Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Things I learned this week

Handspun yarn - Spinning Show & Tell
Since last week's post two skeins have been finished but apart from that it's been a week of slow progress and several lessons, some of which I am still figuring out...

Firstly, I learned that it's ALWAYS worth entering competitions. The very day I wrote that I wanted to learn about natural dyes, the perfect giveaway was announced on Knitsofacto and.... I WON!!!  The prize - Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles - arrived last week and looks to be packed with all the information I could possibly need. Of course, I haven't had time to read any of it.

Secondly, I realised that plying on a drop spindle one day, then spinning another 100g and plying it within 24 hours, may result in some sort of RSI to the dominant wrist. With that and the end-of-term busy-ness find myself way behind on my spinning and knitting plans for this week already.

Related to this second point, I also discovered that however relaxing and pleasant it is to spin on a drop spindle and however pretty the colours you're working with, plying is not as enjoyable. The pink yarn (BFL/alpaca) turned into a nightmare to ply. I'd spun it fairly thin to get a fingering weight yarn and a few times, under the weight of the half-full spindle, one of the singles snapped. Not really knowing what to do and with the whole thing wanting to twist up on itself, I tied a knot in it and carried on. If anyone would care to enlighten me on what I should have done (apart from spinning it more consistently in the first place), that would be most welcome. As a result of this I am really not looking forward to plying the very fine singles I showed you last week and have been procrastinating on that. I have noticed a few people plying on a wheel after taking the singles off the drop-spindle. I'm hoping that's not necessary as I don't want to buy a wheel right now. What do you all suggest?

It has also struck me that unless I start to knit some of this yarn soon (thanks to Chrissy for pointing out that knitting with it will probably help the learning process, in terms of finding out what works and doesn't) I am going to need a bigger basket to store it all in. With this in mind, I am considering the three yarns pictured for a stripy project - probably a scarf as they are all soft enough to be worn next to the skin.

The brightly coloured Devon Longwool yarn (shown in the main image above) will probably become something for the home, as it's very beautiful but not very soft and I can't imagine wearing it. Luckily the colours are perfect in the Cwtch so perhaps that can become something from The Knitted Home?

Before I go, here are a few related links I've enjoyed this week:
Thanks for everyone who has been linking up over the last few weeks. As usual, here is the linky - please feel free to add any recent spinning-related posts and to link back here.


  1. I absolutely love your three skeins, they will be perfect as stripes.
    Ouchy about the RSI - it is such a bummer. I can't offer any helpful advice about plying but I'll hover about to see what other clever people say.
    P.S. I saw you won that lovely book - lucky!

  2. OK, I can help with the plying. You need to leave them to rest for at least 24 hours, preferably 48. If you do that, then singles are much less likely to tangle up on themselves. It's a simple tip, that no one seems to tell you until you complain about your plies all knotting up! You do not need a wheel.

    By the way, that yarn needs to be knit up, it's gorgeous!

    1. Thank you!!!!! It's so helpful knowing people who know the answers!!!! x

  3. Gah - so annoyed - I typed out a big long reply and my phone ate it!
    When I snap a single, which I do on the wheel too occasionally, I undo the plyed bit for a few inches, hold both ends of the snapped bit together and overply that bit slightly then keep going.
    With the RSI - you need to stop. Have a fortnight off - its frustrating but necessary. I did too much knitting an crochet one day and completely knackered my wrists. You should warm up before starting anything, make sure that you stretch your muscles out afterwards - put your palm flat on the wall and stretch it out. Google wrist/arm yoga. Only do tiny bits at a time and work on our posture - RSI is rarely just your hand usage, but think about what your shoulders and back are doing too.
    If you believe in "woo" methods - I think my amber bracelets helped and you could try Turquoise - next to your skin- on the solar plexus is good - as this helps with muscle strength. x

    1. Thank you Carla. I will definitely look into the yoga/exercises as I rely on my hands to much to be in pain! I have amber and Turquoise - can't hurt to wear it, either way.

    2. PS thanks for taking the time to type it out again xxx

  4. I was going to write some of my spinning advice, but it looks like everybody else has said everything!
    Though, when one of the plies snaps, I will just overlap the broken ends by 6 inches or so and ply on.
    Thanks for the linky! I'll be back later with my post :)

  5. Your skeins are gorgeous! I feel your plying pain. My fingering weight skein took me SEVEN hours to ply on Saturday. Thanks for asking about snapping strands during plying. I ended up tying a knot twice during my skein and figured I will undo them and weave the ends when I knit it up. I hope your wrists feel much better soon.

  6. That blue yarn at the top is utterly divine!!

    I agree with all the advice, I wish I was better at letting my yarn rest before plying. My impatience has led to many crazy yarn explosions of doom!!

    Hope your wrist soreness goes soon!

  7. Oh man, what a bummer that it snapped. Oopsies. I'm sure you will get great advice and figure things out.

  8. Your spinning looks amazing - those 3 skeins work perfectly together :)

  9. Lovely yarn! I enter every craft competition I come across because you never know.......


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