The process of spinning wool utilizing a drop spindle technique was taught to us by Alejandra with some assistance as needed throughout the process.
The initial materials needed:
Step by step illustration:
Step 1: Divide your thread in half and have the two halves meet in the middle. Step 2: Tie a knot at the point at which the two halves meet.
Step 3: Loop the knotted thread around the base of the drop spindle in such a way where you are able to form a “cow hitch” knot. MAKE SURE TO KEEP THE KNOT AT THE BOTTOM. Step 4: Proceed to wrap the remaining thread around the drop spindle in a clockwork direction and then wrap the thread around the hook several times.
Step 5: Take your carded wool and create a divide within similar to as depicted. Step 6: Proceed to loop one of the smaller divides into the hole that your remaining thread remains. Step 7: Begin to spin your drop spindle clockwise fast in order to have the thread begin to loop.
Step 8: Grip your thread at the point in which it has already been spun and
Qualitative reflections on spinning from Group D members:
- Around hour two of spinning, it seemed to click and became more routine. (Dylan)
- The Cotswold wool (the unpictured white wool) was easier to spin and seemed to fall apart less when the threads became shorter. (Isabel)
- The process was in no way intuitive when looking at only the drop spindle, the thread and the wool; it required a lot of focus; and the on-ramp was severe. (Ellie)
- With regards to the physical aspect, everyone felt that their hands, biceps and shoulders experienced a great deal of cramping having to continually elevate the wool and spin the drop spindle.
- The hardest part about spinning was making sure your threads were all of roughly equal width; I found that most of mine were either too thin or too thick that wispy threads popped out. (Will)
- Our group also contemplated the technique for placing the wool around the shoulder vs. the wrist.
- Even though we were instructed to put the wool around our wrists, Isabel found that placing the wool across her shoulder gave her more mobility when it came to threading.
For my Quantitative Data, I decided to measure the width of my threaded wool with the two different sheep breeds to see if I could notice a difference between the two. Personally, I felt that the Cotswold wool was much harder to work with, so I would hypothesize that the thickness of the thread would be thicker for this wool than the Jacobs wool.
The Cotswold wool happened to be thicker as expected than the Jacobs wool. I felt that the Cotswold wool was more tight and difficult to draft, and, as such, I felt that the wool was unable to get thin enough to produce a more thin thread.
The weaving process was far easier than the spinning process. As Alejandra commenced in her explanation of the process, I grew nervous as I thought the process would be as steep and draining as the spinning process but felt pleasantly surprised at the repetitive nature of weaving. It did not nearly require the technical expertise that spinning entailed, the constant watchful eye and perpetually raised shoulder; I could see it being a much more social process.
The carding process was the most physically demanding, but it also was the easiest to pick up. The learning curve consisted in making sure the wool was on the edge of the hand carders rather than the middle as it would get caught up in the carders.