Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hand Spinning with Children at Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation.....

This was spinning week with two of my classes.....

 I use an unconventional method with a clamp to teach them the basic concept of what's happening when a yarn is being spun. We used a coarse, short narrow piece of wool roving; A breed that might be good for needle felting so that it is less slick. The smaller narrower piece makes it easier for them to draft from and will spin less than a yard of yarn. I begin by demonstrating how to draft which each of them has encountered in my felting classes. I then show them how to twist the tip and clamp it to the table. Once they have done that They begin drafting and twisting in a clockwise manner until they reach the end. There was very little difficulty with over drafting to the breaking point and though there was not a consistent twist in their yarns, each was successful at creating a length of plied yarn! Next week we will add their yarns to some factory spun to do some kool - aid dyeing.
Once they completed their yarns, I demonstrated the drop spindle and each of them got a chance to try with my assistance. Spinning continues to amaze everyone who sees it being done. It's like magic!

The 5 - 7 yr old group worked with me as I had them draft....slide...
and pinch while I held the work and spun the spindle. Unfortunately I couldn't take photos while doing this but maybe next time I can try to get one of my student to be acting photographer!

I did the same with the 8 and up group but after they had a turn at the spindle with me, I gave them each a spindle to use. I was impressed that although it was challenging for them, they managed to spin without too many breaks. The hardest things for them to grasp are to add another length of roving to their work and which way to spin the spindle. Their insecurities kept me hopping so I never got a shot of them spinning on their own. I plan to have them work on their yarns during class down times  so will make a point of getting a photo of them in action another time!
In the end, I asked how much they enjoyed learning to spin in spite of it's challenges and they all were enthused and glad to be doing it! Another successfule class!

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