I have been a bit obsessed with spinning yarn lately. When you knit, crochet, or even both, you typically run into commercial yarn not being exactly what you want. Another issue I run into is that I find hand spun or dyed yarn that I love, and can’t buy amounts needed for a larger project due to my budget. A lot of work goes into hand dyed and hand spun yarn. This is why prices are a bit higher per hank. If you are willing to go through a bit of work you can create some of the yarn ideas you have collecting in your mind for a bit less. It also keeps you in involved in the creative process.
What do you need?
When you are like me, and tend to jump from one creative craft to another you typically don’t want too big of an investment when you are getting started. This keeps you from spending too much on a hobby you may not like. Luckily with spinning you don’t need to start with the $500 spinning wheel. I started spinning with a drop spindle. Most will start with a bottom whorl or top whorl spindle. The difference between the two is where the bulk of the weight will be. I started with a Turkish spindle. A Turkish spindle is a bottom whorl spindle, but it also allows you to wind a center pull ball as you wrap your spun yarn on the spindle. Those who use drop spindles typically end up collecting quite a few. When you are first starting out it’s recommended to get an inexpensive spindle($10-20) between 1-2 oz this is so the spindle isn’t too light or too heavy, and gives you the most range on what yarn you can create with the least amount of frustration. You will drop the spindle a lot as a beginner, but with practice that won’t happen as often. You will also need some fiber to spin such as wool roving.
How do I get started
You now have a spindle and some fiber to spin, now what? I started with Drucilla Pettibone’s Craftsy Class, “Spindling: from Fluff to Stuff” (affiliate link). Drucilla goes over everything right on the screen. You will learn about different fibers, preparations, spinning techniques, setting, and finishing your yarn. It’s a great way to get the hang of spinning if you are a more visual learner. This class only reviews the drop spindle for spinning yarn. There are other classes that go over how to use a spinning wheel if you would like more information on that as well.
If you want a more traditional format with more history on the drop spindle Abby Franquemont has a wonderful book called “Respect the Spindle” this goes over more of the history of where the spindle comes from, and as an added bonus has a few knit and crochet projects in the back of the book to use with your newly spun yarn.
A recent book I have come across is Spinning and Dyeing Yarn by Ashley Martineau. This book covers fibers, spinning techniques, and dyeing yarn. It covers multiple topics which makes it great for anyone’s library. What I like most about the book is it gives you the information to spin and dye yarn, but it also gives you instructions on how to make you own tools. This gives you the opportunity to begin spinning yarn without breaking your budget. It has instructions for making your own drop spindle, kick spindle, and even a full spinning wheel in easy steps with plenty of photos.
If you have some best practices or have some yarn you would like to show off feel free to comment below. I love hearing about new ideas, and seeing what everyone is making.