Trying something new

February 16, 2009

I’ve always been intrigued by spinning. I see the gorgeous handspun that others make and wish that I could make lovely yarn too. I few years back, I participated in a “DIY Kit” Craftster swap. My swap package was a “learn to spin” kit. I opened it, finding parts to make my own wooden drop spindle, a few different colored fiber samples, and instructions. Busy at the time, I put it away thinking that I would try some other time.

Time passed, and the intrigue over handspun has only grown stronger. So strong, in fact, that when I was invited to join the Handspun February flickr group by NotHip (of Neither Hip nor Funky), I knew that this would be the month I try this spinning thing out. I mean, really, what else do I have to do with my time? Write my thesis? Nonsense!

So I built my little wooden drop spindle, a top whorled one, and anxiously tried this out. The past few weeks I’ve read a lot of beginning to spin stuff online and watched a few how-to videos. I thought I could do it immediately.

YIP 2009 | 2.15.09
[Blue yarn is the first try. Didn’t pre-draft or draft enough. Red yarn is the second try. A bit better on the pre-drafting and drafting. I plied those 2 together and felt much better about my attempts. Attempt number 3, the white, is even better — it’s on the spindle in the photo since it’s not finished]

Dang, this spinning thing is HARD. So I tried a few times. Frustrated and teary, I didn’t give up. I’m already starting to see some improvement, albeit small, between the first two yarns and the third one which is still on the spindle.

Learning to spin?

So now I am determined to get this. Kasy said that next winter he and I can really work on making a wheel, with bike parts of course, and until then I really want to get the drop spindle down. I don’t want to give up and get a wheel thinking it’ll be easier. I want to master this drop spindle! I’m going to make a bottom whorl spindle and see if I have an easier time with that one.

A bit of 2-ply

I have a gorgeous braid of fiber that I bought from Stephig of Spinning Colors. The colorway is “Blueberry Roast” and I love it so much. While part of me wants to crack into it right now, I need to save it. I can’t imagine making horrible yarn with it and being happy with myself. I just bought a few single ounces of fiber on etsy and will continue to practice with that, and the samples I still have.

Maybe soon I will spin my Blueberry Roast and make a hat or something.

One day, I really want to spin yarn to knit socks out of. Patience, Andrea. Patience.

Now back to that grad school thing….

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6 Responses to “Trying something new”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I’d say those look pretty good for first spinning tries! I admire your determination to master the drop spindle. I was very very good at spindling, but I think I’m not too bad on the wheel. I think perhaps it was just a better match for me; I’m still in awe of the people who can spin fairly large quantities of yarn on a spindle!


  2. Those look like excellent first efforts! I can’t manage a spindle to save my butt, so I’m extra impressed. Look forward to seeing what type of wheel you end up prototyping later.

    Cheers, Velma

  3. Steph Says:

    You should spin it!!! I can always dye more for you. 😉

  4. Peahen Says:

    I enjoyed reading this post – well done. I only learned last year and can recognise your frustrations! The more you do, the easier it gets, honest. And it’s so rewarding. I think you’re so right to master spinning using the drop-spindle. A wheel makes the whole thing quicker, and perhaps more relaxing (a little less physical), but you need to master the techniques, and that’s easier to do on the drop. please keep at it, and post your progress.

  5. barefootrooster Says:

    your spinning looks great! (way better than my first attempts.) i found that trying a lighter spindle made all the difference for me. also — thank you, thank you for the toe up sock tutorial. i LOVE the heel method you’re using here — makes sense to me, coming from top-down heel flap socks. almost done with sock #1 of my very first toe up pair.

  6. Natalie Says:

    Holy crap. If you make a wheel out of bicycle parts please post a how to or pictures or something! I would love that! I’ve been spindle spinning a bit as well, and am loving it. I just knit with my first handspun too.


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