Notes on Spinning

6 09 2008

Last night, I taught a spinning class in Charlottesville.  I just wanted to say what a lovely group it is, and to post some reminders, for you, and for me.

2. Work on the continuous drafting. Watch to insure you aren’t releasing your measuring hand resulting in pinch and push techniques.

3.  Keep the draft zone under tension.  Allowing a ‘loose’ draft zone can result in a very woolen looking yarn.  Tension keeps the fibers parallel, giving a smoother surface  to your yarn.

4.  Find harmony with your wheel.  If you aren’t comfortable with your wheel, or your sitting position, height of orifice, etc, your yarn will reflect this.

5. When spinning a single, it should spin back on itself when allowed to drape.  It isn’t spun too tightly just because it does.  As a matter of fact, look at what it looks like when it plies back on itself.  If it looks like a yarn that you want, then you are probably putting enough twist in it.

6.  Don’t consider your homework WORK.  If you enjoy spinning, your homework should be about 20% of what you spin this week.  Spin 20 min, and if you are frustrated, take a break and come back to it.  Almost without fail, beginning students say that walking away from their spinning and returning an hour or more later makes for an improvement in their yarn.

homework was to spin a bobbin of singles, and to then navajo ply it.

7Sorry, Make that #1. Have Fun!  It will reflect in your yarn.

For me, a reminder of what some of you want to do in this class:

1. Work with flax, bamboo, and camel

2. Charkha

3. Wool combs and worsted spinning

4.  Saxony wheel

5.  Plying

6.  Learn to asses the quality of yarn produced, and analyze problems/issues

If I haven’t covered everything, or if you want something added, please e-mail me

maidensweaver at earthlink dot net   or leave a comment on this blog.


Hope everyone made it home safely. And I’ll see you next week.

spinning from the fleece

27 05 2008

I also wanted to post some pics of the yarn produced from spinning directly from a raw fleece. I don’t pull locks, and tease them, or anything. It’s just drafted directly from the fresh fleece. This has been navajo plied, which you can see in the close-up of the lovely loop-d-loop produced by this method. Yes, this loose, furry, textured yarn is what I was looking for, and I rejoice in every moment I spend producing it.

Spinning and weaving in Richmond,va

5 01 2008

I have been advertising my spinning and weaving classes on several online venues, trying to boost enrollment at the Visual Art Center of Richmond. We have pretty good response to the “learn to weave in a weekend”, but are still waiting for enrollment to increase for the regular and ongoing weaving class. It meets on Thursday nights, right here in Richmond, VA. We meet from 6:30 – 9:00. I have room for 8 students. I think I’m offering 4 or 5 sessions of it this spring, so you could actually learn a great deal just this spring alone. You don’t have to have your own loom. Floor looms are provided by the art center. There is also plenty of open studio time, so you can come in outside of class and do various steps outside of class, so you can maximize your instructional time. No previous experience is necessary. If you can’t make it, you can e-mail me, as I frequently have openings at one of my own studios for private lessons, or in one of my studio classes (Wed. nights, or Sunday afternoons).
I sell looms, spinning wheels, fiber for spinning, and yarn for your projects in class. If you are looking for someone to do loom repair, or spinning wheel repair, I do that and sell parts.
The looms I carry are Louet, Leclerc, and whatever used Looms I might have for sale at any given time. Currently, I have a 12 harness mechanical dobby loom by AVL that is for sale. You can e-mail me about that if you are interested. I also have a horizontal warping mill/reel for sale. It’s a floor model, but folded up, it fits behind a door.

Spinning yarns from the spinning wheel

15 10 2007

This class started tonight at the Visual Art Center of Richmond. It is a small group – 3 students. Two people came in with their own wheels, and the third’s is coming from Louet in a week or so. One student is a returning student. She is doing well with her spinning, but not finding time enough, as she is in a masters program right now. The other two are very new, but both have tried drop spindling.
As usual, the new spinners didn’t feel adept at what they were doing, but both were doing quite well by the end of the class. The one with her own wheel spent some portion of class working on the center’s wheel. When I got a chance, I checked out her wheel, got it going, and she switched to her own wheel, and had great success with is. I suspect both students will return with a
voracious desire to spin more.
It is fun teaching the fiber arts and my life is very fulfilled at the moment. Take care, and I’ll be back.

Learn to Weave in a Week

2 06 2007

Monday, a new class begins at the Visual Art Center of Richmond. It is my Learn to Weave in a Week class. We will meet mornings M-F and dress the looms, and weave off a nice project. If you are interested, check out my classes in the list of fiber classes for adults at
I am also teaching kids to embroider, weave, tie-dye, and spin yarn. So you can enjoy the fiber arts, and sign your tween or teen to do the same.
If you are looking for sewing classes, I have a class upcoming June 18 from 1-4 pm at my own studio at Roseneath. This is for students 11-16. Bring your own machine, or use mine. e-mail me for more information.
Spots are still available at the Glen Allen studio for weavers. We meet on Sunday afternoons from 1:30 – 4 pm.
I accept spinning students during this time also. It is a group class, so you will also meet other weavers and spinners.
If you don’t see what you are looking for, you can e-mail me, or check out my website at

silver linings

1 06 2007

Just a not on hidden blessings. I accepted a commission months ago for a hand-spun, hand-woven project. I have done thousands of yards of spinning merino yarn, and dressing the loom with thousands of yards of warp, only to discover an error half way into the project. Not a problem, I found a use for the fabric, that would still work toward part of the same commission, cut the error off the loom and proceeded to wet finish. Much to my surprise, after years of dyeing fibers, I finally did one that bled!!! I had indigo bleed into all my lovely handspun, handwoven white weaving, and did everything within my power to restore the work to it’s natural state. It never happened. I am stuck with this chambray blue weaving that is no larger than a lap blanket. What to do. I dried the fabric and pressed, as a matter of doing things right. And guess what. I fell in love. It is merino after all. It is sooo soft and I never weave for myself, so here is this amazing little gift. It is wonderful, and I have plenty of time to replace the work that was messed up, and you know what! I learned something in the process! Isn’t that what we are supposed to do in life? Learn from our mistakes. No matter how experienced you get, don’t forget to take care of the details.
Let me say that again:
“No matter how experienced you get, don’t forget to take care of the details”
Take care, and learn something from your mistakes today. Give yourself a gift, and take a bad situation, and turn it into a blessing for someone.

kumihimo as jewelery

20 04 2007

Tomorrow I have a class called Kumihimo as jewelery. We have openings still. The class meets from 10-4.
We will be making lovely kumihimo braids and turning them into jewelery. I will try to post pics tomorrow.
If you are interested, sign up through the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center. It would be nice to meet other folks with fiber interests.

Remember also that I have a weaving and spinning “teaching studio” at Glen Allen now. I have 3 openings for new students on the looms, and can take many spinning students. I teach weaving for beginners, intermediate weaving, specialty weaves, spinning yarn from the spinning wheel beginning, intermediate, and advanced, drop spindling, then I teach workshops in felting and workshops on dyeing at my home in Goochland. My next dye workshop is Saturday, May 4, 2007. I have openings still, if you would like to join us, e-mail me