.My favourite hobby is 300 years old. And when I use one of my spindles it’s 6,000 years old. I learned to spin on a wheel after seeing a re-enactor at our local summer fair in 1995 and soon bought this second-hand wheel. 

It’s called a “Lendrum” wheel after it’s designer, Canadian Gord Lendrum. They’re now in use world-wide and a popular “Castle” style wheel. That means it’s upright in front of the spinner instead of the wheel being off to the side of the spinner, the way you see in the Sleeping Beauty cartoon. This style of wheel was popular in Ireland. My wheel was made in 1987, and bears Gord Lendrum’s initials wood-burned into the base of it. He started making them in his garage in his home in British Columbia. 

This group of women have been meeting informally once a month for thirty years. Spinning your own yarn out of wool, silk, or flax isn’t a dying art. You can find us everywhere! Once you get the bug it’s hard to stop. We knit, crochet and weave what we spin and it’s an addictive hobby because you have a hard time passing up the next fluffy sheep or alpaca fleece, roving or batt. 
Shetland Sheep at the Manitoba Fibre Festival
A baby alpaca and an unrelated alpaca at the Manitoba Fibre Festival

These ladies are Viking re-enactors visitng someone showing off pioneer tools. Every year at our Fibre Festival we get vendors from across Canada. There’s a National fleece contest for both sheep and alpaca judged by international judges, as well as sheep-shearing demonstrations which are always a crowd favourite. 

Held every second week of September, it’s my “never miss” event of the year!

This is a 50/50 blend of merino wool/silk (from silkworms) that I’m spinning up for a lace shawl. It’s not my usual colour so I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new as I’m normally in the purple/pink/blue tones. I loved the orange/green/copper of the roving (a prepared long unbroken piece of wool/silk ready to spin) and decided to go for a new colour.

I feed the roving through a drafting process with my fingers, into the hole in the front of the piece and it draws onto the bobbin as I push with my foot on the treadle, making the spinning wheel itself rotate around. The rotation of the wheel puts the twist into the fibres which makes the thread/yarn. The more rotations, the tighter the twist and the finer the yarn. The less rotations the thicker the yarn. In this case, I’m going for a lace weight.

Once the bobbin is full, I start over again with a second bobbin. When that ones full, I’ll put them on my “Lazy Kate” which just holds them both on a metal rod so I can bring up the yarn easily and ply the two pieces together onto another bobbin on my wheel. Now I’ll spin them onto the bobbin together, rotating the wheel in a counter-clockwise direction so that they’re twisted together into one, making it yarn. And I’m done!

There won’t be much time for spinning or knitting during November when we authors will be busy NaNo-ing! It’s a month of trying to write a novel in a month – 50,000 words or 1,677 words a day. So, I’ve enjoyed my Fibre Festival, my spinning meet, and prepping my fibre for the next little while.

After Halloween, it’s time to hit November 1st with Book 2 of my series “Heroes of the Tundra”. I hope you’ll join me here each week to learn a little bit about the behind-the-scenes of NORTHERN DECEPTION: Heroes of the Tundra, Book 1, before it releases December 4, 2018.

I have a giveaway in mind for the month of November! Stay tuned because a lucky commenter during the month of November is going to get a cool prize.