I have a lot of yarn.
I have so much of it that I’m not going to show you pictures of my stash because it’s borderline embarrassing (unless you’re a crafter…then you completely understand).
When I moved and discovered how much yarn I had, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy more until I used up a good portion of my stash. Though I’ve broken that promise a couple of times, I’ve also found a loophole. I wouldn’t buy yarn, I’d MAKE it! :-D
While in California I participated in a Stitch N Bitch group whose members knitted, crocheted, dyed yarn and spun yarn on wheels or spindles. Earlier this year I became very intrigued with drop spinning so one of the ladies let me borrow several of her spindles until I found one I liked. She gave me some instructions and helped where possible, but there were holes in her knowledge as well as her ability to pass along that which she did know.
Undeterred, I ordered the spindle just like hers – Tsunami from Golding. It was a bit pricey for something I was dabbling in, but whenever possible, I find it’s best to dabble with preferred tools. That way if I end up shelving the whole thing at least it was a decision based upon my skill, or lack thereof, instead of a less than favorable tool.
I spent the next couple months spinning a bit here and there but mostly admiring how nice the spindle looked sitting in the mason jar on my bookshelf with a little bit of gold yarn wrapped around it.
This whole time, fellow spinners at Stitch N Bitch were busy spinning on their wheels so my level of intrigue remained, albeit for drop spinning not wheel spinning. I’m all about portability…and I’m thrifty (really!). Wheels START in the $300’s and rapidly go up from there, and though many are considered portable, they’re not portable in the way I want (no tucking in a carry-on bag or briefcase when traveling).
Some Stitch N Bitchers went to a Fiber Festival where there was a woman conducting free drop spinning classes all day. I spent about an hour sitting with her and was nearly blinded by all the light bulbs going off in my head!! Everything was clicking and making sense — I was so excited!!!
The yarn on the left is my first attempt at spinning – the yarn on the right is what I spun after my lesson at the Fiber Festival.
Unfortunately, my newfound skill happened right before I moved to MA so my spinning was set aside but never really out of my mind. I was just too busy to give it the attention it deserved, and to be honest, I was a bit afraid that my skill had evaporated during the months of non-use.
I received a class catalog from Webs and found a 6-hour Beginning Drop Spinning class was offered on a Saturday. I was super excited and signed up immediately.
I walked into the class of 8 students confident that I would walk out a spinning machine, but the first couple of hours were spent talking about the process of drop spinning, various types of roving and the animals they come from, pre-drafting, over-spinning, under-spinning, plying, etc…a serious amount of information that had my head, well, spinning! :-(
Fortunately instructor Ashley Flagg was very knowledgeable and knew how to pass along what seemed like scraps of information that later all interconnected, at least for me. By the time lunch rolled around my confidence was back. Click here to watch Ashley in action and see how drop spinning should be done.
We were able to spin for about an hour-and-a-half that afternoon before we plied our spinning into a 2-ply yarn, wrapped it into a skein using a niddy noddy and tied it off. I left the class with 10-1/2 yards of spun, plied yarn, which meant I had spun 21 yards. It’s not great, pretty icky actually, but on the other hand, people pay a lot of money for yarn that constantly varies in thickness. ;-)
I didn’t spin again until nearly a week later. The day after class my arm was sore from being up in the air for that hour-and-a-half of spinning, then the next three days were long work days. The fourth day was too, but it was the start of my weekend and I was energized, so Thursday night I picked up my spindle and off I went. The same for Friday and Sunday.
How busy was I? Take a look!
I will spin the rest of the roving in that ball on the left then ply the yarn, wrap it into a skein on my niddy noddy, set it in a mix of hot water and Eucalan, then let it dry. While it’s drying I’m going to search for knitted hat or headband patterns that I like that match the yardage of yarn that I have. I’ll need several because until the yarn is dry and I try knitting with it and know my gauge, I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make.
What I do know is that I need to actually make something with this yarn no matter how inconsistent it is so that I can complete the cycle and increase my knowledge based upon experience. I’m sure the yarn will have problems, but I won’t understand those problems until I (try to) use it.
Besides, it will be really cool to tell people that not only did I knit the hat (or headband), but I spun the yarn too!
Yep…I’m addicted ;-)