Sunday, 20 May 2007



Today I will recount a brief overview of my spinning history (ie one whole week).

The bobbin at the top of the lazy kate is Shetland which I have been diligently working on for 15 minutes a night when I get home from work. An experienced spinner would be able to read this yarn like book containing an unfolding story of error and over correction. They would find patches that resemble barely twisted pencil roving to patches so thin and over twisted they may well disintegrate when removed from the bobbin. There are lumps and bumps and thick and thin bits but gradually the yarn reader would see that the thread was slowly resolving into something a little more controlled and confident. I am sure that the last few yards look nothing like the first.

Spurred on with confidence I decided that I was up to tackling something a little more interesting so I took two natural shades of Blue Faced Leicester with the plan of actually producing some usable yarn. I have to admit that those who say that Shetland is a very easy fibre to learn with are correct. In the first instance I did find the BFL a little more slippery and difficult to control. However, I started to get into a rhythm of sorts and after a while produced a couple of bobbins of singles that I was quite pleased with. I have noticed that I haven't yet managed to settle into a preferred drafting style and that sometimes I have the whole thing in such a vice like grip I have to tell myself to let go and be a bit more gently with the fibres but I suppose it is all a part of the learning process and relaxation will come with practice. Mind you, at the moment it isn't a bad workout...


Next came the plying. I am glad that I used the two shades of BFL as it has given me a good chance to see exactly what is going on when yarn is plied. I could see what happens when one ply is more over spun than the other, the impact of viable thickness and how to control the level of plying. It was starting to look like yarn!


Spinning has introduced me to so many arcane and tactile pieces of equipment, including the niddy noddy. Now, I'm not sure I actually managed to use it correctly so I would be grateful if anyone could point out better technique but it did serve its purpose because...


Voila! A proper grown up sized skein of hand spun yarn made entirely by the hands of yours truly! I was worried that it was going to feel a little overworked and harsh and not like BFL at all but it has relaxed into the familiar silky softness and lustre that we all love about it.



It may be uneven and idiosyncratic but I love it.

12 comments:

littlelixie said...

Looks gorgeous! Bring it on wed for a proper ooo and ahhh.

Wye Sue said...

I was told that practice for a bit each day is the way to learn...
And from the BFL it looks like you are doing really well...
Plying with two colours is easier to see what is happening - I had a 'oh, is that how it works' moment when I tried...

Missmalice said...

oh Jane - it is beautiful!! i really really want to touch it - that must be a good sign, no?

I'm spindle spinning at the moment, working away at 100g of BFL. it's rather skinny in places and uneven, but the whole process is just so cool. Can't wait to see it plied!

Maggie said...

Ooooh, yummy! Have you a plan for your lovely yarn yet?

Best wishes from sunny Liverpool

Margaret said...

I've come over from Weekend Whirls to say Congrats on your first skein! Isn't it amazing to actually make yarn? Two colors was a great idea and it seems you really have read a great deal more in your yarn as a result. I'm a new spinner myself and really enjoyed the BFL I worked with recently. I have a little bit of Shetland, but haven't tried it yet.

Rhonna said...

You're doing great! You might want to save this first yarn; don't use it just yet. Label it so you can remember what it is, when you did it, and so on. Then, in a couple of months, pull it out and compare it to your most recent spinning. It's a *really* good way to help you see your own progress and how much you're learning.

Julie said...

Here's another weekend whirler come to say congrats and nice beginning!

Jo said...

I've come over from the whirls, to see your first skein, well done, welcome to the dark side, I've got an Ashford Traditional too, and a Joy, and a Turkish spindle, I've almost been spinning a year now.

Jo said...

and nobody else said but you did load up the niddy noddy right!

theblondeknitter said...

bravo! how beautiful!
i would certainly buy it if i saw it in a shoppe! i especially like the colors you picked out to spin together. they compliment eachother nicely.
:)

Kris said...

Jane, your spinning looks great!

Folks say to practice a little bit each day. I really should but I have a 3 year old. So, this daily practice thing doesn't occur all that often. :-)

Good luck with the spinning. It is really looking great.

Kris
The Knitting Wannabe
http://www.knittingwannabe.typepad.com

Diana said...

Looks fabulous!!! Your yarn has encouraged me! I am just starting to spin as well and I must say you have done much better than I have. I have not plyed yet but I I did at this point it would be a bulky weight! LOL