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Thursday, October 22, 2015

learning to spin

I never considered spinning yarn until recently. It seemed fun and neat, but I never had the desire to learn how. Why bother making my own when there's plenty of mill spun yarn to be bought? Well that all changed a few months ago when I came across whit_knits on Instagram. At the time I first started following her she was knitting a sweater from her handspun yarn and it was so beautiful. My limited experience with handspun yarn had caused me to assume that all handspun was novelty yarn. I had no idea that it was possible to spin yarn with a similar consistency to what could be bought in a store. I knew in that moment that I needed to learn how to spin, a wanted a handspun sweater of my own.

For my birthday last month, I requested one present - a drop spindle kit. Of course my girlfriend got one for me (because she's the best) and even let me open it a few days early because I was just too excited to wait. Well, my excitement soon gave way to frustration as my first attempt to spin began going awry. The "yarn" turned out lumpy and inconsistent and it wouldn't stay spun. To be honest, I gave up a little. I wasn't expecting spinning to be so hard and I thought I just wasn't good at it, it seemed that the universe had decided that there would be no handspun sweater for me.

After a week or so I felt brave enough to try again and figure out what I was doing wrong. That's when I learned about drafting (not included in so many tutorials wtf!), and plying, and setting the twist. Now I think I finally got it! Pictured above are my first ever handspun skeins of yarn: very first try on the left, second attempt in the middle, and my most recent go is on the far right. I have A LOT to work on and practice before I can confidently call myself a spinner or even spin enough yarn to make a sweater with, but learning how to do this is super fun. 


  1. Your yarn looks great! Spinning is very frustrating at the beginning. I had always heard about how relaxing it was, but it definitely isn't at first. :) There's a great book called "Respect the Spindle" that you should check out...most spinning books focus on wheels but that one is specifically for spindles. Spinning enough yarn for a sweater is one of my goals, too...I have the fiber for my sweater, but I haven't started spinning it yet!

    1. Thank you! And I will most definitely check that book out. I'd like to transition to a spindle someday, but until that happens I might as well get decent with a spindle. I can't wait to hear more about your handspun sweater making adventure! What kind of fiber will you be using for your sweater?

    2. I had no plans of getting a wheel, but after six months of spinning on a spindle, a wheel unexpectedly fell into my lap! :) I have a couple of pounds of Corriedale Cross roving that I bought several years ago that I'm planning on using for my sweater.