Last week I took my first spinning class. Since then I’ve spun the fiber we received in class, the one bag of fiber I’d set aside “just in case I took to spinning,” and now I’m all out and looking for more.
My mother warned me: Once you start spinning, you won’t want to stop.
File this experience under “Things Mother Warned Me About,” along with boys, drugs and wearing thrift store clothes before you’ve washed them.
In class, the teacher gave us each a homemade spindle made of a wooden toy wheel, a dowel rod, and a hook. A nice cheap way to start. She also gave us our choice of a variety of bags of colorful wool. I chose a bag of blue-green fluff.
Initially, it was not the wool that defeated me. Nor was it the spindle itself. It was my clothing. Word to the wise: don’t try to do a rolling start off your thigh while wearing a loose cotton skirt. I was more successful in winding my skirt around the dowel rod than I was in spinning my yarn. My apologies to anyone I inadvertently flashed during the early parts of class. Eventually I gave up and spun the spindle with my fingers.
The teacher started us out with a technique called Park and Draft, which seems very beginner friendly. You pinch the yarn above the spindle hook, then set the spindle to spinning and wind up a bunch of tension in the fiber between your fingers and the hook. Then you “draft” it out by drawing the twist up into the fiber above.
The yarn I produced during class was very sorry stuff. Full of thick and thin sections and alternately over and under spun. I’m told to call this “novelty” yarn. During the next few days, I spun a little more every day. By the end of the bag of fiber, my technique had improved a bit.
Almost as soon as I was done spinning that first batch I started on the next batch. This time, I pre-drafted my yarn carefully, which helped the yarn come out more evenly.
When I was done I wound the yarn around the top of a chair.
Then I tried taking it off the chair and winding it into a hank. It ended up looking like this:
Apparently, I have an over-twisting issue. So much to learn.