Friday, 17 April 2009

My First Handspun

After a bit of trial and error, here is a picture of the first results of my spinning attempts.*

I'm quite pleased with it, overall. It's a bit lumpy-bumpy, but I was definitely getting better at making a yarn of consistent thickness by the end (although the single strand on view here wouldn't suggest so). I'm definitely going to carry on spinning the rest of the fibre I have and see if I can't get something a bit more even by the time I finish it all. If I can, then I'll consider the spinning experiment a success, and I'll probably get in some more fibre supplies. I also want to knit this yarn and see how it comes out - I imagine it'll be pretty bad, but we shall have to see. The current plan to to knit a scarf with all the handspun I produce until I am capable of actually coming up with anything decent. Unless I make some unexpected Great Leaps Forward, I imagine it will look like an 'organic' version of that amazingly long and brightly-coloured scarf that Dr Who used to wear.

A few observations about hand spinning have struck me so far:

- Spinning seems to be one of those things which arevery, very easy to start and do badly, but which take a lifetime to perfect. The simple action of tying some fibre to a spindle and letting it drop practically does itself, but feeding the yarn through in such a way as to produce a consistent thickness is bloody tricky business. Apparently learning English is much the same, albeit without the scraps of fibre that end up covering the carpet.

- Things in spinning happen surprisingly fast, much faster than knitting which tends to take forever even for the fastest knitters. This means that, unless one is careful, a whole wodge of yarn can end up being unintentionally spun and ends up being a thick, lumpy Right Mess.**

- I realised very quickly why spinning wheels are so great, since essentially they allow the spinner two hands to feed the yarn through rather than one. Many disasters occur with a spindle when the spinner is temporarily distracted from the fibre by the need to get the spindle spinning again.

- It's clearly far more trouble than it's worth, but tremendous fun all the same.

*OK, technically not the very first attempt. There was no way I was going to put up a picture of the very first attempt.

** This would be why I'm not putting up a picture of the very first attempt.

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