Saturday was a long day, trying to figure out how to work the spinning wheel. I have a very old Singer treadle sewing machine, so the treadling action was quite easy. There are lots of helpful – and some not-so-helpful – spinning wheel videos and tutorials online. Most of them assume that you have a certain amount of knowledge already, which I didn’t. They all assume, for instance, that you should already know that the bobbin should spin freely on the flyer spindle. I didn’t know that. My bobbin did not spin freely, and there was a considerably frustrating time where the wheel and flyer were spinning nicely but the leader yarn was not winding on. I managed to work it out for myself, drawing deeply on vague memories about velocity and momentum from O’ Level physics lessons. I wrapped some sandpaper round the handle of a paintbrush to sand the middle of the bobbin so that it could spin freely on the spindle better – and it was like magic. The joy and elation when it worked are indescribable. It was like being in a fairytale.

My first attempt – some Blue-Faced Leicester roving – admittedly looks a little more like rope than yarn:

The following day I tried some silk/merino mix:

I plyed two lengths together and knitted it into a little holder for my mobile phone:

And then I had a go at spinning some hand-dyed silk throwster’s waste, not expecting to get anything at all:

I know that there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I think this is a fine start for an absolute novice. It’s a wonderful thing.

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5 Responses to Spinning

  1. How fantastic, well done you. I would have wanted to wear a fairy tale dress to do it, but then I am a bit barmy 🙂 The wool is gorgeous. I love the colour of your mobile phone holder.twiggy x

  2. I'm amazed! Good for you! It always looks so hard. I think I would have given up. But it's clearly worth your persistence. Great job! Look forward to seeing this develop.

  3. Darlene says:

    You're doing wonderfully. It took me a lot longer to learn to spin. Plus it took a while to get any usable yarn, too! I love the cell phone case, and the silk is beautiful.

  4. Ro Bruhn says:

    Fabulous work, well done to master it so quickly. Keep these first pieces of yarn, you'll find it very difficult to create ropey yarn once you get going, everything will turn out smooth and even.

  5. Kaye Turner says:

    Thank you all! Twiggy, if I'd known my husband was going to sneak up on me with the camera, I would have worn something much nicer! And Ro, I'm going to keep that ropey bit of yarn for ever 🙂

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