Thursday, March 3, 2011

Start Spinning

Sitting home today with absolutely no voice. So rather than pout I'm spending some time spinning and watching a wonderful spinning DVD. Start Spinning featuring spinning guru Maggie Casey and knitting guru Eunny Lang is a great beginner's DVD.

Even though I've been spinning for years I've never really progressed beyond spinning one kind of yarn. That yarn being, whatever I spun! I've never challenged myself to go beyond whatever I figure out on my own by playing. And there's so much more!

As I mentioned before, I took a beginner's spinning workshop at Halcyon Yarn in Bath Maine a few weeks ago. Not only did I learn about simple things like the difference between worsted spun and woolen spun methods. I also learned the importance of loosening up the tension all the way before beginning to spin. Then when beginning to spin... slowly, ever so slowly and slightly tighten up the tension just till it begins to feed the spun yarn into the wheel. Wow! What a difference that makes.

Having a new spinning friend has also pushed my spinning to a new level. Lesley, the banjo player,is behind this new passion to go further with my spinning. She is an amazing knitter and so knows exactly what types of yarn she likes and what types of yarn she wants to knit. I now realize that I really have no idea what kind of yarn I want to spin because I have no idea what kind of yarn I want to knit with. Being a somewhat new knitter (been knitting only as long as I've been spinning) I haven't really paid close attention to the properties of the different yarns I have knit with. Sure I notice thick vs thin. But I've never, until now, really looked at the spinning of the yarn. Put these things together with the new LadyBug wheel I bought and I really do feel like a beginning spinner all over again.

So this DVD was just awesome to watch. Yes, it had things I know but it also had things that I should have known but didn't. There were a few little things that I wondered about but didn't ever think to ask anyone about. For instance...see this flyer?
I've wondered why are there little hooks on each side. I never seem to use both sides. I usually use the hooks on the right. this DVD I learned that if you look closely at the hooks you'll notice that they don't line up evenly. And the reason they don't line up evenly is so you can go from hook on the right side of the flyer to hook on the left side of the flyer to fill in your "valleys" better! OMG! Genius! How logical and simple is that? I knew that as I spun I had to use different hooks to guide the spun yarn onto the bobbin but I didn't realize that you could also use hooks on the opposite side of the flyer to even those valleys out even more.

Another tip that I didn't know is that with each bobbin change, wipe the metal flyer rod that holds the bobbin with a soft cloth to clean it and then put a little bit of oil on it. I was either oiling too often or not often enough. And I never thought to wipe the rod clean before applying oil each time. Logical for sure!

So that's what I've been up to today. Not much. Not rocket science. But 2 little tips that will aid in my quest for spinning a yarn that is a bit more even then I'm spinning now. The decision of spinning worsted vs. woolen yarn I'll save for later. I've got to get back to my spinning!

Happy fiber fun!


  1. So glad you enjoyed the DVD; I felt that it contained a lot for me. Making good progress spinning through the white BFL. Have about a third of what I'll need for the sweater I'm planning. After I attend the Wrinkle in Thyme dyeing workshop next weekend, I should have a better idea about eventual color, but, at the moment, I'm thinking that a nice coral would be good. I'm spinning worsted style, thinking that I'll be needing some stitch definition. I have the idea of vertical panels with textural work, but not all-over textural work. Hope to start swatching soon. I've noticed that the swatching phase always takes me a long while. It's worth it, in the end.

  2. Oh my gosh Lesley! I can't wait to see your yarn and your swatches. This sounds like such an exciting project. You'll probably be done your sweater before I'm even done spinning my yarn!! You go girl!