Anyone else spin? : LUSENET : Cooking & Crafts : One Thread

Are there any more hand spinners on this forum?

-- cowgirlone in OK (, January 22, 2002


I'm trying to learn to use a drop spindle, does that count :-)

-- Deb Foster (, January 22, 2002.

Hello. I have been a handspinner for about ten years. I also started out with the drop spindle, but it was just too darn slow. My daughter and I raised angora rabbits for 9 years as a fiber source, but they're all gone now. I inherited my great-grandmother's spinning wheel and wanted to learn how to use it. I found out later that to spin the thicker yarns like I want for knitting, I needed a new wheel. What do you use for spinning? What's your favorite fiber to spin?

-- Kris in Wisc (, January 22, 2002.

I have been spinning for about 28 years. It is a great joy in my life. I learned to spin on a walking wheel and then progressed to a treadle wheel. I can spin on a drop spindle, but I spin more for production so the treadle wheel suits my purpose better. I have always felt that teaching someone to spin on a drop spindle is like teaching a child to ride on a cranky old pony. It's hard to learn. If you can start spinning on a drop spindle, you can spin on just about anything. The treadle wheels take some getting used to, but if you start on a great (walking) wheel it is a fairly easy transititon. I am spinning a soft gray wool right now. I am planning to knit a pair of fingerless mitts from it. I spin on an Ashford Traveller which has been modified to be smoother. I also have an old wheel, not an antique, it is a "Spin-Well" from Canada. I think that it is from the 1960's. I used the old wheel to make enough money to buy the new wheel and I hope to do the same with the Ashford wheel. I would be happy to answer any questions that I can or help you try to solve any problems that you have.

-- nancy (, January 22, 2002.

Spinning and weaving are near the top of my list of things I really really want to learn. I have never found anyone in my area to teach me. Hopefully, being here in Virgina where lots of people still do things the old way, I can connect with a spiner and weaver. In the meantime, I would be very interested in any posts on these topics. I will even add a catagory for it!

-- Karen (, January 22, 2002.

been TRYING to use a drop spindle,,,, cant seem to get it right,, looking for a video or a live teacher

-- Stan (, January 22, 2002.

Yup! Been spinning for about 10 years or so. I spin anything and everything. We have a guild here that is for spinners and weavers and anyone else who is just curious and possibly interested in the fiber arts. I have an Ashford Traditional and a Country Craftsman. I don't really like to use a drop spindle because I keep dropping it. I think that if I were to borrow or invest in a really good one that was not too heavy I would love it. I also get frustrated with the speed of a drop spindle. I love to do living history and demos for schools and historical societies and museums.

-- Susan northern MN (, January 22, 2002.

I Have a Lovet S15 Wheel. I Am using the fiber that came with the wheel . I have it almost spun,I took a couple of lessons , it's like riding a bike once you get used to it your all set. I have the fiber almost all spun up, then I planning to make a scarf. I did try to do drop spindle but just couldn't figure it out. Any question I will try to help just e-amil . Happy Spinning Brenda The Farm

-- Brenda (, January 22, 2002.

This is one thing I have never seen done or that I know how to do....I would love to learn though....I have heard the drop needle things are REALLY hard to use....But I quess if it is all I can get...I will try...Im the adventerous type....Kristean...LOL

-- Kristean Thompson (, January 22, 2002.

Well all you experienced spinners, looks like you could make a how to video and have a market!

-- CJ (, January 23, 2002.

Yea! I knew there were other spinners. I got my first wheel in 1971, I guess thats about 31 or so years ago. I also have an old drop spindle that I haven't used for years, guess I should get it out. Over the years I've spun anything I could get my hands on, from rabbit, goat, a variety of sheep, camel, buffalo, dog, to flax and cotton. (I know I am leaving some out) I like to use natural dyes for the wool, marigolds, onion skins, dandelions, etc..

Have any of you used natural dyes? If so which are your favorites? And which mordant do you use? Happy spinning!

-- cowgirlone in OK (, January 23, 2002.

