Friday, January 26, 2007

Spin City

It didn't take long to hook me into spinning. I can take or leave the spindle, but I am loving the wheel!

Last week in class we learned how to ply our spindle-spun singles back onto the spindle. Here's a photo of that "yarn". (I am using the term loosely here)

Then we were shown some things about the wheel, and off I went. I guess the problems I had when I tried before were all due to faulty adjustment of the Scotch tension. Now I get it!

First thing I spun on the wheel was the rest of the natural roving that we were given in class. This top layer is actually not the best...there is some better, more uniform spinning under this layer. But I had been sitting for a while, and starting to get tired, and careless. Still, all in all, not a bad try.

Then I decided to dig into a huge bag of roving I had gotten about 18 months ago (before I even had thoughts of being a spinner....I thought this was going to be used for wet felting, needle felting, etc) A lady had come into the shop saying she had "a barn full" of roving, and was there anyone that would want to spin some of it for her in exchange for some free roving. No one was interested, but I said I would like to come out and see what she had, and maybe I'd buy some. She wanted me to try out some techniques and maybe see if I could come up with a wet felted purse or something.

Well.....she lived a LONG way from the shop....out in the boonies in an area I had never been before. I took a nice long Sunday summer drive and finally got to her house. She took me out to the pole barn, and yes, she had a LOT of roving. The barn was not "full" but there was a huge pile in the corner that was probably 8 feet high at least and it spilled out from the corner maybe another 20 or 30 feet. There were bags upon bags upon bags of roving. My eyes were probably bugging out of my head when I saw it.

I started going through the bags and pulling out things that looked interesting. Her husband handed me a huge plastic bag (way bigger than a trash bag) and I filled it to the brim. Then I asked how much they wanted for it, and they kind of looked at each other and shrugged, and then finally, tentatively said...."$20.00????" I grabbed a twenty from my pocket so fast, hoping they wouldn't change their mind! I got sooooo much roving. Some of it is just wool, some of it is a wool/silk/mohair blend, there is other unidentified fiber too. Some of it had tags on it, giving the fiber content, weight, and a price. It was all straight from the mill.

I guess the husband's ex-wife had a yarn store or some reason to have all this processed fiber, and he got it in the divorce, or she died...I don't remember the story. But there was a sh*tload of it and I wish I had gotten MORE MORE MORE! I recently (before I got my wheel/decided to become a spinner) came across her phone number and address when going through my desk, but I don't remember if I tossed it or kept it. I should try to find that piece of paper again....

But, I digress....

I decided since this fiber was practically free, I wouldn't feel bad using it for practice. It's not like I'm going to run out any time soon.

So I spun 2 bobbins. I was just playing around....Sometimes using one of the three colors, sometimes two, sometimes all three. I like how it looks as singles. But I have a feeling there is too much twist in it. I know plying will help that, but I'm afraid that if I ply it I will loose some of the distinction between the colors...that it will look muddied. I am thinking of spinning the black pencil roving Diane sent me for Christmas and plying it with that, so the colors will be a contrast against the black, instead of fighting against each other.


Here's a small length that I just let twist back on itself. All of this section was pretty much blended colors so I might end up with something different all together if I were to ply the whole lengths. Who knows....I'm still learnin' !

We don't have class tonight because the teacher is in FL. Good thing, because we got a good amount of snow today and the 112 mile drive (each way) may have been a little bit dicey. Plus it gives me more time to get my homework done.

We were given a hunk of alpaca to spin (yummmmmmmmmy) and also a couple layers of silk caps. That should be interesting. I found a video on youtube that shows how to draft the silk so that was helpful. I haven't done either of those but I have another week to get it done.

Meanwhile, 3 of my 4 bobbins are full, so I ordered these and now I have plenty of storage bobbins. You can't beat the price at .50 each (if you buy 12 or more). So I got 20, and shipping was only $5 so I can fill up a LOT of bobbins for $15. I got them at Halcyon Yarns and they came really fast. I got them today.

I am going to use Mike's drill with something shoved in the chuck to wind my singles onto the storage bobbins so I can do some more spinning!

Of course when I got my Threadbear newsletter yesterday, there was mention of an intermediate spinning class. Aw geez, you know I'm probably going to have to sign up for that one too.........


Maria said...


I am glad you are having so much fun with your spinning! I have NO idea what you are talking about, it's like you are speaking a foreign language. LOL I am happy for you, nonetheless. One day I hope to knit with some of your yarn!

Jane said...

Your yarn looks great, and I really like the way the colored stuff came out. You certainly did get a deal on that roving! Maybe you'll be able to go back and get more. I can't imagine them just letting it lay around like that.

nicole said...
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Carrie said...

This was the coolest, most informative blog entry I have read in a long time. My nose was almost touching the screen! If you find that lady's number, get some roving for me, too, kay? Your spinning looks wonderful. I think plying that beautiful yarn with black is a great idea.

LWKnitter said...

I haven't liked spinning much so far. I started learning the drop spindle kind. It hurts my back and it is tiring so I decided I'll just knit. :)

Dana said...

Thanks for the video link on spinning silk hankies. I got some for Christmas and was hesitant to try it, but I'm not so afraid anymore.