A few months ago, I learned to use a drop spindle to create yarn. The next step for me is to learn how to spin on a wheel and do some basic techniques like cleaning raw wool and carding it. The biggest thing to overcome was getting a wheel. This isn’t something you just pick up at the store. They are expensive – usually ranging from $300 to $1000+ and the fiber community really recommends you try out wheels before you buy. There are many styles, and it is said that when you find the right wheel for you, you will know.
Well, I’m a happy gal because I have a wheel to borrow to get me started! (Thanks Roxie!!) I picked it up a few weeks ago along with a drum carder which needs a new belt.
I have some carded wool to start with. I was very eager, so I got right to work with the carded wool. I was using Icelandic wool, which is unique in that is has both long and shorter fibers. For my non-fiber friends out there, you would be amazed at how much there is to know about fiber and the diversity within the types of sheep wool one can spin. Anyway, the Icelandic wool was challenging for me as a newbie. Drafting the fiber, which is a very important technique in spinning, was hard because of the differing lengths of fiber. I realized I had some roving left from the drop spindle work I was doing. So, I spun off the roving. It was much easier! I was spinning Merino, which is a super soft, but I am told also more challenging wool for newbies to spin (why can’t I just take the less complex route?!)
Here is my final product. I spun the orange Merino on the wheel. I was too impatient to spin another single to ply to the orange Merino so I plied it with a thin linen yarn. I actually plied it with my drop spindle since I knew how (again, very impatient).
I’m excited to see what creations are in my future! There’s a ton of spinning techniques, felting, dyeing, etc. etc. One thing at a time! My next step should be to make something with my yarn. The yarns that I have been drop spindling and wheel spinning are so pretty you’d think I want to make something with them right? By I’m really struggling deciding what I would use such wonderful yarn for! Remember, I’ve been working with store bought yarn for 3 years. There is no acrylic yarn from a big box store than is more beautiful than hand spun yarn. It’s simply impossible.
P.S. The best part of learning the wonderful world of wool, spinning, etc. has been the awesome people I’ve met along the way! There are wonderful groups on social media, and a local fiber guild that I’m now officially a member of. Everyone has so much knowledge and best part – happy to share and teach!