Until recently, I had absolutely no desire to learn to spin yarn. Why? I thought, when there’s so much perfectly wonderful yarn available, would I want to go to all the trouble to make my own? I can’t explain what happened. It sort of snuck up on me, this spin hunger. A friend gifted me a handmade inlaid wood spindle along with some purple/pink mystery fiber while learning to make it into yarn, I fell completely in love with spindling. I find this to be the most relaxing process. Completely different than knitting – spindling is more mindless and meditative for me. With no charts or patterns to follow, I just go to my happy place and watch the beautiful fiber become even prettier string, hypnotized by the loveliness of it all.
I taught myself spinning on a drop spindle with the help of Abby Franquemont’s book, Respect the Spindle and YouTube videos. I especially like how theartofmegan video breaks down spindling into a few easy steps, taking the mystery right out of it. As a brand new spinner, her method works for me perfectly – splitting my roving into thin strips, pre-drafting, then using the park and draft method, putting spin into my prepared roving and winding it onto my spindle. The resulting yarn is called singles.
I’ve read that most new spinners tend to over spin their yarn. That’s where plying comes in. When you ply two or more thicknesses of your singles together, (spinning them together in the opposite direction than you originally spun them), it all tends to even out. I do this in the simplest possible way, winding them into balls of equal length, then twisting them together on my spindle. I know there’s tools that can make this process easier, such as a Lazy Kate, but for now, considering my thick and thin, slightly lumpy yarn – simple is best.
The fiber used here is Blue Faced Leicester from Woolgatherings Gosh, she has pretty stuff! I ended up with 85 yards of bulky weight 2-ply from the 4 oz braid. Next I’d like to try Polworth. This is the thing to aspire to, I think. To learn to spin different fibers.
Let me say, for the record, that I have no desire whatsoever to learn to spin on a spinning wheel.
None. I’ll let you know how long that lasts.