That is so pretty! Glad you're having a good learning experience. I only drop spindle, and my default singles are all laceweight. Not by intent! I need to spin more...
Beautiful, I have been doing a lot of spinning lately also. And I understand the "spinning default", I get in that zone many times also. I need to challenge myself to jump out of that zone...
Your single is pretty! Can't wait to see the yarn!
Spinning is for me to relax. I never understood the concept of meditation till I started spinning. I have a default yarn which varies a bit depending on what I'm spinning. Novelty yarn are not me. I spin on spindle and wheel. I chain ply if I'm looking for something durable, as I tend to overtwist both ways. That said, I hope to control myself long enough to spin laceweight camel/silk for a shawl. That may not be meditative till I'm quite far in.
The one thing that has taught me the most about spinning is time. Just sitting there spinning a lot has made me better at it. Actually, if I think about it at all, time has made me better at most things...
As to the stash toss, thanks for giving me plenty to think about as I lay awake last night worrying about my stash. Just the ticket for a sleepless night!
Hmmm...what have I learned from spinning? Well considering that I am just now learning how to spin, I've learned that I still really enjoy learning. Especially when it is something I am not obligated to do but am doing just for the joy of it.
I deeply understand the meaning of "homespun". I'm not an awesome spinner, by any means. Spinning makes me a better spinner. Different drop spindles with the same fiber. Spinning wheel with the same fiber. That's how I've gotten better.
You make me want to reclaim my spinning wheel from its long time loan and get spinning again! Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day (or space in the house) to reintroduce that craft at this moment. Hopefully soon. :)
I'm not a spinner...yet. Actually, it was this blog that convinced me that a) spinning is a pretty cool process and eventually b) I have to try it. I'm going to work on my knitting techniques for a while before I start spinning, but I'm dreaming of my first spindle already.
I bought a wheel just a few years ago. I brought it home and found it infuriating. Not only couldn't I get it to do what I wanted, I couldn't get it to do anything. My yarn was breaking, or too thick or thin or icky. Everything except what I wanted. It made me cranky and feeling inept.
I spent a couple of months trying and trying. And nothin'. I drove about an hour to Howell, Michigan to see Beth at the Spinning Loft. Even though I hadn't bought the wheel from her, she sat down with me, and asked me to spin (very intimidating). As I tried, she said "Sit a little further back", "Relax your hands", "Slow down your treading". Within 5 minutes of starting, I was spinning really nice, consistent yarn.
First, I've learned that you should try out as many wheels as you can - I have several wheels now - and find one that really feels comfortable. I have Ashford, Schacht and Majacraft wheels. They are all fine, but it's the Majacraft wheels that suit me best.
Secondly, I was surprised to learn that spinning is really about small movements - whether it's adjusting the tension or sitting back an inch or two in your chair, or treading a little bit slower, those small adjustments make big differences.
Third, relaxation and patience are rewarded. Tension filters all the way down into the yarn.
Oh, and practice, there's that...
Just curious. How often do you knit with your own homespun yarn?
Spinning taught me the most about spinning. Getting my hands on as many different fibres as possible, carding my own batts (and now combing my own top, seriously,who needs two sets of wool combs? Me apparently) and spinning on a variety of tools. Lovely batt btw.
Oh yeah. RED SHOES???
Deliberately trying to spin different kinds of yarns has helped. Laceweight, bulky, boucle. Also experimenting, again deliberately, with all the adjustables on my wheel. With the right settings I can spin in my default fashion but come up with different yarns.
ditto, Helen. Please put us out of our misery and let us know who made those wonderful red mary janes.
I was going through a seed catalog today and one flower's description included the fact that it would attract moths! I nearly dropped the catalog in shock. Butterflies, bees, hummingbirds--yes, I want to attract all of those but moths?! Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system and I knew that this was an audience that would understand. Thank you for listening.
Mostly practice, practice, practice. Trial and error. I've taken classes and read all the best books/blogs, but mostly it's just getting my wheel, fiber, head and hands to talk to one another and find out what can be done. I know what you mean about the barely-blended batts. Sometimes frustrating and always challenging, but rewarding in its own way. Lurve the colour.
