As my knitting interests develop I’ve become more into using real wool, in particular british wool. There is nothing better than diving into a yarn fair full of indie dyers and spinners who are producing yarns of fantastic quality, and you know exactly the journey it’s been on.
I had been starting to think that learning to spin would be a fun new addition to my skills, but it wasn’t until the Yarn in the City yarn crawl last September that I really wanted to learn how to do it. The leader of our little gang of knitters (I’m sorry, I really can’t remember her name!) had her drop spindle with her which would be whipped out on every tube journey as everyone peppered her with questions and looked on in awe.
Last Christmas, much to my delight, my parents gifted me with my very own drop spindle and some wool to start with.
I’ve begun teaching myself using youtube. I don’t really have much idea what I’m doing yet, but I’ve certainly improved in a short space of time! Though when I haven’t done it for a while it takes time to get back into it, so this first bit of yarn is likely to be unusable…
It’s amazing to see all the separate little fibres suddenly twist into yarn. The most annoying thing I’ve found is when the fibres break, it’s taking some practice to make the join smoothly and not with a great lump of wool. I’m sure there’s something about how tightly it’s twisted that I should know, but there’s probably a lot of things so I should really read up about it a bit more.
The technique, as far as I can see is quite simple. Once you’ve got the initial twist on your scrap yarn you just slowly pull apart the fibres, making sure to keep a tight pinch at the end of the twisted yarn. When you’re satisfied with the thickness, just transfer the pinch up and continue. Obviously if you’re looking to learn how to spin this post isn’t much use, just go on youtube and there are lots of videos – maybe when I’ve perfected the technique I’ll do some of my own!