Spinning Thoughts – and a CONTEST!

I know what I used to think of it. “No time for that.  Barely enough time to knit, so definitely no time to add spinning in to my life.” My, how things change. :-) I went on a little knitting weekend last fall with four really great pushers enablers spinners who were determined to get Janice and I spinning by the end of the weekend.  That’s pretty much all it took, and now I’m hooked. (I did do another post, telling them just what I thought of their attempt to sneak spinning into my life.)  I was right, though. I don’t have enough time for knitting and now I don’t have enough time for spinning, but oh well.  It just means that there is always something relaxing to do! And honestly – aren’t there some days/nights where your eyes are too tired to pay attention or your brain is too tired to concentrate on knitting? No?  Hmm.  Maybe it’s just me. But there are some times when sitting and spinning is just the perfect activity.  Of course once you get the hang of it, then you see some roving and can’t wait to see “how that spins up”.  It is definitely an occupational hazard to have all of this pretty roving on the shelves at Loopy, because I see a lot that I would like to try out.  I have these two all balled up and ready to knit into something. I’m not sure what.  Any ideas?  The top cake is some Tempted Roving, and the bottom cake is Creatively Dyed.  I have no idea how many yards of each are in there.  I ought to pay attention to those things.

Here’s a skein of Lorna’s Laces that I finished up over the weekend. I love how it turned out. I have about decided that I should be spinning more than 4 oz. of a colorway because it gives you so many more knitting options. I was also thinking that when you buy roving, you really extend the entertainment value of your dollar. You get several hours of spinning before you even spend several hours knitting it up. You can’t beat that. (See how my brain works in justifying these things?)

So I have some questions for you spinners and non-spinners.  Answer one of the questions (or as many as you’d like) in your comment post by September 12th and we’ll randomly draw a winner for a Loopy Ewe Gift Certificate! Here are the questions you can choose from:

1.  Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin?  If not, what has held you back?
2.  If you’re a spinner, did you learn on a drop spindle first? And do you recommend that to beginners before moving to a wheel? (Note – we have drop spindles going up on the website next week and more on the way.  Note #2 – I was a dismal failure on drop spindles, but I know there are a lot of you who like them.)
3.  Spinners – do you like spinning 4 oz. braids, or do you generally like to spin up more of a certain colorway? (Do you have in mind what you will knit with it before you spin it?)
4.  What are some things that you have made from your handspun (or handspun that you have purchased)?

Thanks for participating in the contest.  As a newbie spinner, I am looking forward to your thoughts on all of this!

Sheri it’sacloudydaytodayandit’sgoingtoraintherestoftheweek.Yay!(Iknow,I’mweird.)


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476 comments on “Spinning Thoughts – and a CONTEST!

  1. 1. Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin? If not, what has held you back?

    Yes. Oh, all the enabling bloggers such as Wendyknits, Yarnharlot, etc.

    2. If you’re a spinner, did you learn on a drop spindle first? And do you recommend that to beginners before moving to a wheel? (Note – we have drop spindles going up on the website next week and more on the way. Note #2 – I was a dismal failure on drop spindles, but I know there are a lot of you who like them.)

    Yes but I did it for all of 2 days before committing to a wheel. I did “ok” with it, but it hurt my hand and I disliked it. I actually think it’s harder to learn with a drop spindle than on a wheel because you have to coordinate more all at once, so when I teach someone, if they’re having trouble with a spindle, I put them on a wheel and that usually goes better.

    3. Spinners – do you like spinning 4 oz. braids, or do you generally like to spin up more of a certain colorway? (Do you have in mind what you will knit with it before you spin it?)

    Depends what I’m wanting to make. Superwash rovings aren’t my fave as I find them difficult to spin easily (merino in general is not one of my preferred roving wools…I prefer longer-staple wools such as BFL or Cormo, etc.) If I want to make sock yarn, then a 4oz bit is fine. If I want to make something else, I usually want at least 8oz.

    4. What are some things that you have made from your handspun (or handspun that you have purchased)?

    EZ Baby Surprise Jacket, Calorimetry, Fetching mitts.

  2. Are you a spinner? If not, what has held you back?
    1. Time, money, time, money. I love to knit sew, read and travel but I often am drawn to all this talk about spinning. I think it would be a great thing to do and maybe someday…. when I have more time and money…… it would take away time from knitting and I wouldn’t be able to buy as much yarn because I bought a wheel and should buy roving and spin my own. Hmmmm, maybe I should just try a drop spindle???

  3. 1. I’m a soon-to-be spinner (probably). I ordered a drop spindle, instruction book and some roving last week to see if I like it, and am just waiting for the postman to come calling. I’m interested because I’ve seen people using drop spindles and it looks like loads of fun. Plus, handspun is soooooo pretty!

