This morning, I am heading to the farmer’s market for some of the best Cambodian food I have ever eaten. Yum. While I cannot provide smell or taste-o-vision here, I will be thinking of you all while I chow on some green Amok tofu. . .
Over the past week, I have been taking David Keller’s new Curious Mondo class, “Turning Fiber into Yarn: The Art of Spinning.” Online fiber classes–particularly free classes!–are a real treat for me as I am one of those lifelong learners who would gladly take classes until the day I croak. David’s class was free during its live taping; now, the cost is $97. And, as with his last class on dyeing, I thought I would post a little review here for anyone interested in taking the course. *Keep in mind that I refer to the live version and I do not know what and/or how the course was edited for its final version,
Basic overview of the course coverage
- Discussion of fiber types
- Beginning spinner dos and don’ts
- Environmental and ethical fiber sourcing
- Drop spindling (incl. a great technique for making a leader for a top whorl spindle)
- Pre-drafting fiber
- Chain plying on a drop spindle—cool!!
- DIY niddy noddy construction and use
- Steam setting yarn
- Wheel mechanics and overviews of different wheels
- Wheel maintenance
- Drum carder fiber blending
- Creating palettes for variegated yarn
- Spinning on the wheel: drafting, creating leaders, ratios
- Spinning ergonomics: hand and body positions—drop spindle comparison
- How to strip a batt
- Core spinning
- Adding beads during spinning (including legos!)
- Plying multiple strands of yarn
- Bouclé and insertions
Bonus Material: Production spinning and Tail spinning (which I did not see)
Experiencing the Live Version
As someone who has been spinning within the loving and generous fold of a guild for the past year and a half, I am neither a complete beginner nor an advanced spinner. What I enjoyed most about the course was the opportunity–and excuse–to listen to someone talk about fiber for three+ hours a day. It was great to catch some tips and tricks along the way that I would not have been able to *hear* when I first started spinning. So, I suppose I was a gleaner this time around, since I already had a basic knowledge about spinning.
This course would be fun for someone just getting into spinning, as it covers many of the machines, techniques, and basic ideas behind the craft. More advanced spinners are not as likely to find this course as useful in terms of new techniques; that said, it’s always helpful to watch other spinners working on their craft and this class certainly gives you that opportunity in spades. Plus, David is a nice fellow and fun to hang out with–if virtually.
In terms of production, the close-ups and camera work became better and better–by Day 3, viewers could really see what was going on pretty consistently. The hostess was new–I liked her a great deal. She and David warmed up to each other by Day 2 and had some fun stripping some batts and top and playing around with the drum carder. She asked questions that the audience posed in chat; she was fairly unobtrusive and helped keep things moving. On Day 3, they also included a guest, novice spinner who posed some helpful questions as well.
I found the live version to be (experientially) a bit here and there in terms of order, but looking back at my notes, it seems like David had a clear idea of where he wanted to go with the course. He demonstrates some drop spindling techniques I have not seen and the tips and tricks are really useful and I will be testing them out with my own fiber and spinning. Plus, anytime someone if willing to give a lesson on color (as on Day 2), I am all ears.
Again, and as always, whether the class is worth $97 is up to you! My goal is to give you the best overview I can so that you can have some additional information with which to make your decision.