4 years ago today* I started spinning on a drop spindle. This was really my second attempt at spinning but the first attempt didn't work out so well. I've come a long way since then and since I had just recently published a few dyeing roving videos I thought it was time to try to create a spinning video.
*March 28, 2016
This is not a how to spin video, but a look at how I spun this particular yarn. My followers frequently ask to see what I made with a particular yarn or fiber, and to be honest I haven't had a chance to knit or spin many of the fibers I've dyed. They are in my queue of projects but end up being pushed backwards each time a new baby is born or another winter comes around. Today, in honor of my 4 year spinnaversary I decided that I would take the most recent fiber I dyed and spin it up. I broke Wilton's violet food coloring on braided roving which gave some really awesome speckles of color.
This spinning video is not a tutorial. I am not trying to teach you HOW to spin on a Kromski Fantasia like my trusty Sandry, but really more showing the decisions that I made when spinning. If you gave the same fiber to 20 different spinners you would get 20 different yarns.
Here are some of the questions that I think about before I start spinning:
- How many ply's do you want? (1, 2, 3, N-ply etc)
- What direction will you spin the wool (S or Z)?
- How thin will you spin the yarn?
- When drafting the fiber, how will you divide it up? You could pull the fiber apart to do a gradient, or create long or short stripes depending on how you start.
- Do you want to create a specialty yarn by introducing beads, different thicknesses, thread or anything else you could imagine?
To be honest, I don't always think VERY hard about these questions. I try to let the fiber speak to me and as I start spinning I decide how thick or thin to spin it. I usually make a decision about the number of plys and the direction before I start, but sometimes even that can change as I go along.
Today I'm going to make a 2 ply yarn. I will spin it traditionally with Z-twist singles (spinning the wheel clockwise) and plied with an S-twist (counterclockwise). Sometimes I weigh the fiber after separating it to adjust, but my singles aren't perfectly regular so I frequently with have a few extra yards on one bobbin even if I start out dividing the fiber evenly.
I'm not that good at planning out the thickness of my yarn yet. I sort of let the fiber speak to me and try to stay consistent with how I'm drafting it.
I wish that I measured the WPI of these singles. Maybe they are fingering weight?
Spinning is a lot harder to finish up these days between Lucky, Rowdy and Indy. Sometimes I'll sit down to start spinning and someone will wake up, start barking or need a snack. I can't spin while Lucky is awake because he will want to play on the wheel, too.
Time to ply! I never know how even the bobbins will be. In the past I've weighted them but really it doesn't matter too much. I just try to start with as even an amount of yarn as I can and then try to spin consistently.
After I finished plying the yarn there wasn't very much left on the second bobbin. Wow! I didn't even weigh the fiber this time. Normally I'd use my ball winder to create a center pull ball and then ply from both ends, but the remaining yarn is short enough that I just wound it around my hand. I plied the yarn from this little ball.
I wound the 2 ply yarn onto my PVC pipe niddy noddy.
81 wraps =324 feet = 108 yards
If I measured the WPI I didn't write it down. I think the yarn is probably a heavy worsted but I will need to update this once I can confirm it.
Broken violet food coloring is one of my favorite things to dye and then to spin. I love the way the colors break into multiple tones. The depth of color is amazing!
Spinning started and completed 3/28/16. Plying completed 3/29/16.