Thoughts on Spinning

I really enjoy spinning, but sometimes it makes me want to tear my hair out.


This weekend I made a discovery to help me avoid tangles such as this. Normally when I finish spinning a spindle-full of singles I wind them off into a center-pull ball and ply from either end. This method works well to use up every single bit of spun yarn, but it does result in rather a lot of tangles since the inner and outer plies are not held at the same tension and because at some point the center of the ball will collapse. I recently read Spinning in the Old Way and the author suggested that a spinner ply with a nostepinne inside the the center-pull ball to prevent this collapse. I don’t have a nostepinne, so I improvised with a US 35/19 mm knitting needle that I bought once on a whim.


This solved the collapsing problem, but not the tension problem, and I ended up with ever so many tangles. I was keeping the ball on the floor at this point. Everything changed when I decided to hold the ball on my lap where I could tension the strands very close to where they came off the ball. Voila! My problem was solved!


As I got to the end of my singles the spindle became very heavy, making it hard to wind on. Instead of holding the weight of the spindle in my fingers I began to wind from the ground. Much more comfortable.


Soon almost all my singles were gone. I realized the center-pull ball wasn’t much of a ball anymore. And it was very stretchy.

I guess I’m a sucker for portable spinning.

Here is the finished skein ready for a wash.


In Progress

It turns out that if you actually work on your projects, they get done (I know I say that a lot, but it’s embarrassing how often I forget it). I started these socks almost a year ago, pulled them out in September when my feet started to get cold, and found them again earlier this month. I am determined to finish them by the end of the month. I’m about to start the second heel, so it seems a realistic goal.


I also plan to finish spinning this electric blue soy silk by the end of the month. It should end up as a sport or light worsted weight. What should I make out of it?


This shamrock wasn’t long in the making. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


Spindle Spinning

This morning I pulled out a project I started…quite a while ago. Before I bought my spinning wheel. In June I bought 4 oz of Corriedale roving from Three Waters Farm in the colourway “Before Flowers.”


I spun this up on my spindle, then started some ecru Southdown roving from Beesybee to ply with it.


The idea was that the natural white of the Southdown would tone down the gorgeous colours of the Corriedale so that if the colours pooled when I knit it up I wouldn’t hate it (I love variegated yarns in the skein, but pooling makes me cringe). Then I bought my spinning wheel and promptly forgot about my spindle. When I pulled it out this morning I wasn’t sure if I had enough Southdown spun or not. So I took a page out of Abby Franquemont’s book and wound the white and coloured yarns into a ball together to be ready for plying.


I don’t have enough Southdown spun (drat), but I’ve wound the rest of the Corriedale into a ball so it’s nice and tidy. As I was winding it I came to a place where the singles went from a light fingering weight to a worsted weight. What in the world?


I think this was where I switched from the park and draft method to drafting as I go. It’s crazy how changing your technique changes your yarn!



I don’t have enough time to knit. So obviously I need another craft to take up my (already precious) knitting time. I’ve started spinning! And I couldn’t be more pleased. I find spinning to be meditative but challenging, in many of the same ways that knitting is.

I think I’m in love.

The dyed roving is from Three Waters Farm in the colorway Before Flowers. The spindle I’m using with it is made by Schacht.

The rustic spindle is from Sheeps Creations, and I’m spinning an undyed Corriedale wool on it.