Now I’m nuts – my first steps into the spinning world

My nightmare has come true: I started to spin. So far, I watched the women with a sceptical look who spun their yarn. It took me a weekend with my knitting (and spinning) girls and I learned how to spin. Let me show you my first journey in the spinning world.

Backnang Wollfestival 2014_rovings with drop spindle
If you follow me on Instagram you may already know that I’m bitten by the spinning bug. I bought my first rovings with a beginner spindle at the yarn festival in Backnang a few months ago, where Sandy showed me how to do it.

One week later was the Stitching Retreat 2014, where Claudia taught me how to spin. She was very patient with me because I had some issues with it. I prefer to knit with thin yarn, like fingering or lace weight. But the first attempt brought some bulky yarn. Oh well, I guess, that happens to every beginner spinner, right? But I managed to spin 20g of the light purple yarn in one day. The second day she helped me with plying. I’m still proud of my first self-spun skein!

first spinning - yarn comparisonFrom left to right:
Skein #1: yarn weight: super bulky, 18g, 14 m, 2-ply
Skein #2: yarn weight: sport, 18g, 41 m, 2-ply
Skein #3: yarn weight: fingering/sport, 18g, 71 m, 2-ply
Skein #4: yarn weight: light fingering, 18g, 93 m, 2-ply
Skein #5: yarn weight: light fingering, 18g, 82 m, navajo- (or chain-) plied

Back at home, it seemed all a bit more difficult without any teacher who’s around for asking. My goal was to spin thinner and thinner. Starting from the very light purple to dark purple my progress is clearly visible.
From bulky (2-ply) to DK to fingering I spun yarn. The more I spun, the more I gained some skills. The spun yarn was evener. I spun more consistent.

first spinning - yarn comparison 2-plied and navajo-plied

In a rush of finishing the fourth skein, I already ordered a lace spindle in oak wood and rovings. But before I started to spin the new yarn, I want to practice my skills in Navajo- plying. My last skein is Navajo-plied. That means a single yarn that is chained (as in crochet) while being twisted in the opposite direction from which it was spun. With the help of Youtube and the book “Respect the Spindle” by Abby Franquemont I gave it a try. And it worked – though it was hard in the beginning. My single yarn broke a lot. But I’m happy with the result.

The yarns above have the same yarn weight, but the difference is the plying technique: the left is a 2-ply and the right is Navajo- plied. The right feels softer.

first spinning - spun yarn on a drop spindle

All in all, I’m very satisfied with my baby steps into the spinning world. I’m looking forward to use my first skeins for a project, but haven’t had any idea so far. Do you have any project ideas?

What has your experience been with spinning?

4 Responses

  1. Kaiya
    | Reply

    Oh wow – your spinning is so even I’d never have guessed these were your first yarns! They look fantastic! I’ve only tried spinning very briefly, and could only manage a very thick-and-thin lopsided single.

    • donnarossa
      | Reply

      Thank you! After my first attempt I was so discouraged. Only a bulky yarn. But then I tried it again and it worked. Now I’m dealing with the idea to buy an electric spinner (I have limited space at home).

  2. Pumpkin
    | Reply

    Wow! My first few handspun yarns didn’t look that wonderful! You have quite the talent!

    • donnarossa
      | Reply

      I’m blushing :-) Thank you. How did you start spinning? With a spindle or a spinning wheel?

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