first “yarn”!

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I gave it another try this morning (with my hair pulled back into a tidy bun this time around…I learned my lesson yesterday!), and here’s what I got:

learning to spin

The picture on the top left is of my very first attempt at spinning yarn that did not incorporate my own hair. It’s sort of terrible, but I know I’m supposed to expect that! The picture on the middle left is of my second attempt, which I did manage to keep a bit more even. The big picture is this second attempt, with my hand for scale. It’s sort of “Lamb’s Pride Bulky”-ish, except, you know, crappy, and only a few yards long. The final picture is of the sad results of my attempt to ply the two first yarns together, just for kicks. I have something of an idea of what might’ve gone wrong, but as you can probably see, I mostly managed to just remove the twist from both of the strands. Ooops.

I am so full of questions right now. It’s strange…with knitting, when I was teaching myself, I was more than happy to just play around and try things out on my own until they looked right, but with spinning, I feel so much more nervous and uncertain. I think most of that is because whereas with knitting, I could screw up royally, unravel the mess, and try again…with spinning, once I’ve royally screwed up a chunk of fiber, it’s pretty much done. And I know, in the abstract, that I’m not really “wasting” it, since it’s all part of the learning process, but it still, uh, sort of feels like I’m wasting it.  Maybe I can ball it up and use it to stuff handknit toys, or something.

I think I know where I’m going wrong with some things. Like, I know my yarn is crazy bulky because I’m letting way too much fiber into the twist as I’m drafting, but I’m failing to actually turn this knowledge into an ability to actually let less fiber in at a time. One thing I totally don’t get is how to keep the yarn from untwisting when I decide to stop spinning…the ends of both of my little pieces are just untwisting themselves into fluff, which is exactly what it seems like they should do, once I stop holding the twist in with my pinched fingers. So I just don’t get how that’s supposed to NOT happen, even after reading lots and lots about the whole process and watching pretty much every video I could find. I’m half tempted to clip a barrette around the ends or something, but I’ve never read/seen anything about that, so I feel like I’m missing something.

I figure I’ll just keep trying a little bit at a time, in hopes that my hands start to work out what they need to do. I can’t handle too much at once right now anyway, as I’m tired and achy as all get-out, and am under doctor’s orders to be getting as much rest as possible lest I wind up needing to be hospitalized for this respiratory stuff that I can’t seem to kick. So…I’m off to take a nap. Maybe I’ll dream of spinning.

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9 thoughts on “first “yarn”!

  1. oh, fun! i’m sure you’ll get the hang of it in time! i don’t think i could do it though, and besides that, i don’t think i can handle another hobby :).

  2. anna mccarthy

    My dear, As a spinner of 25 years, you are doing fabulous ! Mine didn’t look that good for months. I never wanted to learn when I was learning weaving, and then I succumbed and now I am flamingly addicted. The only thing I’d rather do is card some lovely silk/romney/ kid mohair combination or dye with cochineal. And wheels are another flavor altogether, more soothing for me -then there’s the 1 treadle and two treadle question. I find making my own yarn intoxicating…..And for lupus/low energy look into low dose naltrexone. It really works but hard to get doctor to prescribe.

  3. I knit my hair into projects all the time. Shhh, don’t tell anyone…

    The biggest, best thing that improved my spinning was predrafting the fiber like crazy. And I mean predraft, then go back and do it again. I couldn’t believe how much better things looked once I did that!

    That being said, your yarn looks pretty darn even!

  4. Mine looked the same when I started, and I had the same struggles. For a while I would spin for 15-30 minutes a day, making lots and lots of mini-skeins that were all unusable crap, and then it sort of clicked and I was able to tell what was occurring because of the limitations of my skill and what was due to the limitations of the fiber and tool I was using. After all that practice, though, it didn’t take me long to get going on a wheel.

    As for the untwisting, that’s why you ‘finish’ yarn. Kind of like blocking knitting. You skein it and tie the ends, which pinches them and keeps them from untwisting, and then wash it and let it dry. The twist of the single opposes the twist of the ply and it becomes stable.

    Good luck, it looks good to me! My first attempt was really just a rat’s nest of fiber.

  5. Yes, like carla says, you’ll need to do something to the yarn to set the twist, especially if you don’t ply the yarn. A wash and thwack does wonders. Some people say you should put a weight on the skein, others insist you shouldn’t I’m not going to pretend to be an authority on that.

    You can expect that the ends will be a little wonky. Once you are ready to knit, crochet, weave or whatever your yarn, you just clip off an inch or so and you’ll have happy yarn.

  6. Your first efforts look better than mine did! I’m still stuck at beginning and can’t seem to get past, but there’s something very relaxing about spinning. I like your yarn – it looks very even.

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