Over the past three days I spent about 14+ hours relearning how to spin yarn. An obsession, no?
During college I took a felting class in which we got to visit a sheep farm & had a spontaneous drop spindle demonstration. Then we went to a hardware store & made our own out of dowel rods & CDs. But I never really took to it. Then I took a spinning class with real spinning wheels. At the end of the class I tried to make my own wheel out of PVC pipes & a slightly bent bicycle wheel. It didn’t go well.
Because of my recent move & glacially slow unpacking habits, a big bag of fluff has been staring at me while I sleep. During the day I’ve been reading knitting blogs that have showcased some really fabulous handspun. You see, I had to take it up again.
This time I learned to spin off of YouTube & reassembled my old spindle. The dowel rod was still there but the CDs had made it too bulky to easily store during my many moves & had been thrown out years ago. We also tossed countless things before we moved so I had to cannibalize a few CDs that had software written on them. I apologize in advance for doing this to you, but I have to make a very bad joke- iSpin on my iSpindle. We must have only kept such an old CD just so I could make a terrible joke.
Now that that’s been taken care of, I can tell you that the spinning was much easier all these years later. And I couldn’t stop. Clearly. My fiber was a lovely 6oz of naturally colored Shetland roving that came from a local fiber co-op. Grayish-brown with bits of white- it was almost as if the sheep had been like a person with graying hair.
The yarn came out like a beginner’s yarn does, too thin in some places & too thick in others. Knowing that plying would help even it out, I also decided to learn how to ply on a drop spindle, which I hadn’t done before. For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, singles are single strands of yarn which get plied (spun) together to make a stronger strand, which is what you see in the pre-made fabric & thread you use for sewing. Plying is imminently faster & easier than spinning. But because I was being a crazy person I made it much harder on myself. I would be damned if I broke my yarn- even though the singles had already been broken into three different balls of yarn. I reasoned I could ply them together & you wouldn’t be able to see where they joined. I was wrong. And by the time I got to the final ball of singles I realized the final yarn wouldn’t all fit on my ball winder. Doh! But I had been engaged in my folly for so long I figured I might as well continue. Here is what the ridiculousness looked like- a spindle so full of yarn you couldn’t even see the shaft. Yes, it was very difficult to work with & I was continually swearing.
However, it all payed off in the end & I proudly walked about the house wearing my skein as a huge cowl until I reluctantly took it off to set it (soak in hot water to balance any excess twist that comes from my inexperienced spinning technique). Sorry for the bad cell phone/mirror photos- the boyfriend was at work.
Now what to make it into? I’m thinking a big cowl. It’s about a bulky weight of yarn, which I’ve been wanting to buy but now don’t have to. I have no idea what the yardage is & don’t have a niddy noddy to help me estimate. Any pattern suggestions?