Tag Archives: spinning basics

Thoughts on BFL

28 May

I’ve now spun about 30 g of the 100 g of BFL wool I got as a birthday gift.

I was surprised and a little dismayed to notice that in a top like this, where the fibers are longer than in the Finnish sheep wool and combed nicely in the same direction, it’s actually easier for me to get more thick spots. I have to draw the fibers out on a far longer distance than I’d gotten used to.

I’m also curious about whether or not I am, in fact, doing this “wrong”. I saw someone post pictures of spinning in progress, and she’d obviously just started spinning from the end of the top. I’ve separated the top into three piles, splitting it along its length, and I also split each of those three more times to get to a point where there’s not too much fiber.

It’s also been easier to work with this fiber (as promised) – when I do get the wanted thickness to the single, that’s easier to maintain for longer stretches. That could also just be me getting better at this.  I also haven’t dropped the spindle even once this time because it’s far more difficult to get the single to break when the fibers are sooo long.

I’m also enjoying how clean and soft the fiber is. The single has a nice sheen to it, and it’s darker in color than the fiber in the top. If I’m not entirely mistaken, I think I’ll get a nice heathered effect in the finished yarn.

I haven’t decided whether or not to give my shoe box lazy-Kate another chance when plying this. I’d like to try the advice of spinning all the fiber and only plying it once it’s all done, but I’m not looking forward to Andean plying 100 g of singles.

The only problem with doing that is that since I only have one spindle, I’d have to roll the single I’ve finished around something else to wait while I spin the next single, and I’m worried about doing that. I keep thinking that when I then try to spin the two singles together, it won’t work. I can’t seem to get it through my head that no matter which end of the yarn you begin with, the twist will stay the same direction… I think. I get confused at this point, usually. But I think the magic is always just that you ply the singles together in the opposite direction you spun them in, and it doesn’t matter if you start from the beginning of single 1 and the end of single 2, or which ever way, they’ll ply together just fine. *frown*

I.. think that’s how it goes.

I could, of course, just roll each single around something, so I’ll then start plying from the beginning of each single… o.O I don’t know why I can’t brain this.

Also, I want to do three-ply – but I’m restraining that urge because of that whole “learn to walk before you run” thing.

I look forward to the time when I scroll back on my blog and can look at this entry and have a chuckle at my own expense 🙂


My New Super Hero Skill

15 May

Not only can I take yarn and turn it into fabric and real, useful and beautiful clothes, I can now with more and more proficiency take wool and turn it into  yarn! (Although someone else still has to take the sheep or similar and shear them and turn their fleece into prepared wool for me, but whatever. I’m sure I could figure out how to do it if civilization fell. Provided I could find friendly sheep or someone’s abandoned pet angora rabbit or maybe a long-haired dog.)

Here’s my first attempt in a year or two that I spun on Saturday. As you can see, I’m doing thick and thin and there’s not enough twist (?). I also tried to fashion a Lazy Kate out of a shoebox, and while it has worked for me before I just couldn’t figure any of it out now. Although my guess now is that I tried to turn the spindle in the same direction both while spinning and plying, and that’s… not how it works. Now I spin counterclockwise and ply clockwise, because it feels natural.

Then I found out about the importance of the weight of the spindle. Mine (made of a pencil with a hook on top stuck through a cardboard circle following the advice in this video) was 11 grams and apparently, for a beginner 50-70 grams is ok. Apparently the lightest commercially made ones are more like 30 g… Oops. Well that certainly explains a lot. I stuck on an eraser for added weight, and things got a lot easier. I also finally gave Andean plying a chance and oh, the joy! By the way, there are some really confusing explanations of Andean plying out there, and the one in Knitty I linked to is the best I could find… Suddenly, after 30 minutes of going “barooo?” it was very easy to do.

These changes resulted in this much better yarn that I spun on Sunday.

I looked online for real spindles in the weight category someone recommended for beginners and I found one, a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle (62,4 g). It works as both a top and bottom whorl. I also found out that Bluefaced Leicester wool is one of the easier fibers to learn on… So the boyfriend ordered the spindle and some BFL wool for me as my birthday present.

I don’t feel like spinning for long periods of time, but I still want to go back to it all the time. It’s a strange feeling.

I’m not sure why I have so much trouble finding basic information on spinning online, but I’m coming to the conclusion that my vocabulary is too small/I don’t use the words I know right, and I’ve confused the Great Google.

I finally found these useful tidbits of information by turning to my first language – surprise! Actually I think my vocabulary is even smaller in Finnish when it comes to spinning, but at least it’s slightly easier to learn the new words.

Now I’m just waiting for Mister or Miss postperson to bring me mah spindle and mah wool! I want  them right now *stomps foot*.

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