Sunday, March 28, 2010

tools of the trade.


Old spindle (top), new spindle (bottom).

starter fluff

Starter fluff (left), souvenir fluff my sister brought me from Spain (right).

expensive fluff

Beautiful alpaca fluff that I got for Christmas the year I got the old spindle, that I am afraid to touch because my current efforts at spinning (not pictured) aren't so good. Srsly.

So I got that first bottom whorl spindle a few Christmases ago, and tried to use it without much success. This weekend my LYS is having their spring sale, and they had these pretty pretty top-whorl spindles. I had to buy one and find out if I'd have better luck this time around. I used this video tutorial to get an idea of the motions, and I managed to get one little 6-inch piece of roving to turn into something resembling yarn...but of course the twist came right out as soon as I set it down. I think I used too much roving, as the resultant yarn was pretty thick.

I so want to get the hang of this and spin my super lovely alpaca roving! I know a lot of it is going to come down to simply practicing. A lot. Any tips, spinners? Do you have a preference between drop spindle spinning vs. wheel spinning? Are the yarns the two methods produce really different, or are they two paths to the same end? Is one easier to learn? Halp!


Brinn said...

I personally prefer spindling, though I'll admit that's because I've never spun on a wheel. : ) I think they're both pretty similar in result, though I think spindled yarns are a little more uneven, simply because of the need to pause drafting to wind on around the spindle.

You're right when you say a lot of it is practice. Keep practicing on the cheaper, less nice fluff, and you'll get it. Though I would advise practicing spinning thin with lots of twist, cause I suspect that's what you'll need for the alpaca (alpaca is veeeery slippery--I've got some in my fiber stash I'm working up the courage to try.

And as for yarn being too thick--just draft it out a little further, and it'll get thinner. (But remember how it feels to draft that thick, cause once you're able to consistantly spin fingering weight singles, it's haaaard to spin thicker again).

Hope I could help a little. : )


goldenbird said...

I wish I could help, but I've never tried it. Would love to learn how. Your alpaca fluff is so pretty, looking forward to seeing it spun.

Linda said...

I love spinning!
I would strongly recommend Abby Franquemonts book Respect the Spindle and particulary her downloadable DVD from Interweave.
I started on a spindle, didn't get it at all, tried a wheel and loved it, went back to the spindle and loved that even more!
Practice is key (Just 10 minutes a day) and use easy fibre to learn on like shetland, english wool blend, cheviot. Pre draft to start with. Leave the alpaca until you have the idea but use pretty colours to give you pleasure in your learning!
Its taken me 2 years to really get it, some people click quicker than me though, so be patient!