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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Not Getting Ahead of Yourself

My Teacher Paula said something else that has stuck with me:

"Don't chase the wheel."

To the uninitiate, watching an accomplished spinner at work, it would appear as if the whirring wheel, driven by the spinner's treadling, is the driving force. 

It's not.  All the wheel does is put a twist on things, at the same time winding the twisted threads onto the bobbin, thus neatly storing them out of the way.

Watch a little kid sit down at someone's spinning wheel and pump away at the treadle.  Watch the mess that quickly accrues.

It's all in the preparation.  How the fibers are pulled out from the roving.  How the twist is restrained (producing worsted) or allowed to ride up into the roving (producing woolen).  How well the tempo of the draft matches the tempo of the treadling.

A novice will just pull away, pump away.  But a seasoned spinner will pause the treadling to make corrections to the thread, eliminating slubs or filling in thin spots.

It's all about seeing where the real action is.  It's all about not getting ahead of yourself. 

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