Spin like the wind

10 Nov

I don’t know what’s gotten into me recently, maybe it’s just the cool-down period after my marathon of a Rhinebeck sweater, but I have been spinning practically nonstop. When my brain is overtaxed with so many other things, it’s nice to have spinning to just zone out. All of the knitting I have on the needles right now is not the sort that I can zone out to. But spinning on a drop spindle is the same thing over and over again, spin, draft, wind, spin, draft, wind.

I finished the fiber that Maria gave to me when she taught me how to spin, it’s Polwarth from Gherkin’s Bucket in I-have-no-idea colorway. The green, purple and pink color repeats are so pretty, and I wanted to keep them the way they are, so I knew I wanted to navajo ply it. Considering I’ve only ever heard of navajo plying, and maybe seen it done in a video on a spinning wheel, I seemed rather daring of me to try it on a drop spindle. It’s basically like making a really long crochet chain, to make a three ply yarn from a single strand. I searched around a found a few different videos and tutorials for the drop spindle, but it was still pretty awkward until I’d been doing it for a while. Once I got the hang of it it wasn’t too bad, but it definitely would have been much more convenient on a spinning wheel.


But I’m so ridiculously happy with how it turned out, and after I twisted it into a hank, Ty simply remarked “it looks like real yarn”. Yup. I made real yarn. Go me!

Of course I couldn’t stop there, so I spun up the llama fiber that I got at Rhinebeck, which, let me tell you, was not washed completely. It probably made it easier to spin though, because all of the dirt and oils helped it cling together more. But I gave it a good long bath after I spun it. I tried a two ply with the llama, partly because it was something new, and partly because there wasn’t going to be much yardage with a three ply.


Spinning is so addicting that I’ve already spun half of my Into the Whirled fiber from Rhinebeck too.


Although honestly, I have a lot of Christmas presents to knit, so I should probably get on that before December sneaks up on me.

Do you spin? Is it as addicting for you as it is for me? And should I splurge on a spinning wheel sometime soon? (answer: yes)

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10 Responses to “Spin like the wind”

  1. maureen15 November 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    That lama fiber/yarn looks so luscious! Is it as soft as it looks?

    • danadoodle November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      It is so soft! And I bet it’s going to be very warm too.

  2. introvertedknitter November 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Great job on the “real yarn” both the chain-ply and the llama look absolutely smooshable. As someone who pretty much started with a wheel in terms of spinning, I am obviously a little biased, but recommend a wheel wholeheartedly. That being said I am always crazy impressed with spindle spinners. I will also say that you are not the only one addicted to spinning, and since you are producing such lovely yarn I can see why! Congrats and keep it up!

    • danadoodle November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      I think a wheel might end up as a Christmas present to myself…

  3. Sheena November 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Wow, that yarn looks great! I’ve been thinking more and more about taking up spinning, but I’m kind of afraid to try it. I don’t know why! Maybe because it seems like a challenge to do well? How challenging do you find spinning?

    • danadoodle November 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      You should definitely give it a go! It’s a little tricky at first, but I think if you have an easy enough fiber and someone to teach you and watch you practice you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly!

      • Sheena November 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        What would you recommend as an easy fiber to start with?

        • danadoodle November 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

          Well, I would suggest going to someone more experienced than I am for a better answer, but I’ll give it a try. What you’re really looking for is something with a long staple (aka individual fiber length), the way you can test staple length is to grip the piece of fiber and see the minimum distance your hands have to be to be able to pull it into two pieces. When that distance is long, it makes it easier to spin, because it’s harder to tear the fiber by accident.
          So I started with Polwarth and that worked well for me. The Merino/silk blend I’m working on now is also really nice, but that might be experience. And I’ve heard that Merino isn’t great to start spinning with.
          Hope this helps!

          • Sheena November 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

            Yes, definitely. Thank you!

  4. caityrosey November 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I knit and spin. There’s something so rewarding about knitting with my own handspun. Such a treat. It’s hard to explain to those who don’t spin. And I understand. Before I got addicted to spinning it just seemed like a lot of unnecessary effort. Now I see it as more crafting fun for my fiber dollar.

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