The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Food & crafts => Crafts => Topic started by: SallyintNorth on January 14, 2015, 11:01:49 am

Title: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 14, 2015, 11:01:49 am
I know at least one TASer who will be interested in this project!  Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel (http://spinning-wheel.org/)
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on January 14, 2015, 05:58:59 pm
Sounds fascinating and it would be interested to read the finished work.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Fleecewife on January 15, 2015, 12:08:23 am
Heavens, that's a mega project  :o but it will be great to have such a research project specifically into wheel spinning.  5 years though - not sure I'll still be around when it's all written up.

Spinners had to work so hard spinning enough for the weavers - long days, poor light especially in the winter, the need to have a continuous supply of children to card the fibre  :innocent: and I doubt the spinner had much control of the pay she received.  I love spinning on my wheels, but if I had to do it hour after hour, day after day, year after year, I know I would hate it  :spin:
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on January 15, 2015, 11:44:14 pm
Yes, there's a big difference between a hobby and something you have to do. In the crofting days, the women would walk out to the peat bogs where the men had cut the peat and left them t drain. They would be using their drop spindles all the way there and all the way back, when they had creels of still wet so very heavy peat on their backs. No letting up from the spinning just because their shoulders were aching.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 15, 2015, 11:47:59 pm
They tell similar stories on Shetland, Lesley, only it's knitting they were doing - the knitting belt enabled one-handed knitting, so they could knit with one hand and carry something with the other.  I guess it maybe was too windy for spindling!   :D
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Dans on January 16, 2015, 01:08:34 am
They were knitting one handed???

I've worked out how to knit and walk (great for queues) but being able to knit one handed would be amazing.

The women of our past were amazing folk indeed. Made of strong stuff and driven by need.

Dans
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Anke on January 16, 2015, 07:46:43 am
The photos you see of Shetland women with knitting in their hands and heavy baskets on their backs is not single-handed knitting, but it is knitting stranded knitting having the wool in both hands and somehow managing to switch over... I don't think you can actually knit with one hand?
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 16, 2015, 10:36:51 am
The photos you see of Shetland women with knitting in their hands and heavy baskets on their backs is not single-handed knitting, but it is knitting stranded knitting having the wool in both hands and somehow managing to switch over... I don't think you can actually knit with one hand?

I knit stranded with a yarn in each hand; I haven't quite managed to do it with my knitting belt yet, but I will!

When I use the knitting belt, the only thing my right hand is doing is delivering the yarn.  The left hand is doing everything else.  So yes, you can knit one-handed with the knitting belt; you just need hold the yarn continental-style over the left hand.  I haven't mastered that yet, but I will!

Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on January 16, 2015, 09:47:32 pm
My elder son was born with only one hand and a short forearm. I taught him to knit by holding one needle under his arm and doing all the work with the other needle.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 18, 2015, 10:46:05 am
I was interested to learn more about the one-handed knitting (or not), so I asked Hazel Tindall (http://www.hazeltindall.com/), Hand Knitting Specialist.  She's a Shetlander, has twice won the accolade "The World's Fastest Knitter" (in which she uses her knitting belt ;) ), and she was Patron of Shetland Wool Week 2014.  I was lucky enough to be on one of her Stranded Knitting Workshops last year.

Here's our conversation :

Me:
Quote
Hazel, please could you settle a debate? I can see in theory how one could knit one-handed using a knitting (or makin') belt, holding the yarn 'continental-style' in the left hand - but does anyone actually *do* this as far as you know? And in your opinion, would the crofters of old have done it?
 

Hazel:
Quote
People who have had strokes find this is a way to keep going. I was asked if I could knit one handed by someone planning an odd project. I tried with belt and could manage with my left hand - had to sit on my right hand! No-one would knit with just one hand from choice, in my opinion.

Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 18, 2015, 10:56:56 am
Found a wee clip of Hazel knitting at speed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o)

She also made one of her own, to show how to use the knitting belt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47TfU12rR4I). 
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Fleecewife on January 18, 2015, 11:36:57 am
She keeps the work so close to the needle tips!  I would be dropping stitches right left and centre if I did that.  ::) :knit:

I've never used a knitting belt as I use circular needles even when I'm not knitting circles, but I can see how useful it would be using the long needles, especially if you're walking about.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 18, 2015, 11:44:20 am
She does have the work close to the tips yes, but she has her fingers on the stitches, controlling them. 

I used to do all my knitting on circs too, but found I was getting a lot of pain in my right shoulder.  Now I use the knitting belt when convenient and appropriate, and circs at other times.  I've also learned to do the 'armpit' method, which gives me another position to choose, to use different muscles again ;)

Now I am used to the knitting belt, I prefer it to circs.  I have very long dpns and very very long dpns!   :D  I spend less time squooshing the knitting along using them than I do with circs.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on January 18, 2015, 10:03:38 pm
How does a knitting belt work?
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 19, 2015, 12:45:40 am
How does a knitting belt work?

Found a wee clip of Hazel knitting at speed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o)

She also made one of her own, to show how to use the knitting belt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47TfU12rR4I).

Have a watch of those videos, Lesley; they both show Hazel using hers.  The second one she's slowing it down so you can see clearly how she handles the stitches, and how the pin is positioned in the belt.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Louise Gaunt on January 19, 2015, 08:54:54 am
I learnt to knit anchoring my needle under my right arm , and can knit quite quickly this way. I am also getting to like seamless knitting on a circular needle, especially using magic loop. I am struggling with continental knitting ! I think because my right needle isn't firmly clamped under my right arm!
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 19, 2015, 09:05:33 am
Louise, you can do continental with the right needle under your arm; just move the other needle and the yarn around the static tip.

I was not so good at continental until I started doing stranded.  It seemed natural to have one yarn in each hand, so then of course I was doing continental with the left yarn! 

Yesterday I even managed some purl stranded, although I'm still rather clunky at it.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Anke on January 19, 2015, 09:59:18 am
Louise, you can do continental with the right needle under your arm; just move the other needle and the yarn around the static tip.

Right needle under which arm? Continental knitting - the right hand/needle is doing all the work  :-\

I can ONLY knit continental and have tried to teach myself british, but have given up, life is just too short... it makes my stranded knitting a bit slower as I switch wool, but it allows me to control the tension better.
Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 19, 2015, 10:09:12 am
I think of continental as 'yarn in left hand, being picked through the loop' as opposed to English-style 'yarn in right hand being thrown around the needle'.

Back to our Shetland knitters doing stranded using a knitting belt - the right needle is more-or-less fixed (though you can flex the tip slightly) and they carry a yarn on each hand, picking the left yarn through the loop mainly by moving the left needle and controlling the yarn with the finger. 


Title: Re: Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel project
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on January 19, 2015, 11:34:36 pm
How does a knitting belt work?

Found a wee clip of Hazel knitting at speed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEh7acrr5o)

She also made one of her own, to show how to use the knitting belt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47TfU12rR4I).

Have a watch of those videos, Lesley; they both show Hazel using hers.  The second one she's slowing it down so you can see clearly how she handles the stitches, and how the pin is positioned in the belt.


Thanks, Sally. I think I might get myself one. It does remind me of when I had a knitting cat - or one who thought he was a knitting cat. I knitted with the end of the needle in his mouth.