View Full Version : Any Pointers for a Newbie Spinner?
11-11-2007, 06:50 AM
My wheel arrived yesterday and I am so excited and anxious to get started!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
My Ashford Elizabeth
She also has a gorgeous Lazy Kate with three spools
I bought a couple of books to get started
(sorry about that one being so small) So now, I just need some practical advice from experienced spinners as to how to select roving and what would be the best kind to start with, etc. Elannie has alredy given me some hints-such as Corriedale being a good beginner wool, so I will be ordering some of that. Any others that you might recommend? I really like the look of thick and thin homespun yarn so I hope I will be able to spin some of that right away and I want to dye it myself.
Another couple of questions I have are...is it better to dye the roving first then spin the wool or better to spin then dye the yarn? Can I ply (I think that's the word) a commercially spun yarn with my handspun yarn? I have some really beautiful silk and Alpaca lace weight but it isn't exactly a colour I like a lot-if I mix it with another colour, it might be tolerable and as it is so thin, I thought a heavier weight yarn might work-if I can do that.
Any help you all can give me would be appreciated. I can't seem to find a spinning class around here that works with my schedule so I'm having to get the books and go from there. I'm also watching the videos online and those are also helpful.:thumbsup:
11-11-2007, 01:07 PM
How exciting! New toys!:clap: I'm sure all the spinners will be able to give you tips Pamela. It's a beauty.
11-11-2007, 02:42 PM
I am sorry that I have been among the missing lately.
Oh, I am excited for you; a NEW wheel!! As for advice, take mine it's free and worth every cent you paid for it!! The first type of yarn that you are going to spin is just short of rope!! Every one does, hold on to it. You will be able to ply it with a later handspun and it will be ultra cool! For right now, you want a coarser, longer length staple wool to learn on. Romney, Corriedale, Coopworth,etc are good learning wools. Stay away from the blends, and finer fibers till you feel like you have the feel of the wheel. At first, just try to make a continual yarn, without to much over twist and enough twist to hold together.Oh, and remember to breathe, relax and have fun. And just like every thing else.....practice, practice, practice!!!
As for dyeing, you can do either - dye before spinning or after. You will just get different yarns both types are fine and beautiful. It will all come down to personal choice. There are some kinds that require you to dye before spinning like the really lovely handspun scarf tutorial here on WC.
Just sit down, grab some wool, and try spinning! You will do just fine! AND, post pics of what you get done!! We are waiting with baited breathes!!!
11-11-2007, 03:02 PM
Thanks Li and Mikatana....I'm so anxious to get started but find that I am going to have to get a maintenance kit first. The string that goes around the wheel and bobbin (one of these days I'll remember all of the terms) is not very good..a bit worn actually, so I need to replace it. I can pick up a kit here in town so it won't be long before I am giving this a go-next week...I'm a bit nervous but I am more anxious to start trying than I am nervous about it!!!! I appreciate your input about dyeing and the length of wool to use...I can see that it would be important to use a longer fiber at first-especially when trying to do all this stuff at once...like pulling the fiber and treadeling at the same time. Might be like chewing gum and walking at the same time, huh? I will definitely be sure to post whatever I "make" and hopefully, over time, it will be recognizable as yarn.:lol: :thumbsup:
11-11-2007, 03:43 PM
Congrats on your new wheel! I started with blue-faced leicester and it's still one of my favorite fibers. It also couldn't hurt to get a sampler pack so you can try a variety of fibers. I found fine fibers like merino difficult to spin at first. Whether you dye before or after spinning is completely up to you.
I found it easier to practice treadling first, without fiber, just to get used to the wheel. Then when I started spinning fiber, I predrafted it so I had one less thing to think about.
11-11-2007, 05:44 PM
I've been treadling today...there is a knack to it for sure, but I think I will be able to master it easily enough-I am catching on to how far and fast I can go...next will come the fiber part...we'll see if I am coordinated enough to manage that! :) Hadn't thought about predrafting but I think that may be on the books to do (pre-spinning) as well! Thanks!!
11-12-2007, 01:02 PM
I have a question....can I temporarily use cotton twine (the soft kind) to make a drive band for my wheel until my maintenance kit arrives. The band that came with it was too worn to put back on the wheel and to me, it looks like it's just a piece of cotton twine.
11-12-2007, 02:18 PM
While I don't have an Ashford wheel, I don't know why you can't. Go ahead - try it! And let us know how it turns out!
11-12-2007, 02:50 PM
Thanks~ I will give it a try for sure and see how it works. I just wasn't sure if the string needs to be waxed or not. The Ashford is a double drive....I'm learning, I'm learning.:lol:
11-12-2007, 07:23 PM
OK, I've put the string on the drive and it works just fine...no problem...in fact, it seems a much stronger one than the one that was on it when I got it...and I have pretty much got several years of string in this skein...still, I will get the maintenance kit with the "prescribed" string. So, now I am practice treadling-trying to keep it going clockwise as I increase tension-not as easy as I thought:lol: Anyway, I believe I will get used to it and I am really anxious to get my wool and get started on spinning some yarn (no matter how it looks):eek:
11-17-2007, 04:03 PM
I've heard of people using cotton twine, candle wick, and plastic lacing for drive bands.
