Wednesday, August 6, 2014

how to spin without breaking a sweat

One of the many blessings that have arisen out of my 6-dozen egg experiment is that I have met a wonderful group of knitters and spinners and I have been learning how to spin.

And I don't mean spinning as in putting-on-gym-clothes-and-pedaling-fast-&-furious-while-remaining-in-one-place, while a too-fit-to-be-human instructor shouts things at you to make you pedal faster.

I mean spinning with wool roving and a wheel while someone nice-and-very-human gives you gentle instructions about how to pedal, or rather treadle, slower.

peddle - or treadle - slowly!
Lesson #1 - treadle slowly!
Without breaking a sweat.

getting the twist right
don't over or under-twist your yarn

give it a whir!
Once you've spun two spindles worth of yarn, you ply them both together - again using the wheel. But don't turn the wheel the same way you spin! If you do, you'll get something resembling poodle hair.

To ply, spin backwards!
to ply, spin backwards! 
Plying two strands together yields a two-ply skein of yarn. To get it into an organized skein, you use this funny little tool called a "knitty knotty."

knitty knotty tool for wrapping your plied yarn into a skein
knitty knotty fun
When you take it off the knitty knotty and twist it, you have a skein.

Hand spun wool skeins

Some folks prefer to knit from a ball of yarn.  You can make a ball by hand, wrapping it over and over on itself, or use this nifty ball winder tool.

ball winder

And some day, if you practice a lot, you could be as good as my teacher Pat, seen here demonstrating spinning at the Colors of Kendall celebration.

Pat Ellsworth demonstrating spinning at the Colors of Kendall

If you've ever been interested in learning how to take wool from a roving to yarn, I highly recommend taking a class or finding someone who spins and giving it a try.

Your first yarns will look ugly - like mine, above - but you will have fun.

Without sweating.

Cheers -


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