Saturday, May 5, 2012

Second Spinning Attempt

If you look at the yarns I want, you will notice that there are some stunning handspun examples. I love dyeing my own yarn, but the depth of color you can get from spinning the yarn yourself is amazing.

I tried spinning my first yarn and got about 3-10 yards of super bulky 2 ply. What I had not been able to do is figure out how to draft. I'm realizing that the thinner the yarn is that you're dealing with, the easier it is for the drop spindle to spin. I pre-draft the yarn (much thinner than I would have thought to do last time), but as I work on this purple wool, I am realizing that I am more and more able to draft as I spin.

The way I see it, if I am able to spin, and knit with what I spin, then I should be able to get a spinning wheel. There is no point in investing in a piece of equiptment 1) before I can afford it and 2) before I know that I like the process. This time, rather than being stressful I am finding the spinning very relaxing.

I'm still not sure what helped make the process click. Maybe I've watched so many videos over these last few years that it made an impression in my brain.

When I wound the yarn around a tuperware (to wash and set it) it broke a few times. It always broke in the thicker, less spun places. These brakes occurred much more frequently when I moved towards the beginning of my spinning. I'm improving as I move along!

The tupperware container is about 2 feet around. Therefore (from counting the number of wraps, I have spun 110 wraps = 220 feet = ~73 yards!! All of this in a few hours. This means that it would be possible to spin a reasonable amount of yarn in a day (someday when I'm good.)

I wet the yarn and let it dry to set the spin. We'll see how well this works! (I wet the yarn with the sprayer in the sink. I used warm water. We'll see!)

I couldn't weigh the yarn while it was wet, but I could way another (batt? top?) that came in the kit. That weighed 37 g. I really need a WPI (wraps per inch) stick so I can estimate the weight of the yarn better. It looks like it may be around a DK...

I spun the multicolored roving, and then I had to stop. I just went through 3-4 constant hours of spinning, and I think that is enough for one day! I didn't look at the clock, but I think I spent 2-3 hours spinning the blue/green multi. I am going to have to stop for the day because my hands hurt! (Plus I only have one more batch of roving left.) The multicolored yarn looks to be more of a fingering weight than the purple. 97 wraps = 194 feed = ~65 yards.

I took the skein off of the tuperware before it was completely dry to try to aviod ridges in the skein (not that this would hurt a knitting project, just for aesthetic value.) Unfortunately some of the more tightly twisted pieces bunched up. Oh well, this will add character to my project!

Watching this video made me realize why my twist isn't consistent. While spinning, I let the twist into large regions at once, making the twist uneven. I will try to slide my hand to release yarn into the spin, but this is difficult when I am also holding the yarn up. I think this is something I could manage easier with a wheel.

I started the dark Blue (Saphire) a little differently. I did a lot less predrafting and more drafting while I was spinning. I had some difficuly with this one, and with parts spillting as I took it off the spindle. I had some issues with directionality, and keeping track of which way I was spinning it. I'm not sure what I did, but the yarn is still pretty!
91 Wraps = 182 feet = 60 yards.

This morning I told Keith I wanted a spinning wheel for my 30th birthday.... but I don't think I could wait over a year and a half! I have no idea what kind of wheel I want, and I know I am going to have to test out a bunch of different models before I decide. There are some great articles on how to choose your first spinning wheel, but I would appreciate any advice from you, too!


  1. I tried using a drop spindle. And failed miserably. I've watched all the videos, read all the tutorials. I just flat couldn't get it. The two hand coordination of spinning and drafting - not my thing.

    I got a spinning wheel (Ashford Kiwi) about a month (or two?) ago (it's extremely affordable - I recommend buying from as that's where I got mine and they have great "gift with purchase" options). It took a couple of frustrating starts, but now I can spin fairly even yarn without predrafting at all. And since I'm making it spin with my feet, I don't get the two-handed-confusion that I had with the drop spindle.

    Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there. In my opinion, drop spindle spinning and wheel spinning are two different worlds (though, chances are that if you can master the first you'll have a lot less trouble than I did with the second).

    Good luck, and keep up the fabulous spinning. (:

    1. It took a long brake and a second attempt for me to "get it". I have heard good things about Ashford Kiwis. I am hoping to get to a fiber festival this summer where I can see a bunch of wheels in person before I make my decision. I am finding spinning so relaxing that I haven't been knitting! (But I have ideas for all of the yarn I am producing.)

      Thank you so much for the great advice!

  2. You inspired me to try spinning :D even though I don't know where I could get a cheap drop spindle or wool in that form...

    1. Yea! I love to inspire people!

      I got my drop spindle kit off of ebay (from Maine Wool and Fiber) and it came with 4 colors of unspun wool. has some roving and a drop spindle at very affordable prices, too. (I like their spindle type, although I haven't tried it, because you wind the yarn into a center pull ball as you spin it, which would make plying etc much easier at the end. I don't ply because I don't have an easy way to do it!)

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