So I took my drop spindle class yesterday.
Leslie, our intrepid instructor, was kind and patient, and mercifully taught us a technique called "draft and park" (or is that "park and draft"? Whatever -- same end result), which involves twisting the yarn already on the spindle, then drafting out a little bit at a time, and allowing the newly drafted bits to kind of spin themselves, whilst holding the spindle between one's knees.
It sounds complicated, and I guess it is, in a way -- like a beginning knitter or crocheter, I find there's a ton of stuff that the beginning spinner must keep in mind all at the same time. Things such as "don't overspin your yarn," and "don't draft it out in great honking globs that will never spin in a million zillion years."
Also, "keep track of where your unspun yarn is, such that it does not inadvertently double back on you and accidentally tangle itself in the yarn you're currently spinning, causing you to stop and swear loudly so that the entire class turns and looks at you because apparently they have never heard anyone yell 'son of a Sasquatch!' quite so loudly before." Or ever, actually.
My finished product sucked wind. No, it really did. However, I did not care even a little bit, because you know what? It is yarn. And if I ever need a rather short length of madly overspun/underspun yarn that's Andean-plied too tightly, by God, I will have it!
Anyway, Leslie urged us to keep practicing after the class -- she alleged that 10 minutes a day would do it, which I find absurdly optimistic -- so when I got home, I hauled out my spindle (yes! I now own my very own little drop spindle! I rock!) and started a new batch of "yarn" to show off my new skillz to my friend Patti, who was over for dinner last night. And you know what? The second batch, while still no screaming glory, did not suck as badly as the first.
And this morning during our Monday morning office meeting, I spun some more, and some of it looks not half bad. Some of it still looks like it was done by a drunk monkey, but I am beginning to wonder whether Leslie might be right, after all -- if I keep practicing, some day my yarn might actually begin to look like yarn.
Oh, and Dave? I didn't even drop the spindle once!
(Note to the photo-obsessed: Sorry, I don't have pictures yet. My own camera is still MIA, and I didn't want to haul Mitchell's camera to work with me, because my coworkers think I'm quite odd enough without having one of them catch me taking pictures of a tiny hank of blobby, weird looking yarn. But I will take pictures, and I will post them. Watch this space.)