I just realized that I neglected to tell you about the spinning class I took a week ago Sunday, at the Spinning Room in the beautiful village of Altamont, NY, outside of Albany. The class ran from 10 am to 3 pm, we were 3 students, and had a wonderful teacher. Mary has been spinning for at least 25 years, and is very knowledgeable about everything spinning related. She used to raise her own sheep, but now runs the Spinning Room yarn shop full time.
At first, she had us treadling for while. We took turns on 3 different spinning wheels to get the feel for them. One was single treadle, one was double treadle, and one was "fake" double treadle, meaning you operate a single treadle with two feet.
After a while, we were knitting while treadling-- a great way to make us multitask and have the treadling become automatic. Just before lunch, we attached a length of single ply yarn to the flyer (gee I hope I am remembering all the parts of the wheel correctly...), and we pretend spun.
Then we attached some roving, which we had pre-drafted, and began to spin...well, or tried to.
At that point I was ready for a little break.
After lunch, we moved the wheels outside to the little porch and had a view of the village green (see below). While the other two students merrily spun away, I had a bit of difficulty with my really smooth red roving. It kept getting away from me and breaking. I must tell you I was ready to walk away and walk around that village green a few times, to regain my composure. But Mary of course kept her cool and stepped in and said that sometimes, the spinner and the roving don't agree...I was grateful for that excuse! She gave me something "stickier", and away I went. Much better. She put a felted basket of various rovings next to me and I just grabbed whatever was in there:
Hence the rather mixed appearance of my first skein! Very lumpy stuff indeed. But heck some would call this designer yarn and would actually pay good money for this!
At the end of the day, I couldn't get enough. I went home with a rented wheel, a Louet double treadle, ran to where the stash lives, and found a small ball of Jacob roving, turning it into this. I think it's starting to look like something!