  4. I am hoping to be a spinner soon. I ordered a drop spindle kit a little while back and will try that first. Then I went to an alpaca farm in Michigan while on vacation and bought a small amount of roving because I could not resist the fluff of it. My real desire is to get a wheel for my fiftieth birthday in January. And like you, I am already pressed for time, so whjat am I thinking?! But it just seems so appealing to spin the yarn and then make something from it.

  5. 1. Yes, I am a spinner. About, maybe 10 years now? I don’t really remember why I learned to spin. Maybe it was because I purchased three bred Shetland ewes. Or maybe I bought the ewes because I was learning to spin. I honestly can’t remember. Kind of a “chicken and the egg” thing!

    2. I learned on a wheel – my aunt had an Ashford Traveler and wasn’t thrilled with spinning, so she loaned me hers and I just taught myself with some Nasco roving. I do sometimes spin on a drop spindle, but am better on the wheel, so prefer that.

    3. If the color catches my eye, I will spin any amount that is available! I very rarely have a project in mind. I love some of the 4 ounce rovings available, but also buy larger amounts on occasion, if it is available.

    4. First, I made a scarf for my husband, because he bugged me for years about all the yarn I was making (I didn’t knit when I started spinning, but have learned since!). The scarf was from home-grown, handspun yarn, so very rewarding. I have also made socks from home-grown, handspun Coopworth.

  6. 1. I learned to spin, because I kept reading about how fun it was and it’s repetitive motion appealed to me.
    2. I learned to spin with a drop spindle. One it was cheaper to try that going out and getting a wheel (that way I had a small investment in case I did not like it,) and two it was easy for me to take with me to practice a little each day at lunch. You also learn drafting, even thought on the wheel it is a little different. For these reasons, I would recomend starting with a drop spindle.
    3. I beleive that many spinner are spinning to make yarn for a scarf or socks, so the 4 oz braids are fine. However, sometimes you want to make a sweater, or another garmet that requires more fiber, or longer colorways, so that is also nice to have. Also, I like to spin single colorways and sometimes that is hard to find.
    4. I have made mittens, socks, scarfs, hats, and combined multiple skeins to make a baby blanket.

  7. Hi Sheri,
    I used a drop spindle and then purchased a wheel. I have not taken the wheel out of it travelling case. I am scared. I am going to use the drop spindle again, get thru Hat Attack 2 and then break it out of the case.

  8. 1. I was a knitter first but took up spinning in the early 90s. Subliminal messages from spinner friends who were determined to suck me in did it! Oddly enough my dad was in the wool business (ran a combing mill) so all the terms were very familiar to me.
    2. My first efforts at spindling were abysmal. I got a wheel, took some lessons and went to town. Now I love spindles and use them a lot. Experience tells me the first spindle I had was not good to learn on. If someone had shown me the “park and draft” method, I’d probably have done better. I do encourage my students to learn on a spindle first, but I don’t insist on it.
    3. The braids are pretty and neat but sometimes are slightly felted. My preference is for bumps or loose roving/top. Unless the fiber is extremely expensive or I haven’t used it before, I generally buy at least 8 oz but that can vary wildly.
    4. Sometimes I spin for a project, sometimes just for fun. Items made – knitted lace shawls, triangle-woven shawls, vests, sweaters, socks (lots!), hats, mittens, scarves, slippers, shrugs, wrist distaffs, hatbands, you name it!

  9. i am exclusively a spindle spinner – mostly because I know I will never spin enough to make an investment in a wheel worthwhile, and also, I really only spin when I’m too brain-dead to knit, so I like using a spindle because it is small and simple and easy for a fried brain to deal with. :)

  10. 1. Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin? If not, what has held you back?

    I do not think I have even spun enough to qualify as a new spinner. I was able to pickup a tiny Babe wheel from one of my friends over at the LnV boards, and though I tried it very hard the first time I got it, I still think I need to be properly taught.

    I drove for 4 hours there/3 hours back .. total 7 hours to get some basic instruction from some spinners in the northern part of my state, but was soon forgotten.

    Unfortunately, here in Florida, there are no big festivals for spinners. To find roving, supplies, and wheels, you have to travel ridiculous distances and local shops don’t carry then.

    Though there is light on the horizon. Fiber-In, a gathering of spinning, knitters, crocheters, and weavers has an annual Florida get together.. actually in two weeks.. Sept 19-21 in Cocoa Beach to have demos and vendors to support local artisans like us! Whoo Hoo!

    I am so looking forward to bringing my Babe, fiber and talking and learning from others.

    I shall become a spinner!!!

