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Old 01-07-2008, 02:15 PM   #1
mooshie
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newbie spinner - intimidated
I really think I want to try hand spinning and then dyeing and knitting my own yarn. I mean, how cool would it be to be able to tell ppl that my sweater, socks, hat, gloved (or whatever) came to my house as a bag of fluff (they'd never know what roving or top means)!? it just sounds so cool! but I'm very intimidated by the thought. I mean I litterally want to turn a bag of fluff into a sweater, or whatever. so while I know DH isn't totally sold on the idea yet (he'll come around) I'm not sure I can do it either. but I WANT to. lol so I think I'd be much less intimidated if I had a few questions answered by people who know what they're doing first.

1. I've seen home made drop spindles online. seeing as how it would save on the cost to get started if I made my own (which is deffinatley what Dh wants) is it reasonable to expect to get a decent final product with a home made drop spindle?

2. I would like to eventually spin everything from fingering weight to worsted. is it realistic to expect to ever be able to spin fingering weight yarn on a drop spindle?

3. if I spin some yarn, and I decide the plys are too thick can I re-spin (or spin it more, or whatever) the plys (b-4 plying them) to get a thinner ply? or am I stuck with whatever comes out the first time?

4. when shopping for fibers how do I know if the final yarn will be felt-able or not? washable or not? I'm sure I'd like to spin some yarn that is machine washable as well. are there key words to look for when shopping around that will tell me if the fibers will be machine or hand washable once spun? or is it in the spinning that makes it washable or not? how will I know? (see I told you I'm intimidated)

5. are there types of fibers to stay away from? fibers that give a yucky or course yarn? things that make it hard to spin? basically I want nice soft yarn, are there things that would prevent this end product that I should stay away from?

6. what's the difference between top and roving? is one easier or better than the other?

7. how much yarn would I get per pound of fiber if I'm spinning worsted weight yarn approximately? I need to figure out how much to order my first time.

thanks!
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:42 PM   #2
sea-kayaker
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I can't answer your questions because I'm new to spinning as well. But I can comment on my personal experience with homemade drop spindle vs a purchased spindle. I started with a spindle made from a pencil, a cardboard circle for the whorl and a cup hook screwed into the eraser. It worked somewhat. The whorl wasn't heavy enough and didn't spin long. Then DH made me one from a dowel and a circle of wood cut with a hole saw (make a hole in a door for a knob) and a cup hook. This spindle worked so much better! It spun longer than the pencil but still not as long as I've seen in videos. I longed for a bought one to see what the difference was. Well, last Wednesday I ordered a Golding spindle and received it on Thursday (that was quick!) and I will never look at Dh's spindle again. My toddler can play will it. The golding spins forever and my singles are much more consistent and thinner than I could make on the homemade one. I guess the whole point to my post is this... Even though Dh's woodworking skills just weren't good enough to make a balanced or light enough spindle for the yarn I wanted to make, his skills were good enough to see if I liked spindling before spending a lot on money on this new addictive hobby.

Just jump in a do it. You can get spindles for as little as $10-20. It is a lot of fun and you can do it anywhere. Good Luck!
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:49 AM   #3
mullerslanefarm
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Originally Posted by mooshie View Post
I mean, how cool would it be to be able to tell ppl that my sweater, socks, hat, gloved (or whatever) came to my house as a bag of fluff (they'd never know what roving or top means)!? it just sounds so cool!
It IS very cool and very rewarding!
Quote:
but I'm very intimidated by the thought.
Break it down into steps.
Quote:
1. I've seen home made drop spindles online. seeing as how it would save on the cost to get started if I made my own (which is deffinatley what Dh wants) is it reasonable to expect to get a decent final product with a home made drop spindle?
Very reasonable and you don't have to spend a lot of money. There are instructions all over the web on how to contruct a drop spindle. The one using CD's works well.
Quote:
2. I would like to eventually spin everything from fingering weight to worsted. is it realistic to expect to ever be able to spin fingering weight yarn on a drop spindle?
Yes, you would have to have the correct fiber and the correct weight of a spindle. too heavy of a spindle and your yarn will break.
Quote:
3. if I spin some yarn, and I decide the plys are too thick can I re-spin (or spin it more, or whatever) the plys (b-4 plying them) to get a thinner ply? or am I stuck with whatever comes out the first time?
It is difficult to do. To avoid this, be sure your roving is pre-drafted well. The better your fiber prep, the better and more consistant your yarn.
Quote:
4. when shopping for fibers how do I know if the final yarn will be felt-able or not? washable or not? I'm sure I'd like to spin some yarn that is machine washable as well. are there key words to look for when shopping around that will tell me if the fibers will be machine or hand washable once spun? or is it in the spinning that makes it washable or not? how will I know? (see I told you I'm intimidated)
An excellent resource about the various wools out there is In Sheep's Clothing: A Handspinner's Guide to Wool by Nola Fournier and Jane Fournier. Briefly, down wools usually felt easily, wool from meat breeds usually do not.
Quote:
5. are there types of fibers to stay away from? fibers that give a yucky or course yarn? things that make it hard to spin? basically I want nice soft yarn, are there things that would prevent this end product that I should stay away from?
Fiber prep, fiber prep, fiber prep will make a nice yarn. Again, the various fiber animal breeds will produce various types of yarns, even within a breed or in a single sheep, there can be a variances in the fleece.

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6. what's the difference between top and roving? is one easier or better than the other?
Both are good. There are also batts, clouds and raw!

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7. how much yarn would I get per pound of fiber if I'm spinning worsted weight yarn approximately? I need to figure out how much to order my first time.
For starting out, I would recommend getting about 4 oz of various fibers. When you've tried a number of different fibers, you can start getting larger lots.
I like corriedale - easy for beginners to spin, but makes wonderful 'next-to-the-skin-soft' yarn

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thanks!
you're welcome!
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:14 PM   #4
Ben's Brae
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Glad to hear you want to have a go,but be warned its very addictive and you may find yourself staring over fences at sheep you've never even noticed were there before. I got started just as your doing and yes its intimadating, so many questions,so many choices, lets see if I can help.
Q1 Your home made drop spindle should be just as good as any bought one, never diss DH, just give him a little more information.The making of a good drop spindle is easy if you know how it works, everything depends on the distance from the botom of the shaft to the whorl(the round disc).When you can be there as DH makes yours you can decide whats best for you.When he puts the whorl on make it a tight fit and put it right at the end of shaft,then try spining it on a good long leader thread and count how long it goes for, then move the whorl up a little and try again, keep moving and trying untill you find the best position.Obviously light weight materials are best this is why although they are prettier the spindles turned on a lathe out of one piece of wood are not always the best to spin with.My DH has got so good at it he makes spindles for sale at my Spinners and Weavers Guild,and craft fairs.
Q2 Everything comes with practice, with well prepard fibre I can now spin lace weight.
Q3 Not easily, its easier to adapt a pattern than adapt a yarn.
Q4 I believe there is a machine washable merino available(its treated in some way) but usually a pure wool garment home made or bought is best hand wash only.
Q5 the only way to tell for sure is to get your hands on it, but most places will give item descriptions and main uses. The softer the fibre the more likely it is to felt, the coarser the less feltable, the trick is hitting a happy balance.
Q6 Roving already has a slight twist, so to make it draftable(easy to pull apart) you need to spin it in the other direction.In tops the fibers lie straight, for a beginner I would reccomend tops, less chance of going wrong.
Q7 If you spin 2ozs of (processed) fibre, you get 2ozs of yarn. Its yardage depends on how thick or thin its spun.
Hope this helps.
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