Friday, February 19, 2010

Setting A Good Example

Well, so much for good intentions!  It was my goal to blog every week, regardless of what was going on, this year.  I missed last week, and this week is nearly gone, too.  I guess I'd better write something...

I have spent the last two weeks spinning, knitting, hosting puppeteers, writing, packing, organizing, spinning, getting cortisone shots in my knee, knitting, get the picture.  But mostly, I have been making samples.

Back when I was a newbie spinner, I took a lot of workshops.  I heard a lot of "facts".  I saw a lot of 2-yard lengths of yarn.  I heard a lot of do's and don'ts.  But I saw very few samples.

Now, there are a lot of great instructors who teach without samples, but my fellow students and I all seemed to agree that seeing how the principle being taught worked in an actual garment, or at least a swatch, really helped.  And one wise instructor even said that samples were proof that the teacher knew what she was talking about.  And, to be fair, there are a lot things that we teach in spinning that don't really need samples to back them up, or that the two-yard demo yarn will illustrate just fine.

But, do you really know what I mean when I say your stitches will skew if you underply?

Now you have a visual. (Or, at least you would if I had laid them out properly.  It's there, trust me.  Take the workshop.)

And how about explaining how a particular blend of fibres will perform in a sock?

There you go.

I have, over the past few years, accumulated quite a few samples of different types of yarn, and made samples to demonstrate certain points, but as I teach each workshop, I think of something else that would benefit from visual support.  Simply telling us to do something is fine, but showing us gives depth and substance to the words.  And giving us something we can touch is icing on the cake for tactile folk like spinners.

So, I have been spinning 30-yard skeins.  Sock yarns, S and Z yarns, overplied and underplied yarns, woollen and worsted yarns.  When I had to do this for my Master Spinner classes, I procrastinated and grumbled.  Now, each day I try to see what I can demonstrate with a new yarn.  It's been a lot of fun. (I'm sure there are a few current Master Spinner students out there who think I've gone off my nut with that statement.  Really, it's fun!  Honest!)

Of course, this means that my "real" spinning has been back-burnered for the last couple of weeks, and that I am still struggling to finish the last raglan cap on Steve's Christmas sweater. (Honestly, I have like 15 rows to go and just can't seem to get to it.  Methinks there is some procrastination of the inevitable sewing-up there!)  There are so many sample yarns to knit up, and I keep thinking there should be woven samples too.  Oh, goody!  More skeins!

So, there you have it.  I have to set a good example.  Or at least, set out a good sample.

On a personal note, because my family and friends read this blog, I got a new hairstyle this week.  After a couple of years of that funky asymetrical cut always flopping in my eyes, I went and got my bangs cut and the whole shebang layered and shagged.  May I present The New Moi:

It's much fluffier in person, which makes me happy.  And I can see the world again, which is more amazing than I expected.

And yes, those are bib coveralls.  Wanna make something of it? 

I thought not.


  1. Your samples are awesome and I think it is a really great idea.... I just wish more instructors took the initiative to do that.... by the way I love sampling.... I'm totally in to it! By the way the wee socks are soooo cute! : )

  2. I so want to be in your L3 class this June, I am emailing Otto right now! Kim