Thursday, 26 May 2016

Spinning: The First Draft. . .

To be honest, drop spindling is proving to be a lot harder than I thought. I think it's one of those skills that some people immediately get the knack of, and others struggle.  I'm definitely in the latter camp, but then I remember when I first learned to crochet and how awkward it was to learn to hold the hook correctly.  Now I don't give it another thought. So there is hope.

I keep practicing but am still getting a much thicker yarn than I'd ideally like.  It is slowly, slowly getting thinner, but I'm still having problems with tension, too much or too little twist in the yarn and my fibre joins aren't always very smooth.  But I'm determined to crack this skill, because I love the idea of being able to take fibre and mix it with other colours to create a unique yarn to knit with.

I recently managed to spin a thick and thin ball of Jacob fibre.   I've probably gone from super bulky with my first attempts, to chunky.  A DK or 4ply is what I'm aiming for.  I'm trying not to think about the woman I met at the Wharfe Wool Fair who was spinning laceweight after only two months.

I then spun a similar weight of some of my yellow dyed Shetland mixed with some other grey Shetland fibre I bought at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Then I plied the two together  (oh, dear, this doesn't look pretty at all).

And got roughly a ball weighing just over 100g.

I was then at least able to knit up a square of about 8.5 inches with a 7.5mm needle.  I thought it might make a useful trivet. I do like how it looks in stockinette but I probably used too small a needle; it was hard on my hands pulling that wool through, especially the thicker bits. 

So I then ripped it out and made a big granny square.  I like the look in crochet - it's thick and substantial and feels lovely to walk on. A number of these would make a lovely rug. 

Over on Erica Eckles' blog, is a wonderful post about all the essentials you need for quilting and among other ideas, she had me thinking about using wool roving as quilt batting.  So if this spinning thing doesn't work out, I at least know what to do with my extra fleece. At the next wool show I attend, I'll be on the lookout for a hand carder, I think.  And a lot more advice from experienced spinners.

Until then, I'm still spinning a little each day.  Trying some Zwartbles fleece now; I love its deep, dark brown shades, and any small bits of colour I add to it really pop against it.


Meg said...

I see you have fallen down the spinning rabbit hole too! It's amazing how different the yarn looks knitted compared to crocheted. Super experimentation.

I'd say, stick with it. I took to it okay but I think that is because I pot as well and some of the technique/intuition/muscle usage is very similar. Do you spin the spindle between your fingers or roll it on your thigh? I found the latter much easier as it allowed me to get into a rhythm that made it easier to maintain even tension when drafting.

Blithe Spirit said...

Thanks for the encouragement. My technique probably leaves a lot to be desired. I spin it with my hand near the bottom of the spindle, then do the park and draft as if I try to spin standing up, I am never fast enough before it starts spinning in the other direction. I will stick with it - it's fun and frustrating at the same time.