Tuesday, 2 June 2009

I'm a spinner!

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and a couple weeks ago I finally took the plunge... I bought a spinning wheel! Sorry for the terribly unglamorous photo of it, I think it's actually very pretty and neat looking in real life.

I decided on the Lendrum Double Treadle. I bought it from Paradise Fibers and I can't say enough good things about them. I placed my order, and 5 minutes later I got a call from them letting me know that though I live in Canada, since the American's get free shipping they were going to give me the equivalent off my Canadian shipping! So I only paid $12 to get this beauty shipped. Plus I got a bunch of complimentary fiber of my choice, some of which I've already spun, they were super nice and I'm happy that I bought from them. One of the reasons why I was taking so long to buy a wheel is that though I had decided on the Lendrum a while ago, it's a Canadian company, but I couldn't find a Canadian store to buy it from, which I felt a little weird about. It all worked out in the end. 

I don't know any spinners. I've managed to befriend Kari at Mudcreek (check out her sold section for some awesome inspiration!) and pestered her with questions when I was trying to decide what wheel to get. She was very helpful and is actually in the process of spinning up some of my hand dyed roving for me, so when I get it back I'll have a great example of really good handspun to try and copy.

I learnt exclusively from googling, practicing on my drop spindle (which I kind of hated, so I was nervous that I wouldn't like my wheel either, but I was wrong!) and by reading this book. Also just by studying other yarns, and lots of trial and error.

Here's my second attempt at spinning singles:
Not so hot... (I didn't even take a picture of my first attempt) I learned a lot from that trial, mainly that pre-drafting is super important for me because I'm not yet coordinated enough to do much drafting while I'm spinning, it all just gets away from me.

Here's my 4th attempt:

Way better! But my singles are still a little too thick for the worsted weight yarn I'm hoping to achieve.

Here are 3 finished skeins of yarn. They're all 2 ply, the one on the left was made from a bonus from Paradise Fibers for buying the spinning wheel, the roving is Ashland Bay Colonial Wool in Multi Burgundy, and the other 2 are from my own hand dyed superwash merino rovings.

I'm pretty embarrassed about the 2 on the right, but I feel like I'm getting a lot better! I don't know what Ill do with them, if anything, there's not really enough yarn to knit much with, maybe I'll use them for a stripe on a hat or something.

I'm very happy learning to spin, I'm really looking forward to being able to spin enough quality yarn to make a sweater for Stella with. Truth be told these pictures were what really put me over the edge and decide to buy a spinning wheel!


  1. yeah, that drop spindle kinda sucked.

    and here I was thinking you were taking a spinning class and I got all excited!

    Looks like fun though.

  2. I just started spinning too, about ten minutes after buying a ton of your Green Label Aran in at the DKC event in Toronto! I'm using a drop spindle myself and wondering whether I'd do any better with a whole wheel, assuming I could find any space to keep it in ;^) I'm going to get right on checking out the same kind of wheel for myself - thanks for posting this.

  3. this is so great tanis! I'm so excited that you are learning this and can't wait to see where it goes for you.
    lovely work so far!

  4. Tanis!
    I always wanted to try this, one weekend next year I'm coming to stay with you and you can teach me!

    Way to go, it must be so incredibly satisfying to color, spin and knit!
    You have created quite the fine opportunity for yourself Tanis!
    Way to go!

  5. That is a big improvement from your second attempt to your fourth attempt. You've inspired me to keep trying (or actually make the time to sit down and do it)

  6. look at that awesome spinning wheel!! I'm afraid to get into spinning, I'm afraid it'll be too addictive. Can't wait to see all the goodies you'll be spinning up!

    - Julie

  7. It seems that 90% of the spinners I know have either a Lendrum or a Majacraft Little Gem, so it sounds like you made a good choice ;) Looking forward to see what you spin up!

  8. Oh no - a spinning wheel. I've had a Lendrum Double Treadle ordered twice and each time chicken out because I don't think I have time. ....It's still on order and now I just might take the plunge. I tried a friend's drop spindle and thought that the wheel is the way to go for me....if I'm going to spin, I'm going to use a wheel. By the way...Gemini Fibers is right around the corner from me (Ontario) and they sell Lendrum among others. I'm pretty sure they will ship for anyone who wants to buy CAD.


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