Technically my first hand-spun was created around 5 or 6 years ago. I was gifted a 2 day course for my Birthday in beginner spinning at Mayshot Orchard by my parents. A gorgeous cottage in the countryside of East Anglia and a pear orchard with a small flock of rare breed sheep. Jayne had several wheels of differing sizes and constructions, bags upon bags of fleece, and oodles of knowledge to pass on to willing pupils. I even remember her telling us that the cavity walls of the house were filled with sheep fleece as insulation – yarny heaven!
Upon arrival the wheels were set up for us. We were introduced to the basics of sheep fleece, practised some carding, and were then let loose on the wheels under her guidance and supervision. We even went for a stroll to the orchard to meet the sheep whose fleeces we were spinning. Leaving after two days of learning and spinning I took away a little ball of yarn containing a huge range of sheep breeds and alpaca. Even a little dog hair!
Now I’ve been lent a wheel by a lovely lady and I’ve started spinning on my own. Hence why I’m calling this my first hand-spun unsupervised. I set myself up in my craft room, duly named because it really isn’t much use as a spare bedroom anymore! A very different environment from the quaint cottage I first learnt in, but workable all the same.
With no carders available my Suffolk sheep fleeces were to sit there a little longer, and instead I broke open one of the Polwarth and Merino D’Arles tops from the shop. Splitting the top down the middle, I carefully (and somewhat clumsily) spun two relatively uneven plies of wool. They were then plied together to create the yarn in the photo.
The final yarn varies between a fingering, double knit, and aran weight yarn, and I’m chuffed to bits with it! I will enjoy finding the perfect pattern for this. But for now my foot just wants to keep pedalling. It has been a long time since Mayshot Orchard, but one skein and I think I have another fibre related addiction!