View Full Version : Roving Questions (newbie)

05-18-2009, 10:23 AM
I'm getting REALLY interested in spinning. Where do you get your roving? Does it come already dyed? Is it cheaper non-dyed? How does it compare price-wise to already spun yarn purchased at LYS? In other words, do you save nothing by spinning it yourself......do you do it anyway because you enjoy spinning?

I'm sure I'd enjoy spinning, but if I can't afford it any more than I can afford the LYS stuff, then it might not really be a feasible thing for me to get into.

Thanks to you spinners in advance for answering these questions. Anything else you can think of that you wish you knew as a newbie or before you got into spinning will be greatly appreciated! Spinning is the type of thing that most people get into without having any prior knowledge of it as most of us don't know others who do it, so I feel sort of lost here.

05-18-2009, 11:54 PM
First off, roving is a specific kind of fiber preparation. All spinning fiber isn't roving. You can also buy fiber in batts, tops and other forms. Leaving that aside for the moment, you can buy fiber in its natural color (for wool, that can mean anything from off-white to beige, dark brown and black.) You can also buy it dyed and (the most fun to spin with, IMHO, hand-painted in every imaginable color combination.

It's usually cheaper by the ounce than ready-made yarn (after all, you supply the labor) and you can spin a lot of yarn from a few ounces of wool or cotton. Having said that, if you really get the spinning bug, you can end up acquiring a huge stash. And if you start getting into luxury fibers like cashmere -- well, you can imagine. Silk and blends may also be less by the ounce than yarn.

The only equipment you really need to begin spinning is a good hand spindle (the word "good" is important), and you can get one of those for about $20. (You can also become a spindle junkie and spend a fortune on them; ask me how I know.) You do not need a wheel until you are sure you love spinning, and maybe not even then. Anything you can produce on a wheel you can produce on a spindle and some extra-fine yarns are better done on a spindle. You also need a book or two. There are excellent beginner spinning videos on YouTube. (Some of the best are by Abby Franquemont.)

Walmart sells packages of colored roving very cheaply. Don't buy it. It's made mostly for felting and isn't processed well enough for spinning. Some good online suppliers of fiber, spindles and other supplies are:
The people at these three resources are exceptionally nice about answering your questions and guiding you toward purchases that are good for beginners and won't break the budget.
Also check the Beginning Spinners group on Ravelry. Lots of questions, often answered by expert spinners.

05-19-2009, 09:53 AM
There are also plenty of fiber sellers on ebay or when you want to buy larger amounts of fiber (10 lb +), there are places that you can get natural and dyed fibers very reasonably.

check out interweave.com for fiber/spinning guilds around your area. Now is the time for Fiber Festivals too.
Ravelry is a great resource

05-19-2009, 11:00 AM
Thank you both, so much great info all at once!!!!!!!!! :muah:

I agree and appreciate the advice about getting a drop spindle first, I have thought of getting a drop spindle to start with but didn't know if it would be enough.

Question: How do I know what's a "GOOD" drop spindle? I've figured out (I think) that a bottom Whorl is best. Do you guys agree?

I had my eye on this kit, for example, on Etsy:Maine Maple Wood Drop Spindle Spinning Kit Biloxi Blues Available in Either Top or Bottom Whorl (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16402151)

All your advice is greatly appreciated. :hug:

05-19-2009, 06:54 PM
I just went to the Mainewoods site on etsy and it says they've been sold out of the spindle kit since last December!

However, the same company has been selling the same kit regularly on eBay for $16, and I think it's probably a good deal.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Maple-Drop-Spindle-Basic-Yarn-Spinning-Kit-fiber-wool_W0QQitemZ220415729962QQihZ012QQcategoryZ36602 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem My only concern -- and it's a slight one -- is that the spindle they are offering is 1.7 oz, which is suitable for making thicker yarns like worsted weight, but a bit heavy for making laceweight or fingering yarn. I'd vote for a beginner spindle weighing about 1.25 oz. You'll find more top whorls being offered because they've become very popular, but top and bottom are equally easy to learn on.
(My own preference is for very light top whorls (less than .5 oz), because it's easier to spin very fine yarn with them, which is what I enjoy most. But don't even think about that yet.)

BTW, Mainewoods also offers a kit on Ebay that has two spindles, one top and one bottom, plus the Biloxi Blue fiber, for $35.
Seems like a good way to get started.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Double-Spindle-Drop-Spindle-Spinning-Kit-Biloxi-Blues_W0QQitemZ350203499888QQihZ022QQcategoryZ3660 2QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

05-20-2009, 11:27 AM
Thanks! You have been SO much help! The insight about the spindle weight is invaluable, thanks! Because if I start doing spinning, I'll probably want to knit right away so some fingering sock weight type of yarn would be best :woot:

I had that spindle bookmarked as a fav on Etsy, thanks for letting me know about the eBay!

05-20-2009, 01:37 PM
I purchased that very kit to learn with!! I ordered it in March and she had plenty, was great to learn with. I ordered it on a monday and had it by wednesday! very fast! :)

Good luck and happy spinning

05-20-2009, 09:19 PM
thebellwether.com has a Learn to Spin Kit for $19.50 that includes a spindle, three kinds of fiber (including a silk blend) AND a good beginner's book, Spindling: the Basics, by Amelia Garripoli, who owns The Bellwether. Here's the link: http://www.thebellwether.biz/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=23

Amelia is terrific. Her blog, http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/ is a place where you can ask questions and get answers. So is her Ravelry group, Follow the Bellwether, another place for friendly interaction among spinners, new and experienced.

(A bellwether, by the way, is a sheep who is the leader of the flock.)