It's wood? Check.
It's free? Check.
I think that's a go.
Actually, I don't know how hemlock is to turn. Is this 'hemlock fir'? If so, it might be a bit pitchy and sticky to turn. (A lot of guys don't like to turn green pine, for example, due to all the sticky pitch.) I'd say get some and give it a spin. If it doesn't work out, you've got some free firewood.
At this point in my own lathe education, I'll try turning just about anything, if for no other reason than the experience. Hopefully some of the other guys will have some experience to share with you about hemlock.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan
Now that is a good deal! Even Socrates had to work for his.
it tears out abit at least for me.... but the piece i have has some real nice figuring so i'm sticking with it... go ahead and try it... never hurts... not usually anyway