Fortunately for everyone, this post is about spinning yarn and not break dancing, though I’m sure my attempts at that would be fascinating too (and possible a lot funnier!) MrCraft made me a lovely drop spindle, as promised, and after watching a handful of YouTube videos I decided it was time to take the plunge and give it a whirl (sorry, awful pun).
It was a very steep learning curve and I’m not sure that what I produced will be much use for making anything. However, the process was really interesting and quite good fun.
The first thing I learned was preparation is key. I know, that is really obvious, but I hadn’t realised just how much I needed on do to my beautifully braided roving before it could be spun. It was quite broad and needed breaking into narrower strips. Of course, being new to this I didn’t really know how narrow the strips needed to be so there was a lot of guesswork involved. Also, once I began to predraft it, the spinning process became much easier.
This leads me on to drafting being harder than it looks. Pull too gently and nothing happens, too hard and it snaps (not really an issue but a little bit frustrating!) I found that more of a gentle stretching/stroking combined motion worked well for the roving I was using. It’s quite tricky to make the yarn an even thickness, though I’m sure it improves with practice. (It appears that a combination of how thin you draft it and how much you spin it control this and I haven’t quite got the hang of it.)
The amount of spin you put on it seems to be quite hard to control too. Spin too much and you get a coil, spin too little and it looks fluffy. (Handy to know if you want either of those effects I guess?) The spinning part is a lot of fun though and it’s very easy to get carried away.
I also discovered that you need to research it well before you start. I was merrily spinning yarn (unevenly) to the approximate thickness I wanted. It was then that I read about plying and learned that my yarn only needed to be half of that thickness so it could be plied. Whoops! I’m going to prepare the rest of my.roving to half of the thickness I’ve been using so that my next batch is better.
The weight of the spindle matters. My fibre kept snapping when spinning and although it can be fixed, it got me thinking about why it was happening. Feeling a bit frustrated with my efforts so far I decided to borrow a book from the library, which contained a handy table of weights needed for the whorl (round bit of the spindle) to make different yarn weights. I’m going to show it to MrCraft as the spindle he made is fab but I suspect it is a bit too heavy for the yarn I’m trying to spin. Hopefully I’ll soon have a lighter spindle so I can carry on!
I also discovered another downside to spinning-my clothes looked like I’d been marauder by a large, fluffy, white creature afterwards! (Sellotape wrapped around my hand soon sorted that.)
Here’s my first go at spinning, varied thickness yarn is very trendy right now, isn’t it?
Here’s a closer look, for the brave amongst you.
The colours are very pretty, so hopefully when I have another go I will make a yarn worthy of using!