You spin me right round

With all the talk of the Tour de Fleece lately, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my spinning adventures. I wrote an entry quite a while back sharing my experience with building a DIY spindle. I couldn’t wait to give it a try, so I went to Knit Picks and grabbed a pack of their Bare Wool of the Andes roving.

IMG_2308-2

My first spinning attempts were awful. I ended up with a blobby, unusable mess that couldn’t have been salvaged even if I wanted to try. I was a little discouraged so I shoved my roving and spindle into the back of the closet. I knew I’d eventually be bitten by the bug and want to try again so I let myself forget about it for a few months. Sure enough, I saw some handspun yarn on Instagram and that was the inspiration I needed to break out the roving and spindle again. The thing that amazed me the most with this second attempt was that, despite not working on it for months, it was actually okay! I guess the months of letting the spinning knowledge stew in my brain really helped? (Does that even make sense?)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my first spinning attempt. (I threw it away to run away from the failure, ha ha!) The second attempt was definitely better though! It was thicker than I wanted, sure, but it was more consistent. Once I got the hang of it, all I wanted to do was keep spinning. In fact, I spun half of what I had before I even noticed!

IMG_2828-2

Eventually, I went online and bought a new spindle. I suspect that my little DIY spindle isn’t balanced very well so I wanted to try something that was professionally made. It was a little overwhelming looking at all of the spindles available, but I finally decided on a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle. I liked that I had the option of spinning high or low whorl, and it had good ratings. I used up the last half of my roving the first day it arrived, and it was my best spin yet, though it wasn’t great by any means. But you know what, that’s fine. It was just cool to know that I’m capable of getting better at this after that terrifying first attempt.

My latest goal is to try plying my little pile of singles into a finished yarn. I’m also wanting to give dyeing a try so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on that. I think my first attempt will be dip dyeing, but I’m really excited at the prospect of handpainted yarn. It’ll be a while before I’m feeling confident enough to try that, but until then, I’m going to have a lot of fun spinning my own special yarns.

IMG_2829-2
Close up of my latest spin

I’ll definitely be back to talk about my plying and dyeing attempts, but until then feel free to leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever tried handspinning or dyeing your own yarn. I’d love to hear any stories you have about your first attempts.

See you next time! ❤

Advertisements

DIY Drop Spindle

Recently, I’ve been really interested in the idea of handspinning and dying my own yarn. I spent a huge chunk of my afternoon last week Googling the basics of handspinning. I learned about different types of spindles, where to get fiber, how to prepare your fiber, and finally how to actually spin it. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to learn so I’ve decided to give it a shot!

Knowing that I would need a spindle first, I did a quick search on Google for DIY spindles and found this post on the blog Of Wool and Loveliness. It seemed simple enough so I spent $5 for the necessary materials and went home to start my DIY experiment.

IMG_2054

In case you didn’t read the entry on Of Wool and Loveliness, all it takes to make a basic drop spindle is a dowel, a wooden wheel, and a hook. I bought the dowel and hook at my local home improvement store, and I found the wheel at a craft store.

Technically, once I put the pieces together, my homemade spindle was finished. But I really wanted to customize it and make it look nice so I bought some wood stain and polyurethane. I had stained wood before so it was piece of cake to turn this plain looking spindle into something beautiful.

IMG_2087

I haven’t actually spun with it yet, but I’ve been practicing by giving some of my scrap yarn a twirl. It spins so smoothly too! I was concerned that it would have a wobble, but it’s well balanced. I’m hoping to buy some roving next week, so I’ll definitely write an entry about my spinning experience!

IMG_2088

I talked to T about planting a cotton garden next year, assuming that I enjoy spinning. I read up on how to care for the plants and harvest the cotton. Cotton seems pretty low maintenance, so I’m actually really excited about the idea of planting some. (I might end up doing it even if I decide not to spin it, just because it seems like a waste not to use all this knowledge, ha ha!)

Are any of y’all handspinners? Leave me a comment and let me know! 🙂