My default yarn is about a DK weight. I have to concentrate on whatever I am spinning or it will automatically go back to that.
I love the colors of the yarn you're spinning!
Maybe I better fire up my wheel again...
Oy, those singles really look lovely. One thing I'm wondering - we see a lot of pictures of the yarn you spin, but I don't think you've ever talked about your wheel. What kind is it? Why did you choose that one? (If there's a post about that and I missed it, someone please point me and I'll withdraw the question. THX!)
Not a spinner here - I tried a drop spindle once & mostly dropped, not spindled. I'd like to try it again some time, but not until I've finished some other projects. I'm just commenting on the stuff you've got on your bobbin, if that's what it's called. It's just gorgeous & I'm looking forward to seeing it plied up.
Practicing. And teaching.
Interesting! I have a similar batt, if not so lovely, and I've been considering making it go away in the next fiber swap. However, you have a good point in that it could be good for my spinning if I persevere. Just what I need - an excuse to keep more fiber!
The thing that taught me the most about spinning was sitting down and knitting with the yarn I spun. The act of handling and knitting with my yarn taught me things I would never have guessed otherwise.
Taking master spinning classes(I only took 3 years of it) at Kingston, ON(also have them at Haliburton and other Canada places) taught me how to spin anything on any wheel, how to dye everything, and also, that Canada fiberwimmin are wonderful.
Hmm. Don't spin, never tried. Fiber crafts are so addictive, I'm afraid I'll be totally lost if I try spinning. Also, I don't think I'm going to live long enough to knit all the fiber I have, and spinning would take me away from that. Plus I'd have more fiber to knit that I won't have time to knit. There's also no room here for more crafty stuff. I'll just take pleasure in seeing what you produce, and dream a little. :)
I know absolutely nothing about spinning and carding (that sounds like a game). But I do know what I like and I like the fiber you are making. It looks great.
As a brand new spinner (drop spindle only), watching Abbey Franquemont on her videos seems to help me most. She radiates such calm, while for me it's just a challenge to move beyond parking and drafting. I often feel a sense of panic when too much is going on all at once.
Spinning has reminded me that practice makes perfect and you can't expect to spin perfectly after only a 3 hour class even when you have a fabulous teacher. (Thank you Denny)
Beautiful yarn Stephanie!
What a beautiful set of blues.
Spinning cotton was exceptionally informative, in a maddening way that was absolutely magical when my fingers, feet and tension-on-the-wheel finally aligned (albeit briefly) and I had control over the yarn. And watching Judith Mackenzie McCuin's DVD, as she demonstrated a)what a short forward draw was and b)what a difference small changes in tension can have.
Great wheel spinning. Because the fiber must be perfectly prepped for it to spin with any consistency.
When I go back to my treadle wheel I now do the same careful fiber prep out of habit and that makes a much nicer yarn no matter how I spin.
Spinning entire fleeces for sweaters helped me get better at spinning. I haven't taken a class. I have spinner friends to watch, and you and Jared Flood as inspirations! My default is Aran in Corriedale but I can get something as fine as thread spinning silk hankies all on a Kromski Minstrel. I'm not so hot at Merino.
Now I could sing about those blues! Just gorgeous beyond gorgeous....
2 things- practice and
learning and understanding how my wheel works to help me get the yarn I want from the fleece I have
Oh well- 3 things
using as little tension as possible on the brake and wheel bands.
You want the good kind of tension that holds things together not the bad kind that turns us and fleece into knots!
Wow, 'let go of perfection in order to get better', words to live by. Thank you.
The thing that taught me the most about spinning was just observing the characteristics of the fiber, and not trying to manipulate it into something it didn't want to be. And trying a huge variety of fibers at first...I hope that taught me not to get stuck and set in my ways. I found that it wasn't too late in life to take up a spinning obsession! Always love your Harlot handspun!!!
