woensdag 11 januari 2012

Spinning!

Last Christmas I learnt myself how to spin, using a drop spindle. It's something I've been wanting to try for a long time, so at the end of december I finally took the challenge and ordered a drop spindle, with some wool roving to practice. 

I must say...I really enjoyed spinning my own yarn for the first time! Feeling the fibers flow through your fingers and seeing a beautiful thread slowly growing on your spindle has something calming. It's easy to do something else in the meantime, like making small talk, watching a movie or listening to an audiobook. 

Another aspect that excites me about it, is the surprise of what the final yarn will look like. You never know beforehand, and you have endless possibilities! You can ply, spin thick-and-thin, use different kinds of fibers, etc. I'm sure I haven't discovered even half of what's possible!

So...here's a little photo story of the making of my first 'official' (non-practice) yarn. 
It al started with the choosing of a roving. One fine place to start for that is Etsy, my favorite virtual shopping mall. There's so much choice! All varieties are available, in both fibers, colors and price. It actually feels like visiting the candy store. Be warned, your hands will get grabby!
My final choice was the soft wool top roving in the next pic, from jstforewe (www.jstforewe.etsy.com). I simply fell in love with this adorable hand dyed 'Koi Pond' roving, plus it wasn't too expensive. Another plus was that I already had a little experience with wool fibers and their behavior during spinning.



The roving arrived pretty quickly! It was well packaged, smelled lovely and had a little handwritten note attached to it. Thank you Jennifer, for such excellent service!

First thing I did (after just admiring my pretty roving for a little while, heheh!) was predraft the wool. This means you pull the fibers softly between your fingers, to acquire some looseness and lengthening. Because I was aiming for a two-ply yarn, I made two balls of predrafted roving (the pic shows just one).


Now the spinning begins! I use a top whorl spindle, simply because most instruction video's on youtube were made with this kind of drop spindle. I'm still a newbie, so let's not make things too difficult at once!

After spinning for quite a while, this is what my drop spindle looked like. Yummy yarn winded up on it!


Spinning takes quite some time, I think it took me about three evenings to finish spinning the two balls of predrafted roving (both from about 150 meters).  I winded the single yarn up to two balls. There's a lot of twist in it, so if you don't wind it up it will curl up on itself and become a big knotted mess. Also, it's easier to ply from a ball! I saw a tutorial somewhere that described how to make one ball out of two single yarns, to ply from. I haven't read it yet though, so I simply went for two balls.


Plying time! Plying is fun, it goes pretty fast (you don't have to draft anymore, just let your spindle spin and feed the two single yarns to it). It's exciting to see the resulting yarn growing slowly, and to watch how the colors of the two single yarns combine together.

After I finished plying, I wound the final yarn off my spindle directly around the back of one of our kitchen chairs. Excuses for the bad picture, it was dark already, but I really didn't feel like waiting 'till the next morning to proceed!

I wound about 5 little threads around the yarn. This will prevent the yarn from curling up and knot when it's taken off the chair. 


Tadaah! Looks like my plied yarn is already pretty balanced. This means it doesn't curl up easily on itself... Still, I decided to set the twist, just to be sure and finish it decently.


To set the twist, I filled our sink with warm-hot water, and carefully put the yarn in it, gently dipping al of it under water. I left it for about 15 minutes, then I took it out (again carefully, I don't want my yarn to felt!) and gently wrenched out excess water. After that I hanged it, and left it to dry! I don't know the exact science behind al this, but somehow the hot water and the hanging/drying makes the yarn balance out. When it's al dried up, it won't curl up on itself anymore...yay!

Now this is the final yarn:


A nice skein of 145 m of DK soft wool yarn, 2-ply. Isn't it lovely?
I decided to call it 'Azure Home', 'cause it reminds me of the little multicolor houses you can find on the Azure coast. 


If you're interested in it, I decided to put it in my Etsy shop (I can't keep al my babies, I already have more yarn then I will ever be able to use!), for a nice price of course, 'cause I still feel like newbie.
You can find it here!

This is how I made my first official yarn. It might not be the best or most scientific method, it's just how I figured it out by reading tutorials and watching video's. I'm still discovering a lot about it! If you have any tips or advice, please let me know by leaving a comment. I would greatly appreciate it!

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