My newest fiber craft

January 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm (Uncategorized)

I have caught the “spinning bug.”

It started when I read A Curse Dark as Gold for my YA novel class last term. I loved reading about spinning whenever it appeared in the book–the mechanics simply brought the craft to life! I had to give it a try.

Problem: I don’t own a spindle and I don’t know how much one would cost.

I’m a crafty person, so I decided to make my own. I did some browsing and found instructions here, but still waffled. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy the pieces yet. But when my friends took me to Hobby Lobby and I wandered off unsupervised, I gravitated to the wood I needed.

Problem 2: I have no roving. This is compounded by
Problem 3: I have no money and no job.

But… but… I have the spinning bug! I couldn’t resist. I decided to read up on some tutorials about plying.

That way, I could get the feel for my spindles and practice until I could afford roving. I started off with some partial skeins of KP Gloss Lace.

Of course, I needed the spindle first. I sanded down a dowel and screwed in the hook to make a very basic, low-whorl drop spindle.

I played with my drop spindle for an evening and got 9 yards of cabled blue-green yarn, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I thought it’d be better if I tried a high-whorl spindle instead.

And so I used more sandpaper and more wood and created said high-whorl spindle. I wanted to mix it up, so I used yellow laceweight.

This presented a number of problems. First, it was a little wobbly; second, I couldn’t tell if I was plying too tightly or not. Part of that is because I’m so new to spinning, but plying the same color of yarn together didn’t help! I plied 16.5 yards together.

At this same time, a copy of Respect the Spindle finally made it to the library. As I read it, I saw that I hadn’t made a true top-whorl spindle. I wanted to do it right, so I shoved the whorl higher and tried again. I wanted to check my plies, so I used blue and green again. However, the spindle wobbled so much that I got sick of it after 2 yards.

I went back to my first setup–blue and green on the drop spindle–and plied another 16 yards. In hindsight, I liked the high-whorl spindle best because it doesn’t wobble like the top and it’s much easier to get the yarn off of than the bottom.

I haven’t been cured of the spinning bug yet, but now I have a good way to handle it!



  1. Elizabeth Bunce said,

    What a fun post! I am thrilled that the book inspired you to take up a new skill–and how you threw yourself into it headlong! Absolutely marvelous. Now that you’ve spun, what will you do with it? My agent is a knitter, and she recently completed a Stirwaters Blue sweater from some yarn I sent her (NOT made by me!!). I’ll be featuring it on my website/needlework pages soon!

    • Rachel Giddings said,

      I’m flattered that you posted! I really did love your book, and learning to spin has been a wonderful adventure. I don’t have much yarn yet–I’m still really slow–and none of it is true handspun, just hand-plied. Eventually, I’ll knit it into gloves. Those are my favorite things to knit. (As in, I love gloves so much that I’ve challenged myself to design a pair of gloves for one character in each of my writer-friends’ stories.)
      Your agent knitted a sweater from Stirwaters Blue? I’m geeking out. That’s amazing! I can’t wait to see it.

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