Monday, April 8, 2013

How I Like to Spin

I'm fairly new to spinning. I don't have a wheel; I have a little collection of drop spindles, a shoebox kate, a wool winder, a swift, and a lot of toilet paper rolls for bobbins. I'm not a sophisticated spinner, either, as you will see, but I'm happy with my results and that's my measuring stick for success. Here's how I'm spinning up some blue faced leicester top from Turtlepurl. I purchased it a couple of days ago looking like this.

A sophisticated spinner would undo the big braid and separate the long length of fibre into two or more long lengths with the goal of spinning graduated colour singles. Not me. First I weigh the whole thing so that I'll know when I've spun half ( I want to spin two bobbins of singles and then ply them together.) Then I pull off a handful of the fibre from one end. This fibre is a little matted (probably from the dye process), so then I tease it apart into a sort of thin square, opening up the matted bits, like this.

 I do it on my lap, but here you see it held up to the window. Then, I fold the square/rectangle in half,

and gently pull out a thick rope of roving from the top of the fold.

Finally, I wind the roving I've created around my wrist, ready for spinning.

The result isn't a carefully graduated set of colour changes, but rather a cloud of softly blended colour. I like it. A lot.

I don't fuss if now and then there's a slight bit of unevenness. This is hand spinning and my goal is to produce something uniquely beautiful, something that doesn't look as if it came from a machine or even my local yarn shop. Now, what to do with the final yarn.... Ideas?


  1. I can't offer any inspiring yarn-use ideas, but I really like the way you've prepared this fibre to spin. I'm often a bit flummoxed on how to approach multi-coloured roving and I think this is a great way to blend the colours. Bravo!

  2. It's beautiful colour. I would make a very basic cowl. For instance cast on 60 sts in round. Do knit for 10 rows, 10 rows purl, 10 rows knit and so on until end. I made one like this with hand spun dyed alpaca and is very cosy.

    1. I'm leaning in the direction of a cowl, and certainly there's enough going on with this wool that something simple is called for. Good idea.

  3. I have a picture of mine on Ravelry.