Friday, May 7, 2010 newest obsession

hello everyone ^^/

it's a beautiful Friday afternoon here in California, sunny and not too hot. i hope the weather is being so kind to everyone else wherever you are.

i was over at my friend Sarah's blog the other day, The Student Knitter, and she mentioned in one of her posts that she'd like to learn how to spin. it made me realize that i don't think i've ever blogged here about my own personal spinning exploits so i decided today was a great day to do my first official blog post about spinning on a drop spindle ^.^

first a bit of an explanation is in order for those of you who might not know what spinning is, or may know of it but don't know exactly what it entails. basically spinning is a process for making yarn by taking fibres and spinning them together. sounds easy enough right? well, it does get a bit more complex than that, but that's the small and skinny of it.

there are 2 ways to spin that i know of, either on a drop spindle, or on a spinning wheel. i personally use a drop spindle, so that's the kind of spinning i'm going to be talking about today. a drop spindle is a spinning tool that, in the simplest terms, consists of a disc or "whorl" attached to a hooked stick. below is a picture of my 2 spindles, one is a top whorl (on the right) and one is a bottom whorl (on the left.)

{my two spindles and my current spinning WIPs}

as you can see from the picture my spindles already have spun yarn on them, the turquoise and black is a Merino Wool that i'm spinning into a colorchanging yarn and the other is Merino Wool and Silk that i'm spinning together. there are a multitude of fibres to spin from including Wool, Angora, Alpaca, Mohair, Silk, Cotton...just about any fibre you would normally find in yarn. below are pics of 2 different fibres i've recently spun:

{Toad's Eye from Fiber Fancy - 100% Superwash Merino Wool Roving}

{Macaw from Beesy Bee Fibers - 100% Blue Face Leicester Wool Roving}

both of the fibres pictured above fall into the category of "Roving." being such a new spinner i'm not as educated about the different types of fibres as i'd like to be, so if anyone out there is interested in learning more head over to this site now for a more in depth look at the different forms of spinning fibres.

once you have a spindle and some fibre, it's time to spin, and this video on youtube is a great starting point, as is this one. when i first started spinning i tried learning from a book, which was very difficult, the techniques in spinning are best learned when you can see exactly what is being done in real time. spinning books are, however, a great source of information about the tools necessary to spin, so i do suggest getting a book or doing some research online before diving in headfirst.

and here's what the finished product looks like:

{Toad's Eye spun up}

{Macaw spun up}

both of these yarns were spun into singles (a single ply of yarn) and then the singles were spun together to form a plied yarn in a process called "Plying". if you're a knitter or crocheter you might already know these terms, and you might not. i personally didn't know what the difference was between a single and a plied yarn until i started learning how to spin. Spinning has taught me a lot about the yarn i've been knitting and crocheting with for years, it's a great way to amass an intimate knowlege of the yarns you know and love. i assure you if the spinning bug bites you, you'll learn that there is so much more to the process of making yarn than you ever thought there could be.

so finally, i'll leave you with some resources for beginning spinners. these sites are full of really useful information like how to make your own spindle, where to buy spinning supplies, as well as helpful techniques that all spinners should know.

The Joy of Handspinning

Neauveau Fiber Arts

Craft Site Directory

i hope everyone has a lovely weekend :)