I’ve been searching for the perfect yarn to make a specific project that I have in mind and I just can’t find it. I’m convinced that it doesn’t exist. It’s led to obsessing about making my own. I’ve been reading anything and everything I can get my hands on about spinning yarn. Sooooo much information – drop spindles, spinning wheels, double or single treadle, scotch tension, wool types, tops and roving. My head was ready to explode.
Spinning wheels are not cheap. Even used wheels hold their value and are hard to find, and they’re usually not much cheaper than a new one. Although I tend to launch myself into new projects with my hair on fire, full steam ahead, I could easily see a spinning addiction getting out of control FAST.
I started small. I figured I would give it a try, see if it’s something I LIKED to do, and provided the results I was looking for.
Step one – find some wool. I’ll be honest here. I chose this wool based entirely upon the color. I wanted a bright rainbow of hues, and I found exactly what I was looking for at The Painted Tiger. I selected 4 oz. of Corriedale wool top in tropical rainbow. (I’ve since bought out her remaining stock because it’s just so damn awesome.)
This photo doesn’t do it justice, and it was actually twice as fat as this, but I forgot to take a picture before I split it.
Okay, then. I had the wool. Now I need to turn this into yarn. Not just any yarn, but that delicious thick and thin slubby art yarn with lots of big puffs and thin, thready areas. There are about a million tutorials out there on how to make a simple drop spindle. The idea to make my own came to me on a Sunday afternoon and my resources were limited. I ended up with a 12″ length of dowel, a wooden coaster, and a cup hook. That’s it.
I drilled a hole in the center of the coaster and jammed it onto the dowel. It was a tight fit, but that was fine with me. I didn’t want to mess with trying to glue it on. Last step, I twisted the cup hook into the end of the dowel. Total investment for the spindle? About $1.80.
Spindle + wool = yarn, right? I watched countless YouTube videos on working with a drop spindle and was feeling pretty confident. It took a few false starts and some awkward fumbling (and a LOT of mumbled curses), but I finally started to find a rhythm in spinning the spindle, drafting the wool, and producing something that actually resembled what I was looking for! Yay!
I kept practicing until I ended up with a little over 40 yards of yarn. It was far from the amount I need for the As Yet Un-named Project, but it was plenty to make a newborn hat. It was also more than enough for me to realize that I really enjoyed spinning, and I’ve been eyeing the Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel. A lot. Yet another hobby…
And here’s a close-up of the yarn detail. Yes, I did this on purpose. I wanted it to look this wonky, and to be honest, it’s pretty easy for a beginner to do. It probably would have ended up like this even if I wasn’t trying. I can’t wait to whip up some more of this.