Resistance Is Futile!

I admit it. I can be pretty weak. I have a difficult time resisting stuff that makes me fat, like ice cream, potato chips, cheesy poofs, chocolate, and Nutella, so I just don’t keep tempting items in the house. If I get a craving for peanut M & Ms, I have to get in my car and drive to the store to get some. And that helps me resist the temptation. If there is a bag of M & Ms or chips or cookies in the pantry, they will call to me, and I will not be able to resist their siren song.

For a long time now, at least ten years, I have been thinking about learning to spin fiber. I love to knit > I love yarn > I want to make yarn. But I have resisted temptation. Spinning would take away time from my knitting and add to my stash. But the thought of learning to spin kept nagging at me. I’d read blogs of knitters who also spin and see their beautiful handspun creations, and I would be oh so tempted, but I would resist. And resist. Then I started reading weekend knitter blog. Weekend knitter, aka Stacey, has a husband, two children, a house, and a job, yet she finds time to spin, knit, and blog about it. Well, that isn’t quite true. She doesn’t find the time. She makes the time. I think she does some of her spinning and knitting while she should be sleeping. LOL

Stacey is an artist and takes beautiful photographs of her handspun yarns and knitted items, and let me tell you, her blog is really inspiring. Reading weekend knitter blog is what made resistance futile. Seeing all those gorgeous handspun yarns destroyed what was left of my resistance. I caved. I surrendered. I took the plunge.

I prepared myself. I read everything on the Internet I could find about spinning with both a drop spindle and a wheel. I watched videos. I decided to start with a drop spindle because drop spindles are dirt cheap compared to spinning wheels and because, I’ll admit it, spinning wheels kind of scare me. So I started shopping for a drop spindle and found myself overwhelmed. I ended up just ordering the Turkish spindle offered by Knit Picks, along with some Wool of the Andes fiber.

But that just wasn’t enough. I started looking at spindles and fiber on Etsy. I found a kit from KeepEmGoing that includes a tiny, .75 oz. top whorl spindle and an ounce of mohair/shetland fiber for only $10 plus shipping. A very light spindle is good for spinning thin yarns, and I hope to be spinning fingering and lace weight yarn after a little practice, and $10 is a great price for a spindle and fiber, and I just couldn’t resist. I placed my order and the kit arrived today.

Spindle and fiber kit from KeepEmGoing on Etsy

After reading a lot about using a drop spindle and watching a ton of videos and mentally practicing, I felt ready to dive right in. I attached a leader to the spindle and practice making the spindle spin. Then I started in earnest, using the park and draft method. With park and draft, the spinner spins the spindle to build up twist, then stops the spindle and holds it between her knees. Then she drafts the fiber (pulls it slightly apart) and lets the twist move up the drafted fiber. With practice a spinner can draft the fiber while the spindle is turning. But for the beginner, park and draft is the recommended technique. It’s not that difficult to do, but getting a consistent yarn is definitely going to take some serious practice.

I think I’m doing pretty well.

My very first cop of handspun yarn

My yarn isn’t perfect. It isn’t even close to perfect.

My first handspun yarn wound on a cardboard core

But I think it is pretty good for a rank beginner. And I know that with practice, I’ll improve and eventually be able to produce yarn that I can be really proud of. And who knows? Once I feel that I have mastered (or at least come close to mastering) drop spindling, maybe I’ll address my fear of the wheel. I already have a pretty good idea of which wheel I want to buy.

Stacy, this is all YOUR fault. Thank you. 🙂


9 thoughts on “Resistance Is Futile!

  1. Ok, first of all, Your spinning is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! I *just* bought that same fiber from knitpicks two days ago so III could start spinning. Small world huh? What color did ou get it in? I got it in Salsa Heather. I hope you keep on spinning because you are a natural!! Good Luck!

    • Thanks, Michelle. I ordered the fiber in natural, sapphire heather, and aurora heather. I can hardly wait for it to get here. I want to try a low-whorl spindle, although I could probably turn my little high-whorl upside down and use it as a low-whorl spindle. I spend several days preparing and practicing before my spindle and fiber arrived, so I had a pretty good idea what I was doing when I started. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? LOL

  2. I’m planning to take my first spinning class next month. I’ll be following your first efforts with interest.

    • I would like to take lessons, but there’s nowhere near here that I can find where lessons are given in spindling. The Mannings, which is about 30 miles from where I live, offer a wheel workshop, but no spindle workshop. I hope you will be blogging about your class so I can learn from you. Vicarious lessons in spinning. 🙂

  3. Awwww! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 You are really making me blush here!!

    And as for your spinning, you are doing an excellent job!! That looks SO much better than my first attempts!

      • You’re already doing it! It only takes time to figure out how to spin a thinner or thicker singles to get what you want. Or, how to do a few different plying techniques. But, really, you’re already doing the most difficult thing to do in the beginning: getting it to stay together!! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Practice Makes Perfect « All Kinds Of Knitting

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