I've been trying really hard to learn how to use my new spinning wheel - don't let the folks at the craft shows fool you, its not nearly as easy as they make it look!
First off I had my wheel set up completely wrong - I have a double treadle, double drive wheel. The wheel comes with a scotch break, so I was confused about what I was supposed to do with it. I have subsequently learned that I have a piece of my wheel I don't need to use - the scotch break
The picture below shows the WRONG setup. I was using the scotch break and putting the drive bands around the flyer whorl.
What I should have done was remove the scotch break completely, put one drive band round the other end of the bobbin and one drive band round the flyer whorl.
What I have also recently found is article in eHow which discusses changing the tension with an Ashford traveller double drive. Now I understand why the wheel came with a scotch break at all!!
I think I am managing to get a little better with my spinning - I don't think I have my technique quite sorted out yet. I am still struggling with drafting and not letting the twist get back into the bulk of the fibre, I am having to control the twist by slowly letting it travel down the drafted fibre until I meet the bulk by just slightly releasing my pinch on the drafted fibres and sliding my fingers back along the fibres until I meet the bulk. Then I pinch hard to stop the twist completely and then draft out the next little piece of fibre. I know its not a classic or indeed correct approach but I don't think I have sufficient control of the speed and density of twist yet to just let it fly.
I decided that I would try to make things easier for myself by getting some pencil roving - the theory being if I don't have to draft then that I removing one complication, I just have to control the twist.
Well as they say "the best laid plans of mice and men" .... the fibre is lovely, its 100% pure wool and very finely drafted from Cornish Wools. But sadly my talent is not up to the job. When I tried to spin it, it just breaks immediately - I simply cannot get any twist into it - I have absolutely no idea what I am doing wrong and the experiment has just proved how much I have to learn.
In an effort to not waste such lovely fibre I decided to try spinning two thicknesses of the fibre together. I have no idea if this was smart or not - but after a few false starts it "seems" to be working.... for now ... we'll see.