So Karen came to teach Spinning with a Drop Spindle on Sunday, and there sure was plenty to learn. She brought a bunch of stuff to demonstrate:
She explained the various stages of the process that takes wool from the sheep's back to the spinner's hands, the different preparations from which one can spin, and the characteristics of various fibers (from a spinner's point of view, rather than a knitter's). There was more information than most people could absorb at once, including stuff that was immediately relevant to knitters, like the effect of twist on the finished knitting, and the difference between single-ply yarns and multi-ply yarns.
Washing the raw fleece didn't sound too appealing. Wool combs looked pretty scary. Handcards were better but looked like an awful lot of work.
Then came the spinning.
There was some frustration. There was fierce concentration.
Then there were spindles in the air (as well as in the lap and on the floor).
There were breakthroughs.
Eventually, there was yarn!
People spun from pencil roving and then from a thicker roving that needed to be fluffed up and pre-drafted. The consensus was that the pencil roving is easier for novices. Several people took some home. (Most people had bought some fiber at the same time as they bought their spindles, but no one wanted to waste their hand-painted roving or exotic camel-down on these first experiments.)
The pictures didn't come out, but one participant has already been back (less than 24 hours after the class!) for more fiber--and she had two mini-skeins of her own yarn with her, and a full spindle more!