11-17-2007, 10:24 PM
Looks like the cotton string is going to work just fine. I've been reading my two books and I think I am ready to give it a shot! I've ordered some Corridale and thinking about adding some other kinds of wool-just to see how it spins. I'm beginning to think that there might be a few other things I am going to need (i.e.: niddy noddy) once I get spinning. Ashford makes a nice one that is reasonably priced, so I will probably get that one. I already have a Swift and a ball winder...and of course knitting needles. I believe, short of having my own flock of sheep, I'm set!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Nov-2007/34609-sheepknit.gif
11-18-2007, 01:13 PM
Pamela ~ I use kitchen twine on my wheel and actually like it alot more than the string Ashford provides. The trick is tying a small enough knot that it doesn't bump when it goes around the bobbins.
You will probably want a set of wool carders as well. And do you have a hook to pull the yarn through the orifice when you get started? Makes life much easier!
11-18-2007, 05:03 PM
Lisa, I've been looking at the carders too...in fact my Mom and I were talking about carders the other day and she was wishing she still had the ones she and her sisters used when they were girls...they of course were carding cotton with theirs, not wool, but she said she thought they were the carders that belonged to her grandmother (from Scotland) She isn't sure what happended to them over the years. At any rate, for now, I'll be buying already combed and carded wool to spin with.
I think my string is working just fine and I have tied a small knot and cut the ends short so it doesn't bump very much. The good thing about using this or kitchen twine, it's less expensive than the Ashford stuff, much sturdier I think and I have pretty much got an endless supply...at least enough for many years of spinning. I do have a hook that came with my wheel and it works like a charm !I have seen some very nice decorative hooks while browsing the internet...very fancy!! This one is just fine though.:thumbsup:
11-21-2007, 04:23 PM
I am so happy for you and your new toy! Spinning is a wonderful pastime - I have been doing it for about 10 years now, using everything from hand spinning to drop spindles to spinning wheels.
As for selecting the fibers, that would really depend on where you want to start with. Based on the fact you asked about roving, I would say something in the way of the color or an easy neutral that you can dye with your intended texture in mind. There are differences in the fibers and their handling, but I personally think at this stage you should experiement with different ones rather than so much look for what is "good for a beginner". Keep in mind the result you are looking for and here is a list of fibers you might find pleasure in working with:
In wools fibers less than 2 inches in length are made into fuzzy, soft woolen yarns. Longer fibers are used for the smoother and firmer worsted yarns. Naturally crimped wool fibers produce air-trapping yarns that are used for insulating materials. Therefore the more important thing to keep in mind in making the fiber texture and thickness you want is the length / texture of the fibers.
Other animals used include camels (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761553331/Camel.html), llamas (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761555939/Llama.html), alpacas (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557059/Alpaca.html), guanacos (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560336/Guanaco.html), vicuņas (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761559285/Vicuņa.html), rabbits (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761568905/Rabbits_and_Hares.html), reindeer (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761571587/Reindeer.html), Angora goats (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761570043/Goat.html), and Kashmīr (or cashmere) goats. Horsehair and cow's hair are used for felts and are sometimes spun as yarn, particularly for upholstery and other applications for which durability is important. Even human hair has been spun into yarn and used for textiles.
You can een blend in this like dryer lint and other unusual fibers to get loft, strength, warmth, etc.
Merino Wool Tussah Silk blend
Tencel and Merino Wool blend
Romney and Corridale
My personal experience says it is better to dye the roving or sliver before spinning as otherwise it can possibly affect the texture and loft of the fiber if done after. You also can get a smoother color transition as much you want it to be when it is dyed first. I know some people who do it differently, but I don't have good success with it. Go ahead and give it a shot though as you may personally like the end result you get from dying afterwards.
The sky really is the limit when creating your own fibers / spinning / etc. My best suggestion though instead of just plying in a commercial fiber (because the twist is already set and such) I would dye the fibers rather than ply in something else. Consider using natural dyes for something new to experiement with if you are brave, adventurous, and inquisitive.
11-21-2007, 07:21 PM
Welcome Lucy and thanks for all the great advice...you know, I've been so wanting to get some silk hankies as well as snapping up some long grasses that grow out beyond the fence...it just looks like something that might spin into something decorative (maybe not, but I want to try anyway!)
I have some commercial dyes that I got for dyeing silk and never used so I thougth I would give dyeing a try both before spinning and after spinning some wool. I'm pretty adventurous, so what the heck...I'm going to try several lengths and types of wool!!!
11-21-2007, 07:25 PM
You know, vegetation can make a wonderful spinning material, but you need to be careful. I am not one who actively does this, but the few times I did it was crucial I dried it completely, then rehydrated it for spinning. This kept if from "spoiling" the other fibers or itself.
Good luck, and I look forward to what you might share. I love looking at all of it, including the experimental stuff!
11-21-2007, 08:01 PM
I had thought to harvest the grass and then soak it in glycerin water, then dry it before spinning. That might preserve the fluffy bits on the grass heads.
11-21-2007, 08:05 PM
I say go for it! Sounds like you have a plan, unfortunately I don't have worth while experience in that area to offer much help.
11-21-2007, 08:07 PM
Well, the worst that could happen is being allergic to the grass!:lol:
11-21-2007, 08:09 PM
Yeah, that wouldn't be too much fun!
12-22-2007, 06:54 PM
I've been away for awhile. How's your spinning going?
12-22-2007, 08:53 PM
I've been away for awhile. How's your spinning going?
Welcome back!! How have you been?
As for spinning, I've been working on it!! Still not quite where I would like to be...it's rather a tricky business sometimes:lol: ...Tommy has gotten me some new stash for spinning for Christmas...I am eagerly awaiting Christmas AM so I can get to it and start some new spinning!
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