Spinning For Lace
A Video Review
As I mentioned in the two previous video reviews, Interweave had wonderful discounts on their digital products. I found it too hard to pass up, and purchased four videos for slightly more than the most expensive one is regularly priced. The video, Spinning For Lace, with Margaret Stove is one of them, and one I’ve been eyeing for some time now. I purchased the standard definition version as the HD version is more prone to problems, and to be frank, I haven’t been able to tell a difference. Perhaps on the big screen of my TV it would be apparent, but not on my tablet and computer.
Margaret Stove has a relaxed and confident manner in teaching. It’s obvious that she’s taught this subject many times. Her techniques are tried and true; her approach to spinning and handling the wool is practiced. She takes us through the process from fleece to finished yarn to project. She shows us three fleeces, and discusses them briefly. Her process of pulling locks from the fleece in widths the size of your finger seems like a slow and tedious process. However, we see that in 15 minutes time, she has enough prepared to keep her spinning for days or weeks. Using very hot water and a bar of soap, she handles the individual lock aggressively. Alternately, she arranges multiple locks in mesh bags, in the same thickness (finger width), submerges them in very hot and very soapy water. All followed by a good rinse and wrapped in a towel with the extra water squeezed out, they’re allowed to dry and fluff up. She has a brief discussion about dying the wool at this stage with some intriguing possibilities.
She does little preparation after this. She pulls off the weathered tips and picks the locks apart. She spins in a worsted manner, and uses the “grip” the cut end of the lock provides as a tension along with her finger to prevent the twist from running into the drafting triangle. She shows several ways to tension and draft, and performs them expertly. She goes over joins, brake tension, finding the “tip” end, potential drive band difficulties and repetitive motion issues. She spends a good deal of time spinning so you get a good grip on her technique. She has lots of samples: samples of what happens when you do the wrong things, when you do them just right, and the differences in two and more plies. She shows images of fibers and yarn magnified 50 times, which shows how her aggressive handling of the locks isn’t damaging, and how elasticity in the yarn looks. She shows different ways to prepare locks: the difference with combs and a small diz, and a form of flick carding with a full-sized hand card. She briefly goes over how to work with prepared merino fiber. She plies her fiber with two or three singles and even incorporates singles of different fibers, such as mohair and silk.
I loved her video, and her teaching style. She’s articulate, skilled and prepared for this video. Since you can never have too many Aunts, I would adopt her in a second. The only disappointments I found is the length of the video – it should be longer to accommodate more, such as: more time spent on prepared wool, as we don’t always have access to a fresh merino fleece and we find great prepared tops and roving that we want to turn into lace weight yarn. I wish we learned more about the various sheep breeds. She used merino, but there are other breeds that should make wonderful lace yarn, not to mention other fiber types. She had some prepared fiber that was dyed into some interesting color ways, it would have been great if we could see how she prepared them (perhaps with a hackle and diz, but we’ll never know). I would have loved to see her spin from the other direction or “Point Of View” – to see it from her angle would have been priceless. My disappointments are controlled mainly by time constraints and Interweave’s lack of insight on camera angles. If I took one of her workshops, I’m sure I would be “that participant” that drove her crazy with questions. I really want to meet her. Look out Margaret Stove!!!