I've learned the most by making mistakes, and knitting with my handspun.
Okay so here I am in the apple store again, setting all the iPads to "reality". :-)
Judith Mackenzie, a weekend with her transformed my spinning.
I'm not a spinner, though the yarns you've been showing us are certainly tempting. The thing that has taught me the most about knitting, however, is lace. I know how to make my decreases do what I want them to, and I control my tension much better because of the difference between chunky and laceweight. And "trying" is a good word for the way things go sometimes, isn't it?
Love those colors, and aren't you clever!
I have learned that there is a learning curve for every fiber and to use patience when trying something new. I bought a batt similar to yours, oh there are other goodies there too, but it is going to challenge me as my default is very thin. I have been working on that, but just let your attention drift a little..Oh, I am making a lace shawl out of my own handspun that I dyed also. It's nice to go through that whole process.
Apparently, according to earlinegrimes @ 3:24, it's a business loan. Who knew!
The things that taught me the most was putting a small sample on an index card and attaching it to my wheel. It gives me a visual of what yarn I'm trying to spin (how thick, how much twist). And the second is by trying different fibers and different techniques. And the most important thing I've learned - practice makes better.
I've learned not to become interested in spinning - I would need to get another job to support my habit!!!
What helped me the most was spinning with the 'good stuff'. I had to work hard to resolve the feeling that I was wasting it by learning on it, but good fiber helps make good yarn.
To Diane (3:37pm)- really, truly, the majority of moth species have absolutely NO INTEREST in yarn of any kind. Any moths sipping nectar in your garden are planning to lay their eggs on outdoor plants (don't get me started on Cabbage Whites), and many garden plants attract gorgeous moths. Try planting afternoon/evening blooming plants, like moonflower (related to morning glories, but blooming late inthe day) and nicotiana sylvestris (wild tobacco, very fragrant!).
Just double-checked and, of the thousands upon thousands of moth species that exist, barely a handful have larvae that consume the fibres we treasure. Plant your garden happily, and enjoy the huge diversity of life-forms it provides for. Don't - oh, please don't! - build yourself a phobia.
Just had to share this: A church I help at is having a Spring Bazaar tomorrow. Since I'm there cooking and baking for tomorrow, I got 'first dibs' at most of the booths (we invited outside vendors to participate). My incredible score? Two 210 metre balls of 70/30 kid mohair & silk in palest grey lace-weight, and eight 145 metre balls Pingouin 100% alpaca, in a deep slate blue-grey. [Wait for it .....] 50 cents per ball!!!!!!! Now, neither one is a colour I would ordinarily wear, and I don't have much of a birthday/other gift list to knit for, but I was drooling over these the moment I spotted them. I'm open to suggestions as to pattern/purpose/whatever. What would you do with them?
Clothes moths are really the only ones you need to watch out for. All variations are small and look more or less the same - just google image it and you'll see. And it's not like you can bring them in from outside since they live in what they eat - dead protein, I.e.: wools, keratin, etc. things made from planet fibers hold no interest (bamboo, tencel, etc). Biggest thing you can do is put any protein fibers you are bringing into the house in a ziplock and then into the deep freezer for 1 month. This includes sweaters from Value Village!
Could you please arrange things so that we can be together at the moment when you 'let go of perfection'?
I would be set for entertainment for the REST OF MY LIFE.
I learned a lot about spinning while trying to match a commercial yarn. Not just sort-of-match, but exact match. Same twist in the singles, same twist in the ply, same fiber, same color -- it made me pay very, very close attention to my spinning. Sample, sample, sample and when I was about to throw the wheel out the window, I sat down and sampled some more. Now if I'd really wanted that exact yarn, I'd have bought it, but I was doing this as a challenge and it taught me a lot.
I think the thing that taught me the most about spinning was the Yak down that I spun from the cloud using long draw. It was a different prep from anything before and I'd only done a small amount of long draw. It's a less controlled type of spinning and normally I'm all about control on my wheel.
