Summer is heating up here in Kansas and I’m finding myself outside a lot more with the kiddos. We stick pretty close to home these days and are finding new ways to use the spaces and in and around our house.
I got a few moments this past weekend to sip my favorite beer and do some spinning on the back patio. The kids managed to entertained themselves nicely and for long enough I added a decent amount of alpaca spinning project. I’m still practicing my drafting with the park and draft method.
I’m found myself staring at these colors and thinking “these look like a 1970s kitchen”. There is a lot of gold, orange, yellow with tiny amounts of blue and avocado green.The yarn is getting easier to make consistent. Prepping the roving into thin strips really helped me draft in a continuous and even manner.
This represents about half of the 4 ounces of roving that I started with. I think I’ll wind this off onto a spinning wheel bobbin so that I can start spinning the other half. I’m still working up the nerve to take some YouTube lessons on how to ply yarn on a wheel. For now I’m content with just making pretty singles and letting them rest.
Happy Memorial Day to all! I hope everyone is safe and happy today.
I decided to start something new today. After finishing off some small handspun recently, I felt the itch to start a larger spinning project. Perhaps even one I would try to make as a 2-ply yarn?
This is 4 ounces of alpaca roving in kind of rusty oranges and browns. It’s a little compact from long term storage but I think it’s workable. I’m going to use my larger/heavier drop spindle and then perhaps my wheel to ply? I don’t care for the colors so it seems perfect to practice new things on because I won’t care if it gets messed up!
I split the roving in half by weight and then stripped the roving into smaller and thinner strips to pre-draft it and take some the compression out. I then wound that first half (lightly) into a ball and put in a project bag. I’m hoping that this improved fiber prep will help me make thinner yarn and more consistent yarn.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a knowledgeable spinner. I have no idea what I’m doing or what most things are called. I’m just amusing my self during social distancing by bumbling my way through some fiber.
I have finished both my skeins of handspun from my spindle experiment! I dare say I might be getting the hang of this to some degree
The first skein I finished was one ounce of an unknown merino. I ended up with a bulky weight single that after washing and whacking was 27 grams and 31 yards of yarn. I definitely have some over and under spun parts but its holding together and not twisting up on itself as badly as my first attempt. For this one I used a smaller and lighter wooden drop spindle.
The second skein I finished was one ounce of an unknown merino batt. Again I ended up with a bulky weight single that after washing and whacking was 28 grams and 34 yards of yarn. Almost exactly the same as the first one. And for this one I used the heavier and larger maple drop spindle.
All in all, I made two successful yarns. Both are not perfect but I learned a lot about my drafting technique/ability and how best to finish my singles. Now…what should I spin next??
I may have a self isolation shopping problem. Or as I prefer to think….I’m supporting small businesses and relieving stress. I was window shopping on Etsy and found a maker out of Oklahoma, MagpieWishes, and spotted some drop spindles bags. And magically two bags fell into my cart.
I picked out two different sheep fabrics with fabric drawstring closures. The bags are padded and well lined. They *should* help me protect my tools from my children….maybe. I’m still a sucker for a good tool and a cute bag. I’ve already put them to good use!
I finished my first every handspun yarn! This was my first attempt at spinning on a drop spindle with some mystery fiber from my inherited stash. It’s very inconsistent and wildly overspun but it’s mine and I’m proud of it!
Project: Handspun bulky singles
Fiber: Mystery orange wool
Method: Top Whorl drop spindle plied in what I think is S twist?
I managed to get 32 yards of singles yarn that weighed 31 grams. Overall I think it’s a bulky yarn but I don’t have a wraps per inch tool.
I really had to work on the finishing of this yarn because it was wildly overspun. It had so much energy in it that it was twisting up on itself. I wound it off on to my knitty knoddy and let the singles rest. I then gave the yarn a good batch in hot water and a surprisingly satisfying thwack when done.
I did have to weight the yarn when I hung it to dry as it was still wanting to curl up on itself. When it was dry it did seem to have relaxed in it’s twist a bit. I think my next spin I need to work on putting less twist into the yarn. But I did manage to make usable yarn! I’m super proud of myself and I’m already itching to start my next spin!
I’m sure I’m making a thousand mistakes and not following proper technique. But I’m having fund, making yarn and its a wonderful distraction to everyday life! Happy Spinning!!
