Yarn: The Creation

Beginner’s Info: Part 3

This is the drop spindle version of spinning tutorials. The wheel version will be coming soon.

Time To Begin

Alright, you’ve got your spindle, some sort of wool, and a whole lot of excitement. Now you need a piece of pre-made yarn (commercial will do) about two to two-and-a-half feet long. Plain yarn is best. Don’t go for the fancy boucle or eyelash. Just some scrap yarn you have laying around. Alright, got it in your hand? This is your “leader” yarn. It is what makes it possible to easily begin the act of spinning. It’s what you’ll be attaching your fiber to and dangling your spindle from. In short, it’s your friend.

If you happen to be feeling ultra crafty and coordinated today, (or if you simply can’t wait long enough to go find yarn) the first tutorial below shows how to begin without a leader yarn.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Here are my favorite YouTube tutorials for drop spindling.

  • First.
    This is one of the first ones I watched. Mrs. Franquemont does a wonderful job demonstrating and explaining.
    She mentions “drafting” the fiber, which is gently pulling the fibers into a longer, thinner, looser strip. I plan to cover this in more detail in a later article. In the meantime, you can pick up a pretty good amount of information from these videos.
  • Second.
    This one features spinning on a top whorl version, with roving that has been pre-drafted. She’s spinning quite a thick yarn, which I normally would choose to do on a bottom whorl, but she does it very well using the “park and draft” method. (Mentioned in the first video.)
  • Third.
    This third is one that I actually discovered while I was re-watching those first two. It’s quite well put together and gives you some extra information. You may notice that while the lady in the second video rolled the spindle down the inside of her thigh, this lady rolls it down the outside. I much prefer (when I do the roll thing) to roll it down the outside. It’s more comfortable and I can get a good crackling speed up. Especially if I roll from the hip to the knee.
    She also talks about the “sheep’s gate.” That’s a spinner term for the area of fiber that is about to receive the twist from the already spun yarn. It’s vital that you don’t let twist get up past that little area and into the chunk of fiber you’re working from. If it gets up there you’ll have to stop and very carefully get the twist back out, or deal with a huge wad of fiber in the middle of your nice yarn.

Refining The Process

Once you’ve got the basic concept, go play with it. It’ll take some practice and time to teach your hands this new skill, but once your hands get it, yarn will come. One thing that might help you when you’re first starting out is sticking a little piece of masking tape (carefully!) on the whorl where you can see it, and mark it with an arrow pointing the direction you’ll be twisting the spindle. That lets you remember at a glance instead of accidentally spinning it the wrong way.

Spindles will drop; it’s just their nature. I would recommend spinning on a carpeted surface, and possibly wearing shoes. I didn’t bother with shoes, and I did get bonked a couple of times, but nothing serious happened.

Be Happy

You may have noticed that the ladies featured in these videos are very different, and have different styles. That’s fine! Play with things! Make them work for you. The goal of spinning is an enjoyable productivity. If you want to hold your fiber in the right or left hand, prefer park and draft to drafting on the fly, or hey, if you want to spin while hanging upside down, go for it! (I wonder how that would feel. . . )

Let the excitement work for you. You may hit little roadblocks, but think about what you’re learning and have fun.

You can do it.

One Response to Yarn: The Creation
  1. Yarn: The Creation 2 « Maiden Yarn
    June 25, 2009 | 8:19 pm

    [...] This is the wheel version of spinning tutorials. You can find the drop spindle one here. [...]

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