Adventures in Spinning

When it comes to general life I’m a pretty cautious person, but when it comes to crafting, I’m a jump in the deep end with both feet kind of girl. 

I’ve been curious about spinning for a while and the idea of undertaking the entire process from ‘goat to garment’ (sheep to sweater? Alpaca to apparel?), really appeals to me.

After watching one drop spindle tutorial video on YouTube I decided to give it a go, and half an hour of online browsing of drop spindle options later, I had an idea.

What if I made my own drop spindle? I figured a basic drop spindle is made of three parts – the central dowel, a disc, and a hook. Turns out my Dad happened to have all the aforementioned ingredients in his ‘useful bits of wood and other handy things’ pile.
One hour later, and I had a functioning drop spindle!
A couple more tutorial videos, one minor arm ache, and much accidental pulling apart of fibres in a first attempt at drafting later, I had a drop spindle with a small amount of yarn (real…actual home-spun yarn!!) on it.
I winged it a little bit with the washing and the stretching and the whacking and the hanging…but I ended up with a couple of pretty (albeit very uneven and inconsistent) tiny singles skeins!
I then spun these together, repeated the washing and the stretching and the whacking and the hanging, and the end result was:

After a bit more research, I realised that the above experiment would have worked a lot better had I spun the skeins together in the opposite direction to the way the fibres had been spun – i.e. plying. I also discovered that I didn’t need to do the washing and the stretching and the whacking and the hanging process three times over if plying the yarn…but you live and learn!

I wanted to attempt ‘proper’ plying with my next go, which was much more successful! Still uneven and a little inconsistent, but not too shabby for a second attempt! (Do you like my super high-tech hanging mechanism, made of three coathangers??)

Fast forward to a wonderful day spent at Unravel Festival, and I now own these two gorgeous rovings, from Wulla and Spin City. I’m not quite ready to use them just yet…I need a bit more practice with scraps before I decimate these, but I am so excited to see where this new adventure takes me…

Who knows…Maybe one day I’ll even end up behind a wheel…! (There is a certain hint of irony here for anyone who knows me and my complete ineptitude for driving…).


Bonus picture: Dad’s labeling system –

Have you ever tried hand-spinning? How did you get started?