When I wrote my Yarndale post last week I mentioned the amazing drop spindle I got from Spin City I have been meaning to write a post about my spinning adventures ever since but I just don’t seem to have gotten round to it. But now, it is early (ish) on a Saturday morning, all is quite, I have a cup of tea and I am ready to write!
I have wanted to learn to spin for a long, long time but for some reason I didn’t think it was something that I could learn to do. For some reason it seemed too inaccessible to me, I watched videos of people doing it and I had no idea how they magically turned fluffy clouds into useable yarns. It seemed like wizardry to me. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t understand the terminology at all.
And then I came across the amazing Spin City stall at Yarndale. My mother-in-law and I were just about to leave as it was nearly closing time when she suggested going down just one more aisle of stalls. As we turned the corner I saw all of these utterly beautiful drop spindles and clouds and clouds of colourful roving. I felt a bit like I had found diagon alley.
I met the lovely Nadia from who taught me how to spin. And that was it! I’m pretty sure I fell in love with spinning. I had no idea it would be something I could just pick up and start doing straight away. For some reason I thought I would be spending months making unusable tangles, but after about five minutes I had an arm length piece of yarn! It turned out I could do magic too!
Can you see the intense look of concentration on my face?
My mother-in-law very kindly bought me an early birthday present and I had a lovely time choosing this utterly beautiful drop spindle…
… and I also got some amazing snow cloud roving which I forgot to take a picture of pre-yarn but it was super-duper soft and super-duper fluffy. It was, indeed, a lot like a snow cloud. As I walked away with my lovely present Nadia said, “a spinner is born” and I felt like I was being inducted into some sort of secret society. I was pretty excited!
The next day, alone in the house, I decided to see if I could do some solo spinning without an expert to hold my hand. I watched this video…
…and I was ready to go!
After a few false starts I managed to get the hang of it. After about an hour I was dancing around the kitchen, drop spindle spinning, singing “spin, draft. pinch and jump!”. I have found I prefer spinning standing up because it is what I can only call a full body yarn experience. With knitting and crocheting you pretty much only use your hands and fingers. But with spinning on a drop spindle I found I was using my arms, shoulders, knees and toes (don’t ask!) and for some reason it felt completely magical! The yarn I made is far from perfect. It is, by turns, lace weight and super chunky and everything in between. But it is also beautiful in the way that all home and hand made things are beautiful. I
Within two evenings I had totally spun the roving I bought at Yarndale and I needed to get my hands on some more! I wanted to ply the yarn with a second colour to make it look a bit more special. I had been doing quite a lot of grey and mustard things recently so I decided to go for something different. I bought this malabrigo nube in sabiduria online and then waited eagerly for the postie to bring me my present!
(You can also see the spun snow cloud in this photo)
When it arrived, I ripped open the envelope and reveled in the colours. It is every kind of reddish purple you can imaging and I love how the colours change from almost pinkish to dark plum.
But the texture confused me. With the spin city roving it was light and fluffy and pulled apart whispily and easily. But this felt somehow compacted and it really didn’t want to be pulled apart or drafted. I was a bit worried I was doing something wrong. Then after a little while I realised I needed to pull the fibres apart a little bit first it would become the fluffy cloud I was expecting. Like so…
Thinning out the fibres this way also seemed to make the colours change, and then spinning the yarn made the colours change again. I’m telling you – magic.
I suppose it is just practise but my yarn now seemed to be coming out a bit more evenly. I was a little bit proud of myself.
And now it was time to ply my yarn. It took me a little while to figure out that I needed to do this to stop it from twisting up on itself but this brilliant blog from yarn geek fibers helped me to work it.
So once I got the hang of spinning the spindle the other way, this is what I made…
…Tada! I know that it is totally imperfect, thick and thin, full of slubs and bits of it will probably fall apart when I try to make something with it – but I just don’t care. I made it and it is beautiful. I can also now completely see why people have so much fun naming their colour ways. I’m going to call this one sugar plum fairy and I think I’ll make a hat with a big sugar plum bobble on the top.
I’m super excited about my new spinning adventures and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m really excited to learn about different fibres, how they work and which ones are right for me. I have asked for a subscription to the World of Wool fibre club for my birthday so I’m really looking forward to having a kind of introduction to lots of different fibres.
Apart from the blogs and videos I have already mentioned, I also found these people very helpful in beginning to learn to spin…
There were some hugely helpful posts of craftsy;
This was great for inspiration
And this post was brilliant for helping to explain all the fibre terminology. At first when shopping for fibre on etsy I felt totally confused and overwhelmed. Tops? Roving? Batts? Rolags ? Excuse me, what was that? After reading this I felt a bit more up to speed and I’m looking forward to buying some fibres from some lovely independent business in the near future.
And if you’ve stuck with me all this way – thank you! I had fun sharing my yarny adventures with you!