If these singles came from the batting shown in your previous entry, I'm not so wild about them as some other members of The Blog. They seem to be emphasizing the color changes in all the wrong ways.
I hope that spinning the singles together brings you back closer to the GAW-JUSS color of the original batt.
I think that I spin like you. My default yarns are spun in a semi-hypnotic state. But I do like them. I do knit with them. And I enjoy the timeout from thinking. Since most of my remaining braincells are spent in other ways, I don't mind sitting back and totally relaxing while I spin. I don't need another challenge in my life right now.
The yarn is truly beautiful! Love the colors. I'm still working with the default spin on merino so I have no idea how one manages different (less blended) wool. Good luck with that. I suspect you are plying. Can't wait to see what you have at the end.
After reading all the intricasies of spinning, I think I'll stick to my knitting
Your yarn is beautiful, even if it is difficult! I have wanted to get into spinning for a while but I don't have the time or the funds to learn a completely new skill. Maybe after I've tackled a bit more of the stash and life settles down a little bit. Do you recommend a good drop spindle for beginners?
Teaching. Teaching others how to spin has made me a better spinner because I have to tell them what I do and to do that I have to remember how to spin.
I have to remember basic techniques...which I don't always adhere to. I have to demonstrate how to hold the fiber so that it drafts easily..which I don't always do. I have to tredle at the right speed and adjust my tension...which I don't always do. Because I forget these things...I don't always get the yarn I want.
When you teach these things you have to do them and then you remember...AHHhhhh. I guess I should take my own advice...or teach me again how to spin.
carefull is the mother of the chinachest ah I mean the woolstash. Get well soon wishes to Sam.
Ah yes, default yarn...in these parts, it's two-ply wool, either from top or carded fleece, in light worsted to aran weights. I can work with different fiber and in different thicknesses, but those yarns require much more concentration to produce.
Glad to hear your stash toss hasn't turned up anything nasty! I've been doing one here (while moving some of the containers between rooms) and hope to finish it over the weekend. Aside from checking on the condition of all the yarn and fiber, I always seem to uncover something I really like and haven't thought about for a while -- bonus!
what spinning has taught me...
1-i have no clue how to magically turn big fluffy batts into pretty string.
2-i would like to watch someone make it happen
3-not sure if i believe i, myself could ever make it happen! :)
Absolutely beautiful! Those are exactly "my" colors. I don't spin, but if I did, that is what I would want to make.
Lots of practise has helped me too - joining in on the tour de fleece last year helped me improve a lot as I was doing lots of spinning. Getting hold of lots of different fibers prepared different ways helped too - I've had a few Phatfiber sample boxes which have lots of 1/4 oz samples of different yarn/fiber, so I can try lots of different things and see what I like.
Three things - practice, and taking classes from Judith MacKenzie, and then more practice. Judith truly helped me past my own version of default yarn & now I can make pretty much what I want, changing whorls & tension adjustments. But if you're dealing with a batt like yours, it's just gonna be that way. (It'll be gorgeous.)
Your spinning is beautiful.I've been doing a bunch of spinning too lately. I realized when I started giving lessons I hadn't done alot of spinning and it encouraged me to do a bit more.
I read your blog, mostly for the sarcasm, but today you really saved me. I was frantically googling around for how to pick up rows, and everything I found (youtube videos included) showed picking up from the cast-on row AFTER having tied off. I wanted to see an active example of first picking up the side, and then the cast on, as that is what I needed to do for the Dane shawl on Ravelry. Your blog post from June 24th, 2009 came up and I finally knew what I needed to do. Thank you!
P.s. nice spinning.
I'd love to see what you (or the recipient of the yarn) make from it. I find that yarn spun from "chunky" mixed batts like this is challenging to use (weird pooling and such), and I'd love to see some projects made from it! They are so pretty to see in batt & yarn form, but I tend to pass them by because I'm kind of a project gal (rather than a process one).
That looks just beautiful, loving the colours and I can't wait to see it plyed! I have the spinning bug at the moment too, I've put down knitting and crochet and all I want to do is make beautiful yarn!
The think I've learned about spinning that helped me is to stop aiming to spin perfect yarn, right now I'm spinning default yarn every time because if I start putting pressure on myself to get it perfect I go nuts and hate on my wheel! :OD However in saying that, seeing your beautiful single there makes me see what I'll hopefully be capable of in a few years time!
Have a happy day
Taking a drafting class at The Spinning Loft! I learned lots of methods and actually got to feel what they were SUPPOSED to feel like, with real supervision. That has made a big difference in my spinning. I feel like I now know the kind of spinning I need to do to get the yarn that I want. Although... I just spun a wacky batt and am not very happy with the yarn. :/ It had all kinds of weird stuff in it (like string) and I think it was just TOO unusual for me. I don't like knitting novelty yarn, so I guess it's no surprise that I didn't like MAKING novelty yarn!
The Spindoctor's Rare Breeds Challenge - you certainly can't spin Karakul the same way you spin Cormo, and a Manx Loughtan full of VM makes you try out those mini combs or give up altogether.
I have a default too!!
I can't seem to spin thicker or thinnner regardless. I too am a perfectionist,.. something about the knitting being so precise doesn't lend well to learning to spin. I want my spinning as perfect as my knitting. For that reason,.. I just can't stand batts or, at the very least, I need a VERY smooth well blended batt or,.. it just isn't happening. I envy the ladies that can throw all types of fiber at a wheel and go all Rumpelstiltskin on it and make something lovely but,.. no,not me! Trust me, I have tried and I found it to be a worse experience then having an annual female check. I feel all weird and wigged out worrying for hours that something just isn't right and doesn't look good. UGH!!
So yeah, pardon my need to sit in my comfort zone and spin a default but,.. hey, COLOR,.. now, that is my kryptonite. I can experiment will all kind of fiber COLORS spinning techniques. Meh,.. why change, just do what you love best!!
I have a default, too... but I usually use plying to make different yarns. The fiber that taught me the most was that damned ingeo. It's beautiful and soft and VERY VERY SLIPPERY when it wasn't sticky. I like the yarn I made with it, I especially liked plying it with some lovely black llama I had and making a pair of mittens... but it was a huge "learning experience" and took a lot of experiments to get something I was happy with.
I find that, after a little while, the batt tells me what it wants. It's not necessarily a default spinning method as much as what it is I like in a spinning fiber. I've spun different weights of singles, different styles, different thickness-- and I can plan a yarn and make the fiber STICK WITH THE PLAN mostly, but usually I let the fiber define what it is that it wants to be... I don't often spin for a particular project. Most often, I spin because I want to spin, not because I want to make a *thing*. (Which might explain why I most often use my hand-spun in weaving rather than knitting-- knitting usually requires more thought put into the yarn beforehand, while a woven scarf can be more irregular ).
I don't ever try for "perfect" when I'm spinning. If I wanted perfect, I'd buy machine-made. It should look *good* but perfect is for machines.
Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
Yes there is a default for sure! Mine is sports weight. I zone out one second and whammo! Back to the default. Spinning has taught me that all good things come to these who wait and are patient.
Someone asked for the story of your wheel; I second that request. In fact, I'd love to hear ALL about your spinning! What is your default yarn? Are you worsted or woolen? And details on your preferred/default technique! And what kind of fiber prep do you like best?
You can't say too much about spinning : D
Thanks, hope this finds you well, xoa
I would love to spin that. I'm not sure I'm quite to that level yet, but I can dream can't I?
Oooh, what a great idea! I'm having a ton of fun reading all these!
To those scared of starting to spin...it's awesome. No matter how anal you are (or not), there's something for you. There Just Ain't No One True Way, and that's part of the magic. You don't have to spindle, you don't have to wheel, you can start anywhere, any time, and still have fun.
Fact: Park and draft is not a sin. It's a great technique that teaches you LOADS about twist and the fiber and how what you do affects how it all comes together. I highly recommend it.
My first wheel taught me a lot--it had no treadle!--so the method was pretty much park and draft whether I liked it or not. Not to mention plying while lying on the floor, turning the wheel with my foot while using as much distance as I could to get the plying twist correct!
It rocked, and I still go back to that wheel (don't ask ME how I wound up with 9 or so of the darn things, most needing restoration LOL) when I have a fiber I'm having issues with.
I recently went to a workshop with Abby Franquemont--holy wow, is that woman GOOD! And funny, and encouraging, and inventive like I've never seen...and she shares it very well without driving you to screams (except the cotton. I don't talk about the cotton...I got it to stick together, and that was about all. Someday....maybe.)
She challenged us to consciously move out of the comfort zone, away from the default...and now I think I have a whole new default to love!
Two most important take homes? Leggo the perfectionist attitude until you NEED it, and don't worry about 'wasting' good fiber in practice. It's never wasted. :)
Oh, and HAVE FUN. Always. :)
Linen taught me most about how the longer fibres pull out at the beginning and leave you with the short very fine bits that then make a totally different yarn. And then you go back to a new clump of fibre...
I love the colors and the shine. It is very pretty, though not in the same way as the original batt you showed us.
Even after Denny's class, I don't really spin. I love the idea of spinning, but the reality is complicated by a dog who finds everything interesting and a cat that finds all fiber interesting.
2 ply. DK Weight. Occasionally light worsted if I try really really hard to make a thick bulky yarn. :-)
I've almost resignned myself that the only way for my hands to spin a heavier weight yarn (like, you know... worsted) will be to add more plies. But that just seems like too much work, so I just think of things I want to knit with my handspun that use DK. It's a very versatile weight...
You did a great job with the textures. Yes, it is different when it comes from smooth to not so smooth. Does keep you on your toes and really makes you a better spinner. Beautiful fiber and can't wait to see the yarn!!
Aside from actually learning to spin, working with different fibers has taught me a huge amount--not just about spinning but I now have a greater appreciation for what to use when and why that is so. Of course I'm also the one that prefers to hand wind my skeins into balls as I learn more about the yarn that way.
You inspired me into tossing my own spinning stash and replacing my non toxic sticky moth traps, which have LOTS of moths in them. Never sure whether to e happy they got caught or anxious that I have them! Thanks for the nudge...
I just taught an art yarn workshop on the weekend, which is quite a way to step out of your default yarn rut!!
Gorgeous yarn and gorgeous woven scarf. I was never that happy with my spinning. I spun about a sport weight yarn most of the time and I like thin yarn and wanted a fingering weight or lace weight yarn but just couldn't do it. Then last summer I took a class with Judith McCuin and as soon as I sat down in her class my spinning improved amazingly. I was suddenly able to spin really fine singles. It was like magic. It was my first (and only) spinning lesson as I was self-taught and so worth it.
And so the cry goes out in knitting households around the world (yet) again... "I know we don't have the space/time/money/unclad necks but Stephanie MADE me do it!"
Okay, Abby has been mentioned.
Her example and her book Respect the Spindle have taught me the most about spinning. Every time I start to read that book, I have to put it down and spin after a few minutes because it's so motivational. I still haven't finished the thing, but it has progressed my spinning.
She encourages a lack of complacence, which keeps me moving forward, trying things that aren't easy.
For example, I started spinning with a spindle with the opposite hands - switching out my fiber hand and spindle-flicking hand. That was crazy hard, but fun in the end because it meant I got to learn to spin all over again.
The thing that has taught me the most is actually a person WHO (note the appropriate grammar useage) and that person happens to be Jeannine Glaves. I have the pleasure of hanging with her often and depend on her to lend a hand when my my own go awry.
The thing that taught me the most about spinning was trying different preparations. In the end, I found I loved my own hand-carded rolags the best.
I've been knitting for about 3 years, am a devout addict and just discovered your blog courtesy of Creative Knitting mag. (Already have your books)Also just discovered knitting PODCASTS! Since I can't read and knit at the same time I hope that you will please please please consider doing audio podcasts of your blogs. Thanks, Abby