Category Archives: Beginner Info

Yarn: The Creation 2

Beginner’s Info: Part 6

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

Let’s Go

If you learned on a drop spindle you’ll already have the basics of spinning down. All you’ll have to do is learn to operate the foot pedal while moving your hands.

However, if you decided to go for the big stuff first you’ll want a little more background.

The following videos are helpful for both complete beginners and drop spindlers. It’ll let you get a feel for how a wheel works.

The Videos

This is one from Paradise Fibers. It is the second half of a two-part series on setting up and using a Lendrum wheel. Lots of good things are covered, and you can get a feel for how a single drive band works.

What Am I Looking At?

Beginner’s Info: Part 5

So, you’ve decided to get a spinning wheel, you lucky you. Spinning wheels are the sports cars of the fiber world. There’s just this aura around them. A feeling of mystery which can be very thrilling, but when it comes to picking out a wheel it can get in the way.

I’m going to try to sweep away some of the fog and reveal the spinning wheel in all its grandeur.

Parts Of A Spinning Wheel

First off, what are the different parts of a spinning wheel? Here is an excellent picture with handy little arrows. (If you’re wondering, it’s on quite a nice website. Feel free to explore.) Now, the business end is the “head,” which refers to the bobbin, flyer, orifice, and bobbin whorl. That’s where the yarn is actually made. When I first started researching spinning I had a vague idea that the fiber had to go around the big wheel – wrong. The big wheel is the power engine for the head. And your foot is the power engine for the big wheel, which brings us to the first option to be considered.

Choosing a Drop Spindle

Beginner’s Info: Part 4

To my mind, a drop spindle is the cheapest, easiest, and most versatile way of getting into spinning. There is something so cool about being able to make yarn with a piece of carved wood that hovers in midair. But, although I love them to pieces, drop spindles aren’t for everyone. They require the ability to raise your arms until your hands are on a level with your head and hold them out there for longish lengths of time. Sound too strenuous? I’ll cover wheel types in the next post.

But, for those of you who don’t mind a little productive exercise, a drop spindle provides the perfect opportunity to learn how to handle fiber and twist without worrying about bobbin tension, wheel treadling, and the price tag. (Did I mention I love drop spindles?)

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.

Yarn: The Low Down

Beginner’s Info: Part 2

The Reason Behind The Rhyme

Ultimately the goal of spinning is to create yarn. If you just like to watch things go round and round then go to the laundromat.

How do we create yarn? Well, let me give you the general concepts first, then later we’ll go into details about actually making it on wonderful things like drop spindles and spinning wheels.

You begin by spinning one long piece called a “single,” because it’s by itself. Once you’ve spun that you can either leave it and call it a single ply yarn, or you can spin another one and twist them together for extra strength, thickness, and manageability. This is called “plying.”

It seems pretty straightforward, right? Spin two things, then spin them together. But! There’s a little trick to make it work. When you spin something, your wheel or spindle turns in a certain direction. Clockwise or counterclockwise. (Or in the spinner lingo I’m still having trouble remembering, it’s “z” and “s” respectively.) Never switch directions while spinning a single or it will break.

So You Want To Spin?

Beginner’s Info: Part 1

So you want to learn to spin? Good for you. You’re about to be initiated into the wonderful craft of spinning. Or, to turn it into its most basic process, the art of taking a handful of something and making into gorgeous yarns.

If you’re interested in spinning, chances are you’ve at least seen a spinning wheel before. Maybe you watched someone at a Living History demonstration, or perhaps you have a friend who keeps babbling on about their wonderful wheel, or maybe (like me) you picked up a magazine and got sucked into a world of color and texture. However you developed the interest you want to get started. So now is the time for me to stop telling you how much fun you’ll have and give you some hard facts.

What is spinning?

Spinning is putting twist into something to make it form a new, stronger shape. You can spin with three blades of grass and your fingers. You can spin with long strips of fabric and a heavy rock. You can spin with your hair and a messed up curler. But none of these are the cool ways to do it.

If you want to begin spinning, you’re going to need three things. Something to spin into yarn, something with which to spin that thing into yarn, and something to tell you how to do it.

Beginner Information

I am so excited about this week! I shall be releasing helpful articles at least once a day. Articles that have been put together by a spinner for other spinners.

It’s my hope that these articles and links will prove useful and encouraging to any beginning spinner or those who know that learning goes on forever.

Throughout the week I will not be posting many personal updates, but I’m sure some things will get on here. In order to keep any confusion to a minimum, I’ll mark beginner articles as such.

You may also notice a spiffy new page up at the top of the site. Links to all beginner articles will be posted there so you can find a specific one with ease.

These articles are written with helpfulness in mind, so please do not hesitate to give some refining suggestions! If you have a topic you would like to see covered or would like something to be expounded on, leave a comment and let me know. Or, for that matter, if I did a rotten job of explaining something let me know that too. (In a nice way, of course.)

The posts start soon, so come along with me as we explore the spinning world as beginners.

Brainwave

A rather wonderful idea has hit me, and I’m so excited about it! This coming Monday I plan to begin posting useful links and tutorials for beginning spinners. When I first began spinning I had to run all over the Internet to find how-to’s and videos of demonstrations. These lists will put lots of that information in one easy-to-get-to place.

I’ll cover drop spindling, wheel spinning, fiber types, drafting, spinning balanced yarn, and a few of my favorite places to buy fiber. I may even compile links on dyeing and some of the rarer forms of spinning, such as Great Wheel, tahkli, and charka. This is going to be tool I wish I had had when I began. I can hardly wait to get started!