Spinning Sunday #1 – Learning the hard way.

July 9, 2007 at 4:13 am | Posted in Spinning | 2 Comments

Sunday SpinningSince I had my resurgence in knitting back in 2003, I’ve been looking at a lot blogs that had people who spun their own yarn as well as knit it.

I was fascinated. In 2004 I bought the book/magazine Spin It by Lee Raven. I devoured the book and read through it repeatedly, marveling at the fact that something as mystical as spun yarn could be done so simply. And not only simply, but with something that was relatively inexpensive.

The problem for me, was that I  had no way of getting fibre or the tools needed to spin it. I began looking online and putting things on holiday wish lists, but since I was still living at home with my mother, I wasn’t exactly allowed to purchase things online, and my family didn’t really understand the value of spinning. Drop spindle, first yarn, tester pack

Due to this, it was 2 whole years before I was able to find my drop spindle at Lettuce Knit this past New Years. While there I was tempted by a number of different fibres and I bought a few (they’ll come up on future Spinning Sundays. For today, I’ll talk about the first half of my tester pack.

This was a group of 5 colours of a lovely wool, each colour had about 0.5 oz of fibre to it, and I figured it was the perfect stuff to try out.

When I got home from Lettuce Knit, I grabbed my copy of Spin It and began spinning. This was a challenge, I really had no idea how to hold anything or get it to work at aFirst Skeinll. My first tiny skein of gray yarn was uneven and slubby, but it was mine and I thought it was gorgeous.

I very much had to spin and park. I couldn’t get the hang of drafting while the drop spindle was going. I never once saw anything that resembled a drafting triangle. And yet, I managed to get this one little skein of yarn.

It was a moment of accomplishment for me, I kept showing my fiance to try to get him to ooo and ahh over it, but as most knitters and fibre workers know, those reactions are lacking from “mugglSecond Yarnes”.

The next day I hopped online for a bit and looked up some sites. I realized that I could use even fewer fibres and the yarn would still be strong enough to hold its own. I was amazed when I spun the next colour and it came out not only a finer thickness than the first skein, but more even. It helped that it was in one of my favourite colours too.

Figuring that if I could get this yarn to be so fine and pretty, the next colour had to be better, I tried spinning with even fewer fibres to see how thin I could get the yarn. It was here that I realized that I found out that there was a limit to how thin you could get the yarn and still have it bear the weight of the drop spindle.

Third SkeinAfter a few snaps of the yarn and clatters of the spindle, I decided that I didn’t need lace weight yarn, at least not yet.

I did find that plying my yarn was quite difficult. Following the explanation in Spin It regarding plying this yarn by winding it around your arm and then putting it on your wrist merely had me ending up with a pile of twisted spaghetti like yarn that would not untangle as I tried to ply it.

I still need to figure out a better way to do it, I might have to see about making or buying some bobbins to hold the singles. I only have 2 more of these small testers and then I’m on to some lovely tops that I bought. I’m hoping that I can handle the bigger amounts of yarn a bit better than these small ones. At least the bigger amounts can be sectioned without seeming like a waste.

Wish me luck!



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  1. That’s really good for your first time. Mine is so awful still. Then again its my own fault for not practicing.

  2. you have accomplished a lot for just starting.

    Easiest way to ply if you have only one spindle is to pull it off carefully in one piece – you have automatically made a center pull ball and can just ply with one tail from each end.

    Failing that – wind off into a center pull ball and go from there.

    Have tried all the other options – they are a pain.

    If you need to store handspun for a while – slide an empty TP core over your ball winder and then wind. you now have a small cone to store and the yarn will settle better.

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