire to learn. It always seemed like it might be fun, but with limited time for knitting I just never saw the point in learning to spin. It would just eat into my knitting time. So why, oh why, did I suddenly decide to make this purchase?
The spindles and fiber came with a little instruction handout. It's a one-pager that uses words like carded, combed, and draft (which, of course, is a foreign language to a non-spinner). I found myself completely unprepared to even give it a whirl (sorry for the pun ;) based only on the instructions and so I set about doing some online research. After watching a few video clips, I was ready to give it a try.
The result was a half hour of frustration that yielded zero of anything that could remotely be called "yarn." I did, however, produce a wonderful array of little bits of fiber clinging to every nearby surface, including myself.
It's quite clear that I'm not a natural at this! The part that I find problematic is this whole idea of "drafting." In the videos, it looks so simple. Left hand holding right below the "draft zone" and right hand moving upward after giving the evil device a spin and then drawing the fiber down from the draft zone as it takes the twist. Well, it just didn't work out so easily for me. I thought the fiber would pull and stretch out of the draft zone easily, but I found it to be more of a game of tug o' war. The stuff just doesn't pull apart the way I imagined. I suppose that makes sense and is a good thing, as if it pulled apart that easily the yarn created likely wouldn't have much strength.
I also found that the sites I reviewed didn't address at all the question of how much fiber should be worked with at any one time or how thick the little strip of fiber being worked should be. I know that probably depends on the thickness of the yarn one hopes to create, but a little hint or clue would have been nice. I tried different quantities and widths, all to no avail.
Yes, I think this thing is an instrument of the devil. Rather than the pretty picture above that looks so inviting, I think this photo comes closer to the true nature of the beast:
In this photo, it looks more like what it is: some sort of torture device designed to inflict great pain.
For now, I've set this aside and am allowing it to look pretty in its little plastic bag. I'm sure I'll take it out again soon and give it another go, but I'm not feeling very confident that I'll be able to master this particular skill. I could take a class and I'm sure that would help, but that would cut into my knitting time, right?