Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Drop Spindle Spinning

So I'm still on my drop spindle spinning journey of learning.  I've had fun.  I've gotten frustrated.  Thank God for You Tube - although I have to get up at 6 a.m. to watch videos...so I've done that the last couple of days.  It has helped a lot.  I also contacted someone that processes fibers - she dyes them, spins them, sells them as yarn, she teaches spinning, she has spinning wheels she sells.  I am going to see her this afternoon.  I had contacted her on Saturday.  She didn't get back to me (I left a message).  Then I emailed her.  She said they'd been out of town and just gotten back.  She says I can go over later this afternoon.  I'm going to leave here at 2:00 which will put me at her place about 3:00.  Nothing is quick or easy to get to from where I live.  I'm getting more used to that.  This trip will be worth it.  It's all country roads anyway.  At least it's not up the Interstate!
So here is a visual of my journey.
This is fiber.  It's been sheered from a sheep, it was processed (cleaned and combed) and it was hand dyed.  It comes in a long braid (which I did not take a photo of).  I buy it in the braid already processed.  I don't have the $ to buy fleeces or all the equipment it would take to do all the processing, and I'm not sure I have enough life left to learn all there is about all the fibers, and all the processing, and all the ways to dye fiber!  Maybe some day I will think about it, but not now.  I'm enjoying the spinning.
The fiber on the left is what I've already separated from the braid.  It has to be pre-drafted which means gently pulling the fibers apart from each other.  I'm getting better at that.  The fiber on the right, under the spindle is the fiber I've already pre-drafted and am going to spin.

Above is the fiber that I spun.  The far left is what I spun  first.  It was a very small braid.  On the right is fiber I spun over the weekend.  After looking at Ravelry and seeing some photos there, I thought, maybe I'm spinning too tightly.  I couldn't find anything in my book about how tightly to let the fibers spin into yarn - the twist.  I then tried to spin a lot lighter - and the yarn - if you can call it that - on the right is what came of that.  There isn't much spin in it at all.  I'll be re-spinning that!
The yarn in the middle, on the dowel, is what I spun yesterday.  It's pretty darn good!  Even if I do say so myself.  I spun some more this morning, it's still on the spindle (I spun it after taking the photos).  Note to self:  Do NOT use the red placemats for background on photos anymore!!!!

When I go to see the lady this afternoon, I'm going to ask her #1, how to add things to the yarn. I have shiny stuff I want to add.  So I need to know how - do I need to do it before I spin on a drum carder, because I can't afford one of those.  #2 question is how do I ply the yarn?  Plying the yarn is when you have spun the yarn once, then you want to strengthen the yarn, so you spin it with more yarn, or, you can ply it with other things - either a yarn of a different fiber, or thread.  I've seen both.  The yarn has to back spin on itself to do that.  I'm not sure I'm capable of doing it!  LOL.  I am just getting the spinning and drafting down pat.

I'm hoping that I can ply these two yarns together, getting a thicker yarn in the end.  These are pretty skinny!

Funny thing, my arm started really hurting and cramping up this morning while spinning the second batch of fiber into yarn.  I have to hold my left arm up a lot during the spinning or I have to stand up and spin and still hold my arm up.  Guess it's something my muscles have to work at.

I'm hoping the lady has some spinning wheels sitting around, and maybe I can try a couple.  I think I know which one I want, WHEN I can get one.  A LOT of people have said to be sure to try many wheels because not all wheels are created equal.  I know the one I tried at the little fiber festival at Graves Mountain was wonderful and I really liked the way it went.  I've tried a couple of others at fiber festivals but found I wasn't comfortable with them.  I don't know, however, what brands they were.  I do know the one I did like was a Lendrum.

So this is what I've been busy with the last few days. I've also been reading a lot.  Mostly at night.  I stay awake too late, then I have been getting up quite early.  I'm thinking I might need a quick nap before I go see this lady today!  Don't want to be too sleepy to learn, or fall asleep driving back home.  That would NOT be good...........

Off I go.
Take care.  Do something you love.

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