Sunday, July 6, 2014

Handspinning Tips, That Helped This Newbie



If you read this blog then you know I am no expert at handspinning, and even though I have owned a spinning wheel for over 13 years, it has only been in the last year that I have made any real progress at spinning.

There were times when I would pull the wheel out of the corner, dust it off and play with it a little bit, but it didn't take long before it would get returned to its spot, to again collect dust.

What changed?

I decided that no matter what, I was going to figure out this spinning thing.

What helped?

1. I took a class
I would have loved to take classes, if there were any offered in my area. That was not an option, so I signed up for a handspining workshop, at one of the Fiber Festivals in our State. It was very nice to get some direction from an instructor.
Finding a Spinning Guild, is another option. I found one, with some women who are always willing to help, but due to the distance, I have not been able to attend. Maybe someday we will have one in our county.

2. Videos
A workshop was great, but later when you are back home, spinning on your wheel, with no one around to ask for help, it can be frustrating. I watched/watch a LOT of videos, some I have watched multiple times. They are a great help!! Each one offering different advice and tips.
Here are a couple that were helpful to me-

https://www.youtube.com/user/ExpertlyDyed/videos

http://tutorials.knitpicks.com/wptutorials/category/spinning/

3. Spin Every Day!
That was some advice offered to me on my blog!
When I signed up for the Tour De Fleece, last year, that is exactly what I started to do- spinning every day! Even if it was only for 10 minutes. It makes the world of difference!

4. Work with smaller amounts of wool-
I started spinning from Roving. I had heard about drafting the wool and I thought I was doing that. With all of the instruction I received in the class and videos, it wasn't until I watched a video where they actually showed, pulling off about a 12 inch section of roving and then divided that section down the length into two skinnier sections, that I realized maybe I was working with too much wool.
That tutorial,  made a HUGE difference to me. All of a sudden, I wasn't struggling to keep up with the wheel. My yarn was more consistent and I was actually enjoying myself!

5. I bought a larger whorl
I have a Schacht spinning wheel. It came with two whorls but I decided to purchase the Extra Slow Speed Whorl. It is used for a thicker, courser yarn, but I purchased it because it made the flier turn more slowly, and I was all about slowing things down a bit :)

6. I found the right Fiber
I raise sheep, and I am surrounded by wool, that was the reason I purchased a spinning wheel in the first place. But, up until this year, I always just sold the fleeces, raw.

I purchased some wool roving for handspinning. It is not all created equal!

Last year, I purchased some Romney Roving, and loved it! I couldn't believe how much easier it was for me to spin. 
I now have a few Romney Sheep, and I am spinning their wool, which we processed into roving, for this years "Tour De Fleece".

Find a wool that works for you!  The wool I started with was probably a very nice roving, but I am guessing too short.
Longer wools are usually, easier for beginners to spin. I know it was for me.



I still consider myself a novice,  I just wanted to share some tips that helped me get past the "frustration" stage of handspinning, and on to the "enjoyment" stage.

 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

16 comments:

  1. Oh Sandra way to go it looks intimidating to me but that is what classes videos and people who understand are for. Good for you. It sounds relaxing once you figure it out kind of like knitting I suppose. Hug B

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I had to learn knitting too! I figured what was the point of learning to spin yarn, if I didn't knit!
      I enjoy knitting now, but at first, I felt like all thumbs :)

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  2. Yay! I love taking classes and learning new things.

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  3. They say you can learn to spin in 5 minutes, but that you'll spend the rest of your life practicing :-). Good for you!!!

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  4. Most excellent advice!! Blessings~~Shine

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    Replies
    1. #3 was advice that I took from you :)
      Nice to see you again!

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  5. I spin on a drop spindle and find it to be very therapeutic and fun. I love working with wool in any way. Have you tried felting?

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    1. I have done a little bit of needle felting. I am knitting some slippers that will be felted when done, and made some wool dryer balls,. I have not done any real wet felting type projects.

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  6. I want to reach out and touch the photo...it looks so soft and pretty :)

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  7. Great tips! I'm going to pin this for down the line when I can handspin! It sounds fascinating.

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  8. This is a wonderful skill to have. I would love to learn to spin (but don't even have the sheep so it wouldn't be of much use to me). Buying the yarn from people who spin/dye on their homestead is a treat though.

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  9. It's always fun to take on a new challenge, spinning is something I've always wanted to learn!

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  10. Thank you for these tips. I've been wanting to start, but have been a bit overwhelmed. As far as I know, there are no classes near, but you've given me the idea to try a video. Thanks!

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