Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All in a spin...

Last weekend we went on our annual outing to the Creative Crafts Show (herein referred to as CCS) at Malvern Three Counties Showground (you can read about previous years excursions here)

This year was a little different because (a) I had very little money to spend and (b) I had Roo with me.
I won't lie, I didn't enjoy the experience nearly as much having to keep a constant eye on a curious six year old rather than immersing myself in glorious crafty stuff - although the sheer joy on his face when he showed me the stamps and ink pads he had bought with his Christmas money kind of made up for that! - but I still managed to come away with a new nugget of knowledge, some beautiful yarn and lots of inspiration.

A couple of years back I was lucky enough to get a trip to WonderWool Wales at Builth Wells (an absolute MUST if you love the fluff!!). Whilst there I bought a drop spindle and some roving with the intention of learning how to spin my own yarn...

Unfortunately I didn't pay enough attention to the whole process and, not having much luck with YouTube tutorials either I just put it away and forgot ignored it.

Fast forward to our CCS trip...

Whilst wandering around I noticed this lovely stall.

This is the Cotswold Alpacas stand - packed with gorgeous hand knitted cuteness, knitting kits, hand spun and dyed hanks of yarn and... a lovely lady called Bridget demonstrating how to use a drop spindle!

This time I paid attention. I even asked questions! She showed me how to start off with the 'lead' yarn, feeding the roving through her fingers whilst allowing the drop spindle to, well, spin, creating a beautiful fine, even thread while she spoke. I was so enthralled I totally forgot to take any photographs!  Oh how I wanted to do that thing!!

As a thank you for her time and explanation, I bought a lovely hank of hand dyed Alpaca yarn and a mini skein in a lovely pale blue that reminds me of winter skies.  But I couldn't wait to get home and practise what she had told me...

My CSS haul on the right - I went for quality over quantity. The little Japanese Lucky Cat was a must have. Obviously.

The 10g pale blue alpaca mini skein knitted up into two hexipuffs for the Bee Keepers Quilt.

Wanna see my first attempt at drop spindle spinning?

I used some lovely alpaca tops - that's fleece that has been washed and carded and is ready to spin. It was beautifully soft.

It came out a bit thick and thin but in all not bad for my first proper attempt.

And it knitted up pretty well too! (I have little idea for something I can do with that swatch which I will share another day...)

Of course once I had started I had to go on. I found this bag of fibre marked £1 in my stash - I must have had something in mind when I bought it (although I wouldn't be at all surprised if my thought process went 'oooo pretty colours, oooo sparkly, oooo only £1!!') but at that price it was good for practising with.

The second spin went slightly better and was definitely more even. I do need to work on producing a thinner yarn though - a loose spun super chunky yarn is is lovely but not for everything!

I have been told that it's one of those things that requires practise and that it will get easier the more I do so I will keep practising and who knows, by this time next year I could be spinning up my skeins of my own beautiful alpaca yarn. One thing is for sure, it is very addictive and an immensely satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon...

Have you ever tried spinning with a drop spindle? How did you find it?
If you have any hints or tips I would love to hear them!


  1. I have a drop spindle. I haven't used it yet though. It's in a bag somewhere. I have moved four times since I bought it!

  2. It looks like you're having a lot of fun! Learning to spin is on my wish list of crafts to try!! xx

    1. It is very satisfying and rewarding - I can't wait until I can actually spin up enough yarn to actually make something with!


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