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Blog written by Debbie from The Lace Knittery

New toy!

When I first started to spin nearly twenty years ago I had a wheel I had no idea how to use and a bundle of sheep wool I had picked off the fences of the local Somerset farms. Not a good start unless you are a super bloody minded, no lump of wood is getting the better of me, sweartastic, anal and stubborn individual like me (…note I am like this and it came in handy when dealing with teenage strops).

Scroll through the years…picture leaves blowing off a tree, clouds racing across the sky, clothes going on and off a tailors dummy…still love that film…and today I have several wheels, spindles and fibre prep equipment but have never tried a blending board.

Well I knew I could never sneak another wheel in the house, they are just too big but a thing the size of a chopping board EASY. First I had to find one in stock somewhere. Flipping heck everyone I have been really missing out, why did no one tell me there was a shortage of boards. I finally tracked one down and an Ashford blending board arrived two days later.

I did the usual, read the instructions…bollocks I want to play…tangled lump that was as hard as a brick resulted…step up into bloody minded gear and read the instructions. Not really comprehensive so I then did my next favourite thing…cogitate!

I love a good cogitate. You think I am spinning or typing or driving but I am also cogitating on how, why, where, what if. A week later I think I have it worked out.

It’s all about the fibre, but then isn’t everything?! What I mean is it’s all about the amount of fibre you add on the board and then the amount you pulled off and how.

Lovely little rolls above was one of two but I had a spin with the first. Not overloading the board makes them easy to spin with. Check simple rolag then I wanted to push it. How about making a continual roving? I need a diz…bum, haven’t got one but that’s never stopped me. I didn’t have hand carders for the first year of my spinning adventure. I used a pet hair comb. It worked was really slow but cost under a £. Back to the diz, need something with a hole in, and something that I could hold and easily push, pull and not lose. To the button box batman…..

It worked! Continuous roving is possible on a blending board. I could have gone on and on but a kitten intervened and legged it with a load of fibre.

Kitten removed by feeding her and back to the board. My next attempt was little pencil rolag things. I loaded more fibre on the board than the roving, overlapped the colours and started pulling it off.

It takes more effort than you think to pull the fibres apart. Lift them up from the board and apply a steady pressure while winding. You can get four from each board. I love them and want to give them googly eyes and names. I can now see why they were out of stock, you can produce a lot of different things and for blending fibre and colour you are in total control…possibilities are endless.

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