Sorry, I just looked at the picