Lessons learned while spinning

Left: currently spinning
Right: first spinning

I’ve taken to spinning more than I thought I ever would. After buying the kit two or so years ago and barely using it, I figured spinning just wasn’t in my stars. Lately, though, I seem to have a need to pick it up whenever I have a spare moment.

As a new spinner, there are a host of lessons I have yet to learn and some I’ve learned the hard way. I’m not going to pretend I really know what I’m doing or that solutions I’ve come up with are the most proper or efficient. I thought, though, I’d share what I’d learned up until now (if nothing else so I can look back later and laugh).

Still uneven, but a lot less so now

1. Split the roving into smaller strips.

When I bought this roving, it was wound up into a ball and was a huge 2-3 inch wide strip. My biggest problem was trying to spin directly from that. That’s how I ended up with bulky next to fine. It just doesn’t work well. I watched many tutorials and learned I should pull out a length, split it in half, and draft a bit before spinning. Result? Easier to manage.

2. Don’t tug so hard when trying to draft.

I kept ripping the roving right apart when drafting before spinning and then having to try and repair it later. I found if I gently ease the wool with one hand while holding it firmly with the other, the fibers stretch out without coming all apart.

3. With enough twist, the yarn won’t fall apart on me.

I ended up with barely wisps in places in my first go and absolutely panicked. I was sure my yarn would tear apart in a heartbeat. Somewhere, though, I read that for finer yarns, you just need more twist and it’ll hold together just fine. I tried it out and haven’t had a problem since (although I desperately wish my gauge was more even at this point).

4. Make sure there’s plenty of fiber when joining the next strip of roving.

I’ve found there needs to be a couple of inches of lead from the next roving strip to connect with what I’ve spun so far. If not, the two parts pull apart with the weight of my drop spindle. Now, I’m still working on keeping things even, so when I join, I make sure the join starts out very very fine so it fits relatively even with what I”ve spun.

5. It just takes practice.

I have to keep reminding myself this over and over again. I’ve kept the first spin, which I had abandoned and removed to a mailer tube. I have a feeling I’ll look back at it at some point and find it endlessly entertaining. Even from the latest to that first, I’ve improved quite a bit. I read somewhere that at some point, I won’t be able to easily get these bumps and unevenness, so I should keep my early spins.

I look forward to learning more as I go. I’ve been trying to figure out what I should do with the little TARDIS blue stuff I have. I guess once I wind it, I’ll figure out how much I have and can work from there.