Saturday, January 1, 2011

Yarn, yarn, yarn!!

I am now addicted to spinning. It just took one lesson and some deep thinking about machines and twist, and I'm addicted. A week ago, I would have told you the spinning wheel was for Bill. Now, I can't imagine when he'll have time to use it.

I spun my first 65 yards of yarn! You get to see it in black and white because the sun is down and CFLs don't make for naturally colored photos.

The roving is plain ole white merino. It starts in the big ball of fluff, and then I spin it to a single ply.

After only 150 yards of spinning, I'm ready to move to colored roving. It's hard to see the twist in white-on-white and seeing the twist is the most rewarding part.

I think I understand the main concepts of spinning and how my hands, feet, arms and eyes should all be working in concert. I just need some practice on keeping the yarn more uniform. Here it is after plying two single strands together:

You can see it's a bit too thick in some places and a bit too thin in others.

I've decided that spinning should really be called "twisting." Creating yarn seems to be really all about controlling the twist. Keeping the twist in check until I am ready for it to go where I want it to. Also, I believe my role in spinning is to prepare the roving for the wheel to consume. The wheel does most of the work and all it asks from me is that I give it the material prepared to specific specifications. Despite the homesteady nature of hand spinning, my relationship with the wheel feels rather industrial. Like I'm working on an assembly line, contorting my work to the desires of a machine.

Some of yarn is really pretty even. This part makes me feel as if there is hope:

I'm not certain yet about twist and how the yarn will react to being knit. Do I want it plied more twisty or less twisty? I think I'll dye this batch up and turn it into a hat as a test run.

In other yarny news - Bill picked a random package from my Self-Imposed Yarn Club. I bundled up 12 projects (yarn + pattern) from the deep stash and I'll work on one project each month. The first is Citron, a shawl which will be made with a canary yellow alpaca. I've been wanting to start this for ages, but keep getting distracted by other shiny objects (mmm - like spinning wheels).

Tomorrow I cast on!


  1. Awesome! Looking forward to seeing more spinning results. I loved spinning and I hope to integrate it back into my hobby queue.

  2. Yay! Tried knitting with it yet? Did you set the twist in water before you used it- that really does help - we sometimes skip that step and I usually end up cursing while knitting with it.

  3. Oh! I didn't know about this step. I would have ended up doing it by happenstance as I plan to dye the yarn before I start knitting. I have some Greener Shades Dyes that I'm excited to try. I hope to be knitting a reddish-orange hat with it by the end of the week! Or maybe purpley-blue.

    I don't believe that you curse.

  4. Well, JoAnna, this is just about the same color as my 'devil sox'