I've been spinning for a little over a year, and I feel like I haven't progressed much since I first learned. I can spin fairly thin, even, smooth (worsted) singles, because that's how they come out, not because of conscious effort on my part. I can ply these singles in 2 or 3 ways that give me a little range of types of yarns that I can spin. I'm not an experienced, acompplished spinner. I'm a lucky spinner who happens to get exactly the kinds of yarns I like to knit with. But as a spinner, I'm aware of just how limited my skills are.
So I chose as challenges to go outside my comfort zone, and learn skills that I either never tried before, or failed. The first 2 challenges: spinning from the fold (tried before and it was a complete disaster) and using long draw (a total mistery to me):
Very uneven, but I can really say mission accomplished on both fronts! And once I saw that I could do it, I decided to go on for a third challenge. I found some barbecue sticks, wood beads with holes that matched the sticks on the size, and improvised a supported spindle, and used it on a soup bowl:
It's even worse than the woolen singles I spun on the drop spindle, because with the drop spindle I could use both hands to draft and even out the singles a little. Also this mill-ends sw merino I was using doesn't help with the drafting with only one hand at all.
I can't show much progress, a finished yarn or even a half full spindle, because I spent a good part of the day trying to find the beads, and then trying to understand at least the basic principles, but I can say honestly that I did all I set myself up to do. I'll practice more long draw and learn to spin evenly, and a real supported spindle is now my second next on my wishlist.
Feels good to feel like a noob again. It means I can only get better. =)
I actually have made big progress and I have some good news about my second main TdF project, but I haven't blogged about it yet because some people have to hear from me first instead of reading on the blog. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, DAN.(NY)