hi, I too make a lot of my own gear as spinning accessories can get pretty pricey if you are on a budget! I make spindles all the time, have used a sewing machine motor to make an electric spindle, have an ashford flyer unit to electrify, complete with a new jumbo flyer (no bobbins yet) and of course I make my own bobbins for my wheel. I have in the past made a drum carder and a table carder, and my next project is a lazy kate for my spindles as well as my bobbins, and to finish off a yarn blocker. Cheers, Caroline
hi, you aren't limited at all to small skeins! What many spinners do is wind the cop off into a ball once the spindle gets too difficult to spin, fill it up again, then join the new cop to the end of the yarn in the ball, either by spinning the 2 ends together, a bit awkward but makes for a nice invisible join, or else rub the two ends together between your hands with a little bit of spit - works wonders! That way your ball of wool can get as big as you want it to be before you do anything else to it. cheers, Caroline
I suspect your mum is thinking about the 70s revival in all things alternative, including substances, ! Spinning is a natural progression from knitting and crochet, and even if you only ever use a spindle to ply a plain yarn and a fancy yarn together, its creative. I'm blending dog hair and mohair and wool together at the moment - its not something I would have done as a novice, but hey, I spun cotton wool balls on a clunky 4 oz drop spindle to start with, so what do I know? Go with your instincts - a spindle is not necessarily a stepping stone to using a spinning wheel, it is an art form in its own right, and many spinners never feel the need to progress to a wheel. There are some excellently priced starter kits on ebay, to get you going, and Interweave's Spin Off site has some excellent pdf files you can read to get you started. Try as many different wheels as you can before laying out any money, not all wheels were created equal, and a wheel that suits me probably wouldn't suit you. Whatever you decide, have fun! Cheers, Caroline in Adelaide, South Australia
hi betzi, flat carders are horrible to use in my experience - I found them very awkward and my wrists started aching very quickly. I also have trouble with heavy carders - they are not all the same weight! so its worth asking how much they weigh first. Around 260 to 275 grams each is fine, but once you go over the 300 gram mark, they are more suitable for men. Another consideration is how they are made. I have just had to replace a 2nd hand pair I bought last year because of a design fault. Where the handle met the back, the handle only went about one third across the back instead of much further as modern carders do, and they had cracked at this stress point, long before I got them as it turned out. I only noticed it when one of the handles came off and I found I couldn't re-attach it. The $20.00 I had saved in purchasing the second hand carders wasn't really a saving, as I had to replace them that much quicker. Try before you buy, and if you can save the bit extra you need for new carders, I would advise it! Good luck! Cheers, Caroline in Australia
avesthal, that sounds great! I have only heard good things about Lendrum. You realise that this is the start of a major addiction? You will need fibres to spin - a great excuse to go shopping, and then once you have a yarn mountain, you will need to learn a new craft to reduce it, more shopping! And of course you will need to meet other spinners, more socialising, and more info, more socialising again! Seriously, there is something so soothing and relaxing in spinning, its almost like meditating. I think it must be because spinning is also creating and it satisfies some primitive urge inside us all. And spinners are a great community! Treasure your first born yarns! Never again will you find it this easy to produce lumpy bumpy fashion yarns that are great as accent yarns. You can ply them with some of those fancy acrylic and nylon yarns, and its then ideal for knitting and felting - didn't I say it leads to other crafts, lol! Enjoy! Caroline in Australia
The article I gave the link to has a link to a carder cloth supplier in the States. I don't know how much your cloth costs, but certainly making your own hand carders isn't worth it, or re-clothing them. However it is worth making a table carder and definitely worth making a drum carder on Australian prices. Both items process fibre much quicker than hand carders. I have even seen a photo of a table carder that had what looked like a rolling pin with carder cloth over it that you could roll up and down the carder cloth base, that looked pretty cool, and much easier to use! Cheers, Caroline
Hi natasha, you are not dumb! Google doesn't handle spinning questions very well, ! To add to what the others have said, what you get out of your carder depends on the amount of work you put into it beforehand. I always pick my fleece over first (I work with raw fleece) and if necessary use a dog comb or slicker to separate the fibres out. Most of the VM falls out at this stage, well it does in Australia where dust is more of a problem than mud, . I then put the fibres through the carder slowly. Sometimes I need to put the fibres through more than once, it really depends on the fleece, but basically you should be able to hold the batt up to the light and see that the fibres have been evenly distributed over the drum, and the clumps and knots have been separated out. You will be amazed at how much dirt falls out at this stage, and you will need to clean out underneath your carder regularly. I have read that if you gently put a piece of cloth over the carder cloth it makes it much easier to use, but I have never successfully managed to do this myself. Using prepared tops or rovings should only require that you predraft the fibres sufficiently that they cover the drum evenly. the more predrafting the better. Good luck, and have fun! You can do sooooooo much with it!
Hi, its possible to spin cotton on a standard spindle, but basically the lighter the spindle, the finer the yarn you can spin. Brass tahklis usually weigh about 15 grams, and some of the russian-style lace spindles weigh less than 10 grams, which means the weight doesn't tug the fibres apart if you do use them as a drop spindle. They also spin very fast compared to the standard spindle, and you can spin a thread that is as fine as a sewing machine thread on your first attempt! Supporting the spindle also means that you can spin an even finer thread! Some people use a cup or bowl specially made for the purpose with a tiny dimple in it to keep the tahkli on track. If you have a long enough shaft on your spindle you should be able to use it as a supported spindle, either navaho style for a bottom whorl, or icelandic style, for a top whorl. Interweave Press's " A Drop Spindle Treasury" has a few excellent articles on this very topic. Its like all things spinning, practice makes perfect, and if you are happy with the results of your efforts, it means you are spinning well!
hi, When you wash or soak a raw fleece, its not just lanolin that floats to the top, its all the other lightweight stuff as well, and you will also find a lot of gunk at the bottom of your bucket or wash trough. Depending on how you feel about babies filled nappies, you may not want to stick your hands in this if you think about it too much, , but if it doesn't worry you, you will need to get the water cold enough to set the oil so you can scoop it off. How you would purify it after that, I'm not sure, but check some of the soap-making sites, they should be able to give you some idea, particularly the alternative lifestyle sites. Good luck!
hi crazybest, have you checked this site out? http://www.spinningforth.com/articles/tools/carder.html Otherwise a board carder would be quite simple to make - a flat board covered with carder cloth, and either a dog slicker, or if you are really into DIY, you could make a hand made carder. They are similar in shape to a table tennis bat, just not as round or large.