My Spinning Journey - Part 1

A year ago my sister gave me a beginner's spindle and fibre set. I tried it for half an hour, found it quite tricky and put it back in the box, with an imaginary label marked "for another day". You see, my first attempt, and the thick uneven yarn I produced, left me feeling quite disheartened - I like to be good at things and I just didn't 'get' it. The spindle kept wobbling all over the place, the unspun fibre was getting tangled in the spindle and it really just didn't work out so well. Ever since that day I've had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind - I would have to return to the spindle at some point to figure out how to use it. 
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I recently started watching the YarnGasm video podcast. Beginning with the most recent episode, I worked backwards through the archives and seeing Kristin's spinning progress - in reverse order - inspired me to get give it a proper try. This weekend, armed with YouTube and the excellent book 'Respect the Spindle' I was given for Mother's Day, finally got my head around the following:
  • It's only adding twist to some fibre, in essence it's very simple and a just matter of practice. I can do that. 
  • It doesn't matter how the first lot turns out - while I practice it's about the process not the product (ok, I'm still struggling with this one).
  • It's called a "drop spindle" for a reason - when you're not doing it right, it will drop. It's like a built in quality-check and very helpful when learning. 
  • I changed hands - the first time I tried I held the fibre in my right hand and turned the spindle with my left, this time I reversed it and it seems more natural, although I have been twisting anti-clockwise which is the opposite way to all the people I have watched online. Next time I'll try clockwise, although I don't think this is crucial.
  • A drop spindle isn't just a "gateway drug" to spinning with a wheel, but it's a great (portable, lightweight, easily stored) tool in it's own right. Abby Franquemont says it's like a pen to the spinning wheel's printing press - they are related but different, they have different purposes. Learning more about it really has given me a healthy respect for spindling and it's traditions and I'm more determined than ever to learn how to use it. 
I was advised on Instagram that once I master it, I won't be able to re-create my first attempts and they should be treasured. For that reason I'm recording my progress here. This is day one...

Day 1 of my spinning journey.

It's uneven and probably has too much twist, but I realise it's ok. I have fibre, and the more I use it, the better I'll get. The general advice seems to be that 15 minutes a day is a good aim for beginners and so that's my plan - I'll keep you posted.

16 comments

  1. Ooh I can't wait to see you become the princess of drop spinning! I've always wanted to try it myself too; I can live the experiences through you now ;) I'm sure you'll do great (as with everything you do).
    xo,
    wink

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  2. That's much better than my first attempts with a drop spindle.

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  3. I got a drop spindle for Christmas and have purchased a spindling course on Craftsy. I haven't started yet but I have moved my spindle from my "One Day" box to my "One day...soon" box ; )
    I look forward to watching you progress.

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  4. Fabulous first attempt. I have tried drop spindling too but like you filed it away until I got better. Problem is that I never find time to practice and without that I'm not going to magically get better. I need to learn that it is ok to learn and to gradually improve. Look forward to seeing how you get on

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  5. Fabulous first attempt. I have tried drop spindling too but like you filed it away until I got better. Problem is that I never find time to practice and without that I'm not going to magically get better. I need to learn that it is ok to learn and to gradually improve. Look forward to seeing how you get on

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  6. Oooh, cotton candy! It looks great. I need to take a lesson from this and dig mine out that I had bought five months ago.

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  7. I took a one day course and then bought a spindle- my efforts are still a bit thick/thin but all the lovely fibre I see for sale encourages me to persevere! I've had a go on a wheel but my hand/eye co-ordination is not great so I think the spindle may suit me better!(For now!)

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  8. Beautiful! Treasure your first handspun forever; don't try and un-spin it and make it into a better yarn like I did! It's perfect the way it is :)

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  10. Hmmm...I might have the courage to find my kit I got three years ago! Love your colors.

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  11. oh that's pretty! Well done. I always try to embrace my "beginnerness" at anything new, I don't want Small Girl to see me expecting perfection at the get-go when her own journey is all about slow and steady learning and every little success celebrated.

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  12. I'm glad you are going through a similar situation to me. I may not be learning on a drop spindle, but my sort of Mayan spinner is teaching me similar things. The trouble is, I am not becoming addicted and I have added another thing for me to add to my stash - fibre! Oh there is some lovely stuff out there.

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  14. Spinning looks very unusual, its something I have never actually read into before :) Would you recommend trying it out?

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  15. This is exciting ... I'm just starting my spinning journey too!

    Hope you're feeling better Sarah x

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