A few thoughts on handspinning…

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a spindling kick, thus once again neglecting my knitting.. yes, even my Cria project. :( On that project, I’m now past the arm/body separating and onto the boring knitting, so my interest has flagged a bit — but no worries, I WILL be finishing it eventually. :P

The fiber I’ve been working on is a 4oz braid of BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) in the Spice colorway from FatCatKnits. I bought this braid awhile back, when my interest in spinning was first reinvigorated, along with a braid of alpaca/merino/silk and a braid of Polwarth.

The colors in this braid are so pretty! There are spots of bright, deep reddish orange among the yellow, green, and brown. I was a little worried that the color would be really bright when spun up, but as you can see in that skein, it’s actually pretty muted compared to the unspun fiber. To keep the color changes intact without any muddying or barberpoling, I chain-plied the yarn – my first time using this plying technique! I thought it came out pretty well. :) Overall the yarn is.. hmm.. maybe a light fingering weight? It’s not as even as I’d like it to be, nor as soft; I probably overspun it as I’m not very good at controlling my twist yet. But still, I’m pretty satisfied. The skein shown above is roughly 126 yards, and I still have over half the fiber left to spin! I’m hoping I can make it to 400 yards total. :)

I’m using a purpleheart Bosworth mini spindle for this project. Unfortunately, I’ve misplaced the tag so I’m not sure what weight the spindle is. I absolutely love this spindle, and I definitely want a few more Bossies in the future. It has such a nice, balanced spin to it. I know it’s possible to spin with any old weight attached to a stick, but I find I enjoy spinning a lot more when I’ve got fabulous tools to work with. Plus, it’s easier…

One of the reasons I enjoy spinning more than knitting sometimes is that spinning is so much more of a challenge for me right now; I’ve been knitting for so long that, unless a pattern I’m following uses really unique techniques, I’m pretty much on autopilot. Spinning takes a lot more focus and concentration on my part, and there is SO much for me to learn still! Now, this is not to say I don’t enjoy knitting anymore — because I do! It’s relaxing, and I like making things that I can wear.

To be honest though, I feel like I’m more creative when I spin than when I knit. When I make a yarn, I’m the one calling the shots on it – does that make sense? What I mean is that I’m the one who decides how much twist to add, if I ply and what technique I use, how thick or thin I want the yarn to be. When I knit, yes, the end product is mine, but I almost always use someone’s pattern, so the design isn’t mine at all.

I think most people are more impressed by the sweaters/hats/scarves/etc that I knit than when I show them a skein of yarn I’ve spun all by myself. It’s kind of funny, because it’s the opposite for me. I’m constantly amazed that I can actually make yarn! And you know what else? Now that I’ve dabbled with spinning, I feel like this whole other world full of fiber and yarny knowledge has opened up… there are SO many different kinds of fiber and blends out there, it overwhelms me a bit. I get really excited thinking about all the different sheep wools that I have yet to try spinning. :)

I also get really excited when I think about all the different handcrafted spindles out there! I doubt I’ll get a spinning wheel; I really would rather use the money to get more spindles. This is probably another (and big) reason I’m so into spinning right now — the spindles! I love the fact that they’re handmade; you can really sense the love and care put into crafting them. And the wood is SO damn pretty. Yes, I really think half my obsession with spinning has to do with the tools rather than the craft… I’m slowly but steadily building up a collection of spindles. But at least I’m keeping better track of my spindles than my knitting needles! :) Plus, there are people who collect weirder (and more expensive) things, right?

Oh yes, and my cat also likes spinning – the fiber part of it, anyway. When I was testing out some bunny fur, he kept sticking his head into the bag to sniff it and would not leave me alone! Haha.

He is also a dirty boy… Yes, that is his foot with litter stuck on it. On my blanket. D:

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3 Responses to A few thoughts on handspinning…

  1. I think it’s amazing you can make yarn, too! I will be even more amazed once you knit with your own yarn. Maybe you should get around to raising sheep one of these days? ;-P

  2. Priscilla says:

    Aww, thanks Steph! :) I really want to knit with my own yarn, but this spinning is sloooow going, haha. xD And sheep might be a bit unmanageable.. angora rabbits, however… :P

  3. i like the rabbit idea! cuuuuute!

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