Spin doctor: Hepple WI were pleased to welcome Cynthia Riley to their June meeting to give a most enlightening and Hepplentertaining talk on spinning. Cynthia first took up spinning some ten years ago.
She began by outlining the history of the spinning wheel, which was first used in the 11th century, and was introduced to England in the 16th century.
She explained that there were many different types of fibre to spin - wool, obviously, from sheep, hair from the camel family, such as Alpaca, cashmere from goats, angora from rabbits, as well as cotton, flax and silk. Wool itself is the oldest trade commodity in the world.
Cynthia then explained how to prepare the wool for spinning. Firstly the fleece is washed to get rid of some of the grease/lanolin. It is then carded and rolled before being spun. She demonstrated both a single and double-ply wool.
Cynthia prefers to use natural dyes, rather than synthetic, on her wool, using particularly elderberry, to obtain some beautiful shades. She stressed how important it was to choose the correct type of fleece to match the garment, eg Cheviot fleece produced a warm, soft wool, whereas for a fine/thin jumper, a black-faced/swale fleece would be better.
The competition for the evening for a knitted article was won by Bessie Rogerson, with Barbara Hunter taking both second and third places.