Monday, March 21, 2011

Sit and Spin

When I need a break from making baby sweaters and booties I try to do something a little different. I learn a new skill, try to finish a project, use up some of my yarn stash to make something for a neighbour. Really, there isn't much difference between what I do for a living and what I do as a hobby-and that's the way I want it!

I acquired a spinning wheel from a friend, an Ashford Traveller with a single treadle. I didn't know anything about using a spinning wheel, but I new I wanted to find out! I did some drop spindle work, but I wanted my spinning to go faster and more sophisticated.
My very first hand spun on a drop spindle.

My second hand spun, I liked a little better. Plus this wool I dyed myself-that was fun!
The wheel needed some cleaning and fixing up-giving me an opportunity to really become acquainted with the parts and functions of the wheel. I've seen wheels in action before, watched videos on YouTube and seen spinners in real life, so I kinda got the gist of it. Also understanding the concept of spinning with a drop spindle and plying made a good foundation for understanding how to use the wheel.

I've been practicing on my wheel and decided it was time to put some handspun up for sale in my Etsy shop, LadeeBee Supplies. One of these was the first skein of yarn to find a new home:

Recently I decided to try dying some wool with Kool Aid to see how that went. Here are the results:
Two beautiful skeins. So fun to spin and watch the colours change, especially when I plied them together.
Plying is when you take two or more single spun yarns and spin them together - in the opposite direction.

I used cherry, strawberry, blue raspberry, and lime flavoured Kool Aid to achieve this colourway.

You can see little kinks in the yarn. That's because I didn't set the twist yet. I've gotta do one more step before its ready to knit up...
Another look at the variation in colours. 
I have to say spinning is a very enjoyable, satisfying and relaxing activity. I feel really good when I finish up a skein of gorgeous yarn. I play with if for a while and examine every part of it...kinda like examining your newborn baby. 

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