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