View Full Version : can you suggest best ways to get started spinning?

10-14-2007, 12:35 AM
i've been very interested in spinning for a few years now, and now that i have a little more time on my hands and a little more knitting under my belt, i want to more then ever.

i own a drop spindle and fibers, but i can't seem to figure out how the heck to get this to work, and there are no classes in my area.
i've tried watching videos, etc, but no luck.
how do you learn how to do this craft? where do you go to find lessons (drop spindle or wheel)? how do you find local guilds? i just don't know that spinning has taken off in my area at all, and i haven' been able to find anyone to teach me. i really would love to get a wheel (yes, i can see myself enjoying that to the fullest) but i'm weary of getting it and not having a way to learn it...
i am drooling on the ashford kiwi...i doubt i'll get it anytime soon, but dream a dream. has anyone spun one of these before? how do you like it?
any suggestions/links/advice would be GREATLY appreciated! thanks!

10-14-2007, 05:23 AM
Meghan, just keep trying, and one day it will just click. Read as much as you can from library books and on the net how to spin, watch as many videos as you can, and just keep trying! I know it is so frustrating when you can't do it, but you WILL be able to in time! I am a beginner myself and I was very very frustrated, just keot trying day after day and then it clicked and suddenly I could spin. My son and daughter have each had the same experience.

Can you describe exactly what you are doing when you spin? Maybe someone here can help if you do that. Are you preparing the fibre correctly? That makes a huge difference. Can you first try spinning with your fingers, ie twisting and drafting the wool into yarn?

10-14-2007, 10:39 AM
i guess i thought i could just pick it up and spin. so i have no idea how to do it at all. i'm very much a watcher to learn. it's hard with video because i can't see everything they are doing at the same time. most only have close up shots of what's they're talking about right then. so i have no idea how to prepare fiber, what each hand it doing, etc.
any suggestions for books or videos online that i can watch/read? that will help immensely! any suggestion for what fiber to start with? my spindle came with 4 different kinds of stuff. i guess i'm just nervous about pulling the hair too far apart.
i have a trip this week for work, and i thought i'd throw my drop spindle in the suitcase and see what happens. any suggestions would be great!

10-14-2007, 04:05 PM
I am a brand new drop spindle spinner myself, but like others have said - it's starting to click. Keep watching videos. Read everything you can. Find spinner forums and read what mistakes others are making. Ask lots of questions and keep working at it.

10-14-2007, 08:30 PM
Hi meghan, here are two helpful websites with videos:


There are also a few good videos on youtube


There are alot of great websites and blogs out there too, to start you off, you might want to check out:
which is a spinning zine with good beginners tutorials

and http://www.interweave.com/spin
Which is the Spin Off magazine website. Spin off is a magazine devoted entirely to handspinning, and they recently have been posting the instructional articles from each issue online.

Just remember that there's no right way, just the way that works best for you, so if you run across different, even conflicting instructions, try all of them and use the one that suits you best.

The best fiber to learn on is a medium grade wool, not too fine but not too coarse. Some examples off the top of my head are: corriedale, cormo, bfl, romney(though romney can be on the coarser side). However, that's not to say that you can't learn with other fibers: anything that can be spun can technically be learned on if you have the patience to keep at it.

You also might want to try out park and draft spinning first. In park and draft spinning you spin the spindle, hold it so it doesn't unspin, draft out a bit of yarn, wind it on and repeat. Once you feel comfortable doing that, then you could then try drafting while the spindle is spinning.

10-14-2007, 08:43 PM
The best fiber to learn on is a medium grade wool, not too fine but not too coarse. Some examples off the top of my head are: corriedale, cormo, bfl, romney(though romney can be on the coarser side). However, that's not to say that you can't learn with other fibers: anything that can be spun can technically be learned on if you have the patience to keep at it.
I didn't think to mention before my brief experience with fiber. When I bought my spindle at the local (?) yarn and spinning store, I purchased some fiber that I just couldn't make a decent yarn with. I kept working with it and made some really ugly yarn. I mean ugly - and coarse feeling. Yuck! I ordered some merino top ( http://www.paradisefibers.net/Merino-Top-Spinning-Fiber-p/2140.htm ) and gave it a try and I love it. Even though the yarn I've made with it is very uneven (art yarn :mrgreen:), I had much greater success and will be ordering more soon. My yarn from it was very, very soft. I dyed it yesterday and am now looking for a pattern to use it with.

Good luck!

10-14-2007, 11:15 PM
such wonderful links and advice!
well, i watched a couple videos, and i had no idea you had to do anything more to batting....so that will help! :teehee:
i had bought a drop spindle kit that came with rovings (of different types) and a joy of spinning book. so while i'm away from home this week for work (firs time since ds was born...:pout:), and have my evenings free, i'm going to read and try my hand at spinning. hopefully it will click this weekend.
dh is actually toying with the idea of getting me a wheel for chirstmas/birthday...any suggestions for a good inexpensive beginner model? i was looking at a ashford kiwi.

10-15-2007, 02:46 PM
My first wheel was the Ashford Traveller, double treadle, double drive. I love, love, love it. Even though I've added other wheels, I still spin primarily on the Traveller.

Louet owners absolutely treasure them.

The wheel I would stay away from as a new spinner is the Kromskie Polonaise. Beautiful wheel but there are so many minor adjustments to that wheel.

Just remember - there is no ONE way to spin. There are only 3 steps to spinningn (regardless if you have a wheel, spindle or a stick)

1) drafting your fiber to desired thinness/thickness

2) Putting a twist into that draft

3) winding it on to the spindle.

I fully recommend the park and draft for learning how to spindle.

10-16-2007, 09:50 PM
Hi Meghan,

Here is another good website I found on spindle spinning. I tried it a bit when I first found the website last spring, and I was starting to get it, but I just haven't had the time to try again.

Anyway....here it is...


10-21-2007, 11:36 PM
I first used corriedale and romney and they were both alright for me to learn with, but the easiest I've tried so far was shetland. Of course, that might have been because I had done the others first, but it just felt better. Try some different fibers and see if any of them click.