My first actual spinning lesson was a private one with Hillary, before I had my own wheel set up. She came to my house, lugging with her her own spinning wheel, as well as an E-spinner. As the name would imply, the E-spinner is electric, so no need to self-power the thing with treadling feet. We began my lesson on the regular wheel, and I quickly became a little overwhelmed and a whole lot frustrated. It seemed that I could either work my hands and the fiber or my feet to turn the wheel. Trying to do both at once was not in the cards. Out came the E-spinner, and once all I had to concentrate on was getting a feel for the drafting of the fiber as the spinner pulled it onto the bobbin, I was able to relax and find a rhythm. Taking Hillary’s advice, once I had my own wheel assembled, I spent a good bit of time just treadling the wheel with no fiber attached. This gave me a feel for the wheel, and I got quite adept at stopping and starting and making the wheel turn both clockwise and counterclockwise.
Our first group spinning day was in early January, and while the weather did not cooperate, a couple brave souls ventured out. This time, when I sat down at my own wheel, with Hillary to instruct, I was able to make both my hands and feet work somewhat better together, and in the end produced my very first, very wonky ball of yarn!
As Hillary helped me to wind it off the bobbin, she noted that most people keep their first (wonky) ball of yarn so that they can look back at how far they have come as they progress. She also noted that many folks find a use for their first creation that doesn’t involve actual knitting or crocheting, as they generally aren’t very usable.
“Put it on your desk and stick pens in it,” my teacher suggested.
A few in our group that missed the initial get-together made it for the second spin day, and though the February day was chilly, at least it was sunny. And the company was great!