Tuesday, 2 June 2009

I'm a spinner!

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and a couple weeks ago I finally took the plunge... I bought a spinning wheel! Sorry for the terribly unglamorous photo of it, I think it's actually very pretty and neat looking in real life.

I decided on the Lendrum Double Treadle. I bought it from Paradise Fibers and I can't say enough good things about them. I placed my order, and 5 minutes later I got a call from them letting me know that though I live in Canada, since the American's get free shipping they were going to give me the equivalent off my Canadian shipping! So I only paid $12 to get this beauty shipped. Plus I got a bunch of complimentary fiber of my choice, some of which I've already spun, they were super nice and I'm happy that I bought from them. One of the reasons why I was taking so long to buy a wheel is that though I had decided on the Lendrum a while ago, it's a Canadian company, but I couldn't find a Canadian store to buy it from, which I felt a little weird about. It all worked out in the end. 

I don't know any spinners. I've managed to befriend Kari at Mudcreek (check out her sold section for some awesome inspiration!) and pestered her with questions when I was trying to decide what wheel to get. She was very helpful and is actually in the process of spinning up some of my hand dyed roving for me, so when I get it back I'll have a great example of really good handspun to try and copy.

I learnt exclusively from googling, practicing on my drop spindle (which I kind of hated, so I was nervous that I wouldn't like my wheel either, but I was wrong!) and by reading this book. Also just by studying other yarns, and lots of trial and error.

Here's my second attempt at spinning singles:
Not so hot... (I didn't even take a picture of my first attempt) I learned a lot from that trial, mainly that pre-drafting is super important for me because I'm not yet coordinated enough to do much drafting while I'm spinning, it all just gets away from me.

Here's my 4th attempt:

Way better! But my singles are still a little too thick for the worsted weight yarn I'm hoping to achieve.

Here are 3 finished skeins of yarn. They're all 2 ply, the one on the left was made from a bonus from Paradise Fibers for buying the spinning wheel, the roving is Ashland Bay Colonial Wool in Multi Burgundy, and the other 2 are from my own hand dyed superwash merino rovings.

I'm pretty embarrassed about the 2 on the right, but I feel like I'm getting a lot better! I don't know what Ill do with them, if anything, there's not really enough yarn to knit much with, maybe I'll use them for a stripe on a hat or something.

I'm very happy learning to spin, I'm really looking forward to being able to spin enough quality yarn to make a sweater for Stella with. Truth be told these pictures were what really put me over the edge and decide to buy a spinning wheel!