Karen- where in VA are you ( you can email me privately if you want) let me know and I'll see if I can help. I put my wheel away for a while, theres to much else that I need to do! But I love spinning and still have a lot of "yarn balls". Nobody here seems to appreciate the wonders of wool. We raised fiber sheep for a while, romney and romney/corridale crosses, we have had angora goats and angora rabbits. Lynelle

-- Lynelle (, January 23, 2002.

Lynelle, thank you! I am in SW Virginia near the I-81/I-77 near Wytheville. Spinning and weaving is something I have always wanted to do - especially spinning, it seems like it would be so relazing. We are also getting ready to buy a few sheep for our farm and just keep thinking...boy, sure wish I knew how to spin! Thank you again for your kind offer.

-- Karen (, January 23, 2002.

Natural dyeing, sounds like a new topic to me. I have not done any natural dyeing to speak of, but I have always been fascinated with the idea. I would love to hear about this, cowgirlone. I have a basic knowledge about the mordants and plants ...onion skins, marigold, tea, iron, alum, chrome, etc., but little hands on experience. I have to admit I have been put off by the use of toxic chemicals. Several years ago a friend and I did some experimenting... the results were less than exciting. Mostly I am so intoxicated by the beauty of the natural wool that I can't imagine taking the chance of ruining it by using it to learn natural dyeing and crummy wool isn't worth my time... time that I could use to spin. Someday I will take the plunge, so do you have any advice? Natural colors are so exquisite, what are your favorites?

-- nancy (, January 24, 2002.

You're right Nancy, the natural wools are too beautiful to dye. I use white romney and suffolk because I seem to have an abundance of it. I enjoy trying various materials to make the dye. I usually use alum, it's readily available. I have good luck with marigolds. Onion skins make a nice yellow, it takes a lot of them. Black walnut hulls make a nice darker brown. Beet juice is another one, makes a pretty pink. It's fun to see what color I'm going to end up with. The only bad thing is you can't always duplicate a color you made. The next batch might come out darker or lighter. I have tried dying it already spun and dying it before I spin it. I prefer dying the yarn after spinning, most of the lanolin is removed during the dying process.

I gather my material, place it in a large pot, add enough water just to cover, let it simmer as long as you can (covered). The longer the better. Strain, let the water cool to luke warm, add your mordant. Place your wool in the pot. Push down but don't stir. Let this sit overnight. Rinse in luke warm water, squeeze out and hang to dry. It is an interesting hobby, I've enjoyed weaving with the different natural colors. It's still a learning experience but fun! Happy spinning!

-- cowgirlone in OK (, January 24, 2002.

Thanks for the mini lesson, cowgirlone! Did you have good luck with beets? I have heard that they make a beautiful color, but that the color is not fast and fades very quickly. Also red cabbage. Did you use alum with beets? I know that it takes a lot of onion skins, do you use a pound for a pound of wool? I have been saving onion skins and have quite a pile, but I don't know if I have a pound yet. Maybe by summer I will have enough and dive into a dye experiment. I am glad to know that you prefer dyeing the skeins, it seems like it would be a lot more manageable, although it would probably be easier to achieve an even color by dyeing the wool before spinning. I, too, like to spin wool with some lanolin left in it. Thanks, again and I hope to see more on this topic.

-- nancy (, January 25, 2002.

I'm Back! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I've been gone for a few days! The beet juice makes a pretty color and I have used alum with it and I have made it by itself (just to see what happens). The color is stronger without the alum. I find that the more you wash the finished product, the more it fades. (if you do need to wash the item, wash by hand, use lukewarm water and don't agitate it,(this will turn it into something like felt). I have not made any clothing with the dyed wool, I usually make pillows, wall hangings, things that I don't have to wash often.

As far as the amount of onion skins, I eyeball it! I don't weigh anything (it wouldn't hurt). I use the same old pot and stuff it as full as I can get it! The more skins, the better. You can tell I'm real scientific about this! HA! I hope you try it sometime, it's a fun hobby and what you can come up with is always a surprise. Best wishes!!

-- cowgirlone in OK (, January 28, 2002.

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