Thursday, November 22, 2007

Spinning 101

Since the last time I tried spinning, I have acquired a couple of books about spindle spinning, and another spindle, once again courtesy of my friend Amy. She had a "learn to spin" kit with a some luscious teal roving, and had decided she was not going to learn to spin with it.

The roving is SO my color, that I knew I needed to get much better at spinning before I attempted it.

I bought a hunk of "ugly" roving to practice with when the KnitWits went to Minneapolis a couple of years ago.

This is a fairly compact little rope of fiber. It needs to be loosened up so fibers can slide past each other easily. The process of stretching out the amount of fiber that will be spun is called drafting. Loosening and stretching the fiber before you start to spin is predrafting.

Everything I read about spindle spinning, in books and on message boards, suggested that you can't predraft the fiber too much. I started by loosening the rope laterally, until it was a flat, thin sheet. (At the bottom of the picture, you can see the ropey part for comparison.)

(Sorry, no photos of the rest of the process. I was home alone.)

Then I pulled off a section about two inches wide and started tugging it gently lengthwise to start the fiber slippage. When I had an long airy tube of fiber, I attached it to the spindle and started spinning.

I used the "park and draft" method, which gives newbies a little more control. I spun the spindle to build up twist in the yarn, then stopped it with my knees or on the floor while I fed more fiber out. The excess twist travels up the new fiber. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until the strand of yarn gets too long, then wind it onto the spindle and do it all again.

One of the fun things about dyed fiber is that it's really hard to predict how it will look when it is spun. As I said, I wasn't crazy about this roving, but the yarn is sort of pretty.

The learning curve of spinning is learning how to make the yarn the same thickness and with the same amount of twist. I'm not there yet, but at least some parts of it look like I want them to look.

I shall keep working on it.

I spent Thanksgiving with my two roommates, for whom I am truly thankful. Also, we managed to cook a modest sized meal, for which I am also thankful.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

Lillian, as a five-year-old fan of Cinderella, is impressed with this but concerned for your safety. Have T on hand to prevent any accidental 100 year slumbers, k?

And tell Katie she's growing up into a fine young lady.