Hi My name is Doralee and I have opened Doralee's Handspininng in Sanford Maine. I am starting to teach classes and have run in to the problem of getting across core ideas of spinning techniques to students who want to learn spinning but are having a hard time getting over the fact they have to let go of the fiber so it can draw into the orifice of the spinning wheel. Its been so long since I was a beginner (1970s) that some things are self evident to me but I know they are not to my students. Are there handspinning teachers workshops I can go to or is this something that takes time? I don't get angry but try to be reassuring but how do I overcome their frustration?
Hi Doralee - I have been spinning several years and have taught a few friends to spin. I found the best way to begin is to use a ball of yarn surprising as that may sound. Attach the yarn to the lead as you normaly would wool roving and let the new spinner get the feel of the action of the wheel, how it twists and how it draws. By the time they have 'spun' the ball of yarn they will be ready to try spinning wool roving. Hope this helps. Good luck - Rebecca
I don't have anything to offer for your question, but can you tell me what the hours are for your store? We've been past it a few times, but haven't been able to stop when you were open.
My wife is interested in getting into spinning, and I've been researching spinning wheels to try to figure out what's decent for wheels.
I recently taught my niece to spin and had the same problem, this was my solution.
I had her hold the fiber in her left hand with her right hand pinching the drafting, I had her spin a lot of twist into the fiber and then stop spinning. Then I told her to just release her right hand watch the twist snap up the line, we repeated this process several times until she was confident that it would not fall apart. Then we practiced loading the twist, stopping the wheel and focus just on drafting and slowly releasing. This gave her the confidence to start working the wheel together with drafting and not worry about the yarn falling apart.
The ONLY difference between an accomplished spinner and a new one who feels they don't have "the touch for it", is practice and not quitting.
When I taught, I usually used the imagery of feeding the wheel the fiber. If you withhold the food, the wheel gets cranky and will do interesting things to the fiber. If fed at regular intervals (baby bear just right) everything usually goes smoothly. The difference between beginners and us is we know how to troubleshoot and they don't.
LOL, that's an angle I never thought of before. I remember my biggest fear was if the yarn broke loose and I would have to start again, that part was both difficult and scary, as a result I would over spin to the point where I broke the yarn anyway. What I wound up doing was taking several small pieces and constantly practiced re-attaching the new fiber to the spun fiber.
I am open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. From 8am to 2pm. and longer when I don't have to work at night. These odd and limited hours are due to the fact I work second shift at one job and third shift at another job, about 50 hours. The shop is about 24 hours. I knew that when I started this business, it would not be able to stand alone until I was more established, hence I work other jobs to support it. I hope in another two years to do this full time, but I still expect it will be just breaking even at that time. If you want me to be available at another time, call me and I can make arrangements to be open for you. I do look forward to meeting with veteran spinners and prospective ones, I really have a passion for this!
Just letting go IS the hardest lesson in spinning! When I was first introduced to the wheel, I started with some acrylic yarn fed it through the orifice, attached it to the bobbin and just learned the motions first THEN when to working on actual roving. But one question: do you start complete beginners (never spun before) with a spinning wheel? If so, try teaching them hand spindle first, it might help they understand what they need to do. Also, teach both hand spindle and wheel beginners to "park and draw". They wind up a lot of wool, park the spindle between their knees or feet (or stop the wheel) and draw the yarn out, letting the twist ride up. Then they wind it on the bobbin or spindle and start again. That may help.
One more idea: get a basic " how to spin" DVD or book and use it as a model to teach. Teaching methods that others have figured out will help you at the beginning.