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drop spinning - making my own yarn

Yes, I have another hobby. I like my crafting hobbies as much as I like my organisation/stationery. (*gasp*)
My first turkish spindle weighs 86g!
I don't even remember why I was even googling hand spinning, I guess it was just one of those things that had been on my mind for as long as I remembered - in the event of the end of the world, wouldn't you want some sort of skill set that would make you useful in a post-apocalyptic world?

There's a few documents online that provide instructions on how to spin yarn with a drop spindle:

Then there are the Youtube videos:

  • Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle - Tutorial

  • How to Spin Yarn with a Drop Spindle

  • Drafting Wool for Spinning - Tutorial by Megan LaCore

  • How to spin Hi and Lo Whorl styles on a Drop Spindle

I was wondering whether I wanted a hi-whorl or low-whorl spindle, when I saw the Turkish Spindle.

  • Spinning on a Turkish Spindle

They are just so much more "elegant" than the usual drop spindles. And when you've finished spinning, you can just remove the arms of the spindle and you'll have a ready made ball of yarn. No need to use a ball winder like you do with a normal bottom/top whorl spindle.

  • Turkish Spindle Winding

I pretty much got hooked after I saw how effortlessly people were spinning with a drop spindle. And I also started looking online at the fibres available, and the colours were just so beautiful!

There's quite a lot of places that sell drop spindles, so stay away from ebay, most of them are ugly and of poor quality (not all, but most). The last thing you'd want when starting out is to use an unbalanced spindle that wobbles. Spinning is about the process, and having an ugly wobbly spindle isn't going to make you want to spin.

I've been recommended Woolery, though I personally bought from Viking Santa on etsy (that's the spindle at the start of this entry, unfortunately the spindle was too big and was more useful for plying) and Spun Out (an Australian online store that operates not far from where I live. A tad expensive, but since I could physically pick up my order and save on shipping, it costs around the same as if I was purchasing from the US or the UK).
This is my yarn after my face-to-face lesson
My current spindle is a Jenkins Turkish Delight made of Bolivian Rosewood (the whorl) and Maple (the shaft) weighing at 26g.

After watching all those videos and reading all those websites (plus more that I haven't linked here), I decided that I should still try out a face-to-face class. 

I went to one organised by Spun Out. For people who really want to try their hand at spinning your own yarn, I highly recommend that you get hands-on lessons. It beats spending hours watching low-res videos trying to work out which hand does what. Look at the difference in the yarn between the first picture in this entry and the one just above. I wouldn't even have realised that my first spindle (the Viking Santa one) was too heavy until I showed it to Emma (the woman running Spun Out). Of course it would still have worked, but I would be more likely to break my yarn - frustration ensures.

Anyway, that's my introduction into hand spinning. I'll be spinning in front of the TV now - that sounds so strange - most likely watching Lost Girl.


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