I am a sucker for a good tool. My recent foray into spinning has led me to expanding my tool kit. I found some cool spinning tools on Etsy and I decided to see how the 3D printed ones would work out.
I picked up a mini skein sized knitty knoddy and some removable stitch markers. I found IGLPrinting on Etsy and they had really fast turnaround and customer service. I was really please with how my purchases turned out!
I even put the knitty knoddy to good use on my singles from yesterday!. It really made a really nice skein and the added benefit is that I could soak my skein while on it!
I think I might put this one through the paces before I go out and get a larger one. I’m interested to see how the plastic holds up to use and how much I really use it. But for now it was an affordable and fun treat for me.
I might need to send Etsy a thank you after this self isolation period. I think I have been coping pretty well with not over eating or being overly sedentary but I have been kind of soothing my fears and anxiety with small business online shopping. I was disappointed about missing Knitting in the Heartland back in April whereI was supposed to take a drop spindle class. So I grabbed life by the bootstraps and ordered a drop spindle I knew nothing about on Etsy. When it got here, I just fired up YouTube and started watching lessons….
I watched about 40 minutes of tutorials and just got myself started. I pulled some mystery wool roving from my inherited spinning stash and go to learning. I am using the “park and draft” method of drop spindling on a top whorl spindle. I have no idea how many ounces my spindle is. It’s nice and heavy and seems to making yarn quite nicely.
Drafting has been a steep learning curve. I am working on a long draw method that focuses on getting a thin line of fiber without breaking it. I am still working on this skill. My wool was in roving form and I’m peeling off strips and spinning from those. The fiber is not the nicest but it’s working fine for this beginner.
My yarn is definitely thick and thin in nature. I’m working on not over twisting and getting consistent drafting. I’m not sure I’m succeeding but I am sure having fun! I have about an ounce of this mystery fiber so it shouldn’t take me that long to spin up. I’m really interested to see what comes our of this? I am definitely spinning a singles yarn as I have zero brain space to ply this small amount of fiber.
I’ve thus far been able to play with my wheel long enough to find out that I needed to re-do the break band and oil the treadle connections. And as of last weekend I have accomplished both of those things I am also getting better at consistently treadling in the same direction when I treadle on an empty wheel. (Note: I was gifted a Hitchhiker Wheel by Merlin Tree in case anyone was interested.)
Next up, is actually trying to make some yarn. My day job has been CRAZY stressful lately as I just became a supervisor in January and one of the longest track employees in my department gave her 30 day retirement notice. So I haven’t been making much progress on finding the time to YouTube learning to spin.
My next thought was to go analog and get some books. Thank you used book exchange! I got two used spinning books. The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook is one I have seen on many of a spinning podcast so I know it’s good but maybe past my skill level at this point. But the “How To Spin” was an amazon suggestion I took a risk on. I am trying to reserve my judgement until I start reading.
I present to you a HitchHiker single treadle spinning wheel by The Merlin Tree. I was gifted this wheel by mother after she procured it in a trade with her quilt shop coworker. I have been doing my best to research this wheel as it’s a little different than most. It’s a direct drive wheel which means the flyer is turned directly by the wheel as you treadle. Honestly, its kind of an obscure wheel and it doesn’t have a lot resources either from the manufacturer or on YouTube. It has been a little frustrating but I shall persevere.
I have been practicing just treadling on the empty wheel because it is going to take some learned muscle movement to keep the wheel going in the same direction as I start and stop. That is just the ups and down of a direct drive wheel. Just putting your foot on the treadle can move the wheel in a direction you didn’t intend. The brake band also needs some TLC to be snugged up which I am hoping my woodworking father can assist with. I think I may also have to try to fall upon the mercy of the local spinners group for assistance/lessons. Time will tell…
With the wheel I also inherited the spinner fiber stash. In the bin in addition to a knitty knoddy and spare wheel parts was a TON of fiber. I dig through and found llama blends, alpaca blends, romney wool, merino blends and several unidentified fibers. This spinner clearly had good taste.
This all came from a rural farm, so right now it’s living my sub zero garage just in case it has anything other than fiber in there. I’m hoping to zap this with some heat somehow before bringing into the house with my other stash.