Monday, September 2, 2013

My First Attempt At Spindle Spinning

Today here in the States,it's Labor Day,which is a holiday to honor the American worker. It's a rainy day,a good one to curl up with a book (or a Kindle...can one curl up with a Kindle? I still can't).We hang out here at home,though many folks go away for the long weekend. Labor Day is considered the "unofficial" end of summer. The traffic is also terrible,which is another good reason to stay home!

Yesterday was my first attempt at spinning. I have read a couple of books, "Respect The Spindle," by Abby Franquemont and "Start Spinning-Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn" by Maggie Casey. Both books are excellent. I also watched a couple of videos on You Tube to get a visual demonstration.

Why a spinning spindle and not a spinning wheel? The answer is twofold :1)I don't have the space,even for a table top wheel and 2) wheels are not cheap. Good ones run several hundred dollars,and I didn't want to invest that much money into something I had never attempted before. Spindles vary in price,depending on the wood,if there is an inlay,etc. Since I am a novice,I settled on a very basic spindle by Schacht. It has hi and low whirl capability on it,so I can practice with both to see which I am more comfortable with. ( More on that on another post). I also had to learn which size spindle to buy for the wool I am using. I am using Romney wool,which is a longer wool and is considered a worsted weight. I got the roving (wool that has been washed,cleaned,and carded)from Colonial Acres Farm,where we are buying our two Romney sheep this Fall.

So,I had my roving,my spindle,and my Kindle by my side so I could read the instructions as I went along. The first thing I tried to do was to make a leader yarn,which is the yarn that you first wrap around your spindle and then attach your roving to by spinning. It seems like most spinners use already made yarn for the leader. I didn't do that that well,it came out rather bulky,but,hey,this is practice,right?

Next came the spinning. Now,the process does seem real simple first.It really does. The wool attaches to the spindle,you twirl the spindle creating a twist and tension,and then you stop the spindle and let your hand holding the roving move upwards,so the twist runs up it. You also control the size of yarn you want. I have no photos of this,as I want to do it properly first.( I know,a visual would be much better than my poor attempt at explaining it).

It is very awkward,and I am sure that it will continue to be awkward for a while. I had yarn unwind on me,some yarn came out thin and some came out very bulky.

You can see in the photo the various sizes that came out. Not quite knit ready,is it? One thing I will say is that it is a great arm workout. My arms are sore today,and I think I spent maybe an hour working on this. 

As they say,practice makes perfect,and I certainly didn't expect to spin a perfect skein of yarn on my first attempt. Nor do I expect to do it on my second,third,fourth,fifth....

I figure if I spent even just half an hour day working on it,eventually it won't feel awkward,and I will be able to crank out yarn like the ladies I see at agricultural Fairs!! Those ladies can SPIN!


  1. Your yarn is lovely. There are spinners who try to get the effect of uneven yarns that you did naturally!!!

    Nice work, and congratulations to your arms.