Sunday, October 05, 2014

49 before 50: Learn to Spin

There is something magical about turning fibre into yarn.
I have watched others at their spinning wheels, wistfully, thinking it was somehow beyond me.
It ranked right up there next to learning to drive or to ride a bike.
Interesting that I have struggled to comprehend The Wheel in several formats!
Norwegian wool / bamboo mix
I finally passed my driving test (car) at the age of 41.
I still cannot ride a bicycle.
I tried spinning with a drop spindle and... dropped it.
My son was a better drop-spindler than me, and in his first encounter produced a length of usable yarn.
Frustrating.
Mixed Jacob, lightly overdyed with blue and yellow
So I avoided putting "Learn to Spin" on my initial 49 before 50 list, because it felt like an unattainable goal.
But recently I have been seeing lots of podcasters using a Turkish Spindle and they made it look so easy. The process made sense - I could see where the yarn was coming from and how to wind it into a centre-pull ball as it appeared.  It was even possible to ply together two lengths of single-spun to make recognisable, functional knitting wool!
So I bought a Turkish Spindle (from Kerry Spindles in Bridlington, via Etsy)
And I bought some fibre (from Fondant Fibre, also in the UK).
And then I made this! :)
Oh I know it's a bit thick and lumpy and there isn't very much of it, but I MADE 2-ply YARN!
I used the sample fibre which I was sent with my Fondant Fibre order.  It is merino and nylon sparkle (in the colour Glam Rock if you fancy some from her shop).
I followed a video tutorial by Delusional Knitter to get myself started.
I am so excited!
If I can do this in one evening, with regular practice I should soon be able to knit my own handspun wool  - imagine that?!
Just don't let me start looking at spinning wheels... not yet, anyway!

14 comments:

Gail said...

That's awesome!! I think spinning with a spindle is the best way to start- you get the feel and understanding of how the twist goes into the fiber and how to control it. Then later when you get good at that, you can add the pedal part of the wheel!

Lovely fibers you've purchased - have fun spinning them!

senjivastudio.com said...

I think your handspun yarn looks beautiful!! I, too, want to learn to spin. Maybe before 40? Looking forward to seeing what else comes off your spindle!

senjivastudio.com said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
senjivastudio.com said...

oops, i'm sorry, i didn't mean to multi-post.

Roobeedoo said...

Senjiva - no problem! :)

Donna Hensley said...

That is so cool!! I have trouble with wheeled contraptions also...like cars. ;)

CarolS said...

Ooh love it, well done. I have loved the very few times I've experienced weaving, all of twice. spinning = terror..

Ms. McCall said...

wow, that Norwegian wool/bamboo looks like a pink cloud or maybe candy floss. I want to eat it!!

I know several adults who didn't learn to ride a bike, and I accompanied one of them to a class. The class used the method where you take off the pedals and wheel down a slight incline and try to balance. When you've got that, you put the pedals on, and try to balance doing down the incline with your feet on the pedals. It's a short hop to pedaling, and within 3 hours, I saw a group of 15 adults learn to ride a bike in about 3 hours. It was surprisingly emotional for most of them.

You don't have to learn, but if you want to, I'd highly recommend that method. I'm sure there's lots of youtube videos showing it.

andrea said...

I learnt how to spin in my 50th year. It was something I always wanted to do. Hubby bought me a drop spindle. Unfortunately, a few months later, I learned that many of the drop spindles sold are just far too heavy to use. It's most likely been the spindles fault that you couldn't make it work. A Turkish spindle is a really good idea. Give it a few years and you might have a family of wheels. I have three!!!

Twelfthknit said...

' park and draft' is a really good way of learning to spin on a spindle

ambermog said...

57 I think when learning to spin finally clicked, 33 when I decided I wanted to drive so well done you Roo. First yarn made is always precious you never do it quite the same again. When you get to spinning fine it's hard to go back to thicker. Ps I may know of a wheel for sale;))

madeinoxford said...

Spinning is something I've deliberately avoided, as I have too much stash already, but I do admire other people's handspun. That looks beautiful, and it sounds like more is in your future!

Lynn Barnes said...

I tried spinning rovings into yarn, with hilarious results. Did not have the patience to continue to hone my skill, as yarn is plentiful and relatively cheaply acquired where I live. However, I tried spinning the strips of rags that I'd been knitting and crocheting into heavy mats and hot pads, with excellent results. The spun rags are heavy for their size, and make thinner-yet-still-as-absorbent mats, pads, and even little crocheted baskets. I get to feel virtuous about not tossing so many fabric scraps. Plus the act of spinning builds new neural pathways in your brain -- paleoanthropologists posit that the act of spinning fibers is one of the things that caused an evolutionary leap to the earliest species of humans.

christinelaennec said...

Wow that is amazing! And so beautiful. I can well believe that (as per Lynn B's comment) you have taken an evolutionary leap. I feel like one of the little tadpoles still in the water, walking you stroll along the beach, thinking, "How does she DO that???" When you get to knitting that yarn up, it will be so very satisfying!