Living and…

The thing that makes me happiest in life is learning. I love to learn. It’s a pity that I never understood that, or got the hang of it, when I was at school. At least the adult me has made the intuitive leap and grasped that knowledge.

Actually, thinking on it, perhaps learning is not the thing. Perhaps it is having learned, becoming accomplished, that pushes my buttons. Learning can be a slog and, much as I say that I love it, I do suffer real inertia at times – even in the face of learning things that I have long wanted to.

One of the reasons that I have enjoyed spinning so much is that there is so very much to learn, so much to accomplish. I may have the glow of having grasped the basics and of having the ability to produce a yarn but there are years of learning ahead of me and many new skills to stretch my capabilities. This makes spinning a highly satisfying pastime.

The spinning things that I have been wanting to learn have been piling up over the last few years. Now, thanks to the new studio, I believe that I can begin to nail a few targets. I have formal “studio time” factored into each day – that is a large plus. The studio has space for my wheel to be ever ready – that’s an essential. What the studio also has, that makes such a difference, is my PC – and sufficient room to set up the wheel where I can see the monitor.

My monitor is huge. It is a monster. I really did not want it, but Mr L said that one day I would be glad that I have it. You know what? It seems that he was correct.

Enter YouTube and the instructional spinning video.

I have not been a YouTube aficionado, I must say. In fact I am something of an Internet Dinosaur – having a preference for static content in my browser. I am a reader at heart, not a watcher or a listener. It has taken a long time for me to see the value in video content and, to be fair, much of it is dross. However, if intelligence is applied to the search and one is prepared to scan and sample – there is some great stuff out there and it is truly helpful in bringing the static content of a good book to life. It does not take long to find the quality video makers and to learn to stick with them.

Today I have learned the proper way to set my Matchless up for each of its three drive systems. This included how to set up the bobbin lead method – this is missing from the small handbook that came with my wheel and nobody at spinning group could enlighten me as to how bobbin lead works. Well, now I know!

If you need to know too – try this video:

I have also been brushing up my hazy notion of wheel ratios – I am afraid that I have pretty much stuck to one ratio on every wheel that I have used so far, unless you count adding the Jumbo flyer to the Trad. I have always meant to get to grips with ratios but just never got around to it. Watching this video prompted me to shift my drive band and switch to spinning in a higher gear. My fine single is now progressing at a better rate and my spinning looks much improved.

There is a part 2 to this video. He’s a bit long-winded but talks good plain sense. I also watched his video on the difference made by the position of the flyer (basically, none) in relation to the spinner.

So – Goal 1 has been achieved – I have removed the fear and ignorance relating to spinning ratios.

Goal 2 is to learn to spin “woollen” and master the long draw method. I am working my way through YouTube and discovering that, as with many other techniques, everybody does things a little differently.

YouTube does, as noted, vary in its quality. What does not vary in its superb quality is the instructional video output from Interweave. I have a number of spinning videos on my computer and I intend to go through them all again now that I can watch at my wheel and follow things through with some practice.

Anyway, this very long and meandering post is basically a vehicle to let me introduce you to my new hero: longdrawjames. He’s awesome. Can I express how thrilled I was to find a young, male and British spinner? One who is so adept?

James is 18 and doing his A-levels. He’s going to be a chemist. He has been spinning for seven years. He dyes fibre and sells on Etsy, including a fibre club. He even knits lace.

More longdrawjames:

and you will of course find him on Twitter and Facebook too.

I am not wrong, am I? Several kinds of awesome!

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