    ~Wierdlings

  11. 1. No I’m not a spinner. I am curious about spinning though. I have only seen a few people ever actually spin though. Where do you go to learn? Are there workshops to learn how to spin?

  12. 1. I am TRYING to be a spinner. My WH bought me a wheel (ashford) when we were just dating close to 30 years ago! I spun a little, was just getting the hang of it and then my wonderful nephew, then 3, came by and completely tangled up the whole wheel and spun yarn. Lost interest for a while…BUT

    Just this summer went to the Maine Fiber Frolic and took a drop spindle class. I need to find some time to practice and I think I need to tune up my wheel and then I’ll be on the spinning road again!!

  13. 2. I bought my wheel first and was having a difficult time, being the perfectionist I am, moving my hands fast enough/peddling slowly. I took a two day class and she taught Spindle spinning first. I took to that easily and quickly, then found that my wheel spinning became easier and more enjoyable as well. For me, they each have the time and place. Spindling is so relaxing, and up close if I do it sitting down. Wheel spinning for me is all about quantity and speed.

    3. I usually buy at least 8oz of the same fiber because, since I two ply, I feel I have enough to make something more than a scarf.

  14. I like to spin at least 4 oz, an preferably 8 oz.. For the exact reasons you gave Sheri – more options with the finished product!

    I first bought a spinning wheel, then couldn’t get it to go, so put it away in the basement for a bit, and decided to go with a drop spindle. After I’d been dropspindling for a couple of years, decided to give the wheel another go, since it took sooo long on a spindle. I’m more into the instant gratification thing.

    Now, I’m a dealer for the Mach 1! Which I think is the best wheel ever!

  15. 1. Yes, I am a spinner. I love the way that spinning releaves the stress in my life. It’s relaxing and fun.

    2. I did learn on a drop-spindle first. I tried on my own and then took a private lesson. My first little skein of navaho plied yarn became a scarf for my teddy bear that I had as a child. It wasn’t very big. I got a wheel recently. I love my Louet S10. I used a little bit of barter with my friend. She wanted a felted bag and a couple of lessons for her daughter. I wanted a wheel. I think I got the better of this. I have had some success with my wheel. It’s quicker than the spindles, and this sometimes bothers me. I am also much more consistant with a spindle.

    3. I like at least 4 oz braids, but then I think that more is better. I have a goal of spinning yarn for socks. I don’t usually have any clue what I am going to make out of the yarn I spin. There is that goal of mine someday.

    4. I have made a couple of hats and a scarf for my bear out of my own handspun.

    This is a great contest.

  16. Hi Sheri and Everybody!! I love this thread!!!
    I hope I can find time to read it all..
    Okay, here’s my answers:
    !. I am a spinner. I learned how to knit first, then I realized that lots o people here on Ravelry MADE their own yarn, and then projects( check out alphamango on there), and I thought, that’s what I want to do, decide & make the yarn, then make something with it!!
    2.)I was a huge Etsy-ite then, I found Sanguine Gryphon on Etsy, and she had lovely yarns AND rovings!! this was before Sheri found her!! I wanted to spin, and she asked if she could put together a ‘kit’ for me, some roving, a booklet, and a spindle. So, I checked it out. I too sucked at the drop spindle, but loved the idea of spinning, so I sought out spinners in my hood here in San Diego. So, I instantlly found a lovely lady Cheryl who met me with her Lendrum DT and with our little girls running around, she tried to teach me, it was too crazy, but I was hooked!! I searched and searched, found a lady Jeri offering a class at a shop and you didn’t need a wheel. I wanted to try it first before the investment came, I loved IT, and finally found a wheel on Ravelry for sale used!! ( by the way, I still meet up with these ladies and we still spin together)
    3.) I TRY to imagine WHAT I am going to use the roving for before I buy it…is it sock yarn, lace yarn, or going to be a sweater/scarf/ or other garment…then I try to estimate how much I may need, so I can buy enough for that project…If I know I am going to shoot for a worsted sweater i may buy 3-4 braids, just b/c it is hard for dye lots to match up later:) I am now onto buying, cleaning, and combing my own fleeces, and that has added to the time factor, but also weirdly enough, my enjoyment of the craft. To know I began at the beginning- since i can’t have the sheep myself, which if I could I would!! I want to learn to dye some wool now too. That way I can do great things like alphamango on Ravelry and it will be 100% mine- the yarn, color, design, etc….the WHOLE sheebang!! From the ground up!! I am hoping to have some made from scratch Xmas presents and really wow people, that I made the yarn too!!!
    I love my wheel, she is a dear friend to me, who takes me away when I need it. Thanks for asking such great questions Sheri!! I also have made lots friends through spinning classes, and meets and activities like sheep shearings!! Very interesting, and people think I’m even weirder than before:P juli

  17. I recently purchased a used louet drop spindle from a ravelry member in hope of learning drafting for a leg up when I’m able to afford a wheel for spinning. I’ve had the spindle for two weeks now and I haven’t touched it; my internal evil perfectionist has me slightly terrified of ruining the beautiful roving a friend gifted me to learn with. I really must stop being silly as I want to learn to spin so very much!

  18. I’m not a spinner, and I don’t think that I will become a spinner for at least a few years. I have only been knitting for about a year and a half; there are still tons of techniques that I want to master and projects (lace and sweaters) in my queue. I’m also leery of a long learning curve. When I started knitting I could rip out the ugly parts, but I think that since early spinning attempts usually out awful I might think of it as a waste of time and money. Yes, I am somewhat of a perfectionist.

  19. Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin? If not, what has held you back?
    Not a spinner yet but I have a drop spindle I’m going to learn on. Two of my friends use them and they make lovely yarn so I thought I’d try it myself. I’m hoping to get to that “project” in January 09 when I finally have a bit of free time after the Christmas present (gak!) knitting

  20. 1. yes i’m indeedy a spinner. curiousity took the best of me AND THEN and INCREDIBLY generous coworker loaned me her wheel. i plyed for the first time and was HOOKED
    2. If you’re a spinner, did you learn on a drop spindle first? And do you recommend that to beginners before moving to a wheel? i didn’t really feel the spindle love. i think it was because i was too excited about the wheel. i can see how they’re beneficial though
    3. Spinners – do you like spinning 4 oz. braids, or do you generally like to spin up more of a certain colorway? (Do you have in mind what you will knit with it before you spin it?) i like four oz braids but often include more in an order for the “just in case factor”
    4. What are some things that you have made from your handspun (or handspun that you have purchased)? i haven’t made anything YET but i’m making a shawl for the incredibly kind lady that loaned me her wheel. :-)

  21. 1. Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin? If not, what has held you back? I am a spinner and learned after watching friends spin. It looked so relaxing and I loved the texture and color of fiber.

    2. If you’re a spinner, did you learn on a drop spindle first? And do you recommend that to beginners before moving to a wheel? I did not learn on a drop spindle first. I tried to learn how to use one this summer and got very frustrated. I would only recommend the spindle to beginners if they want to learn to spin that way first because I was frustrated by having to keep making the spindle move and draft at the same time. A spinning wheel is MUCH easier to learn, in my opinion.

    3. Spinners – do you like spinning 4 oz. braids, or do you generally like to spin up more of a certain colorway? (Do you have in mind what you will knit with it before you spin it?) I like to buy more than 4 oz at a time. I don’t have something in mind before I spin the fiber.

  22. Hello, Sheri.

    1. I’m a spinster!!
    I had to learn to spin because my husband came home with 2 Angoras and 2 gelded Alpacas :) I hate to waste…

    2. I drop spindled first, and it did ease the transition to wheel spinning. I still have the CD spindle, and an Ashford Student Spindle and Ashford Top Whorl. People are still dazzled when I drop spindle.

    3. I generally make 4 oz balls & braids, although I agree that when you see your beautifully finished handspun it makes you want to kick yourself for not buying/dying more.

  23. Unfortunately I’m not a spinner (at least not yet) because I too don’t have enough time to knit as much as I would like to. Spinning does sound wonderfully tempting though!

  24. 1. Are you a spinner? If so, what prompted you to learn to spin? If not, what has held you back? Oh yes I am. A 7th grade teacher of World History brought in her spinning wheel one day, to show another class. She was nice enough during her lunch break to show me, and I was hooked. I got a spindle for x0mas that year, and haven’t stopped yet. Now I have a wheel too.

    2. If you’re a spinner, did you learn on a drop spindle first? And do you recommend that to beginners before moving to a wheel? (Note – we have drop spindles going up on the website next week and more on the way. Note #2 – I was a dismal failure on drop spindles, but I know there are a lot of you who like them.)
    I did, and would recommend one at first, to learn the hassles of drafting with that first. it’s easier on a wheel though.

    3. Spinners – do you like spinning 4 oz. braids, or do you generally like to spin up more of a certain colorway? (Do you have in mind what you will knit with it before you spin it?) I spin whatever I have around. 4 oz can be fun, but sometimes I blend a braid with something else, as another ply

    4. What are some things that you have made from your handspun (or handspun that you have purchased)? Scarves, shawls, baby sweaters for my son. Stuffed critters

  25. I would like to spin on a spindolyn anyone use this if you have how do you like it.can you use wool with it ? love to here feedback from people who have used the spindolyn. it looks good for a beginer .how much yarn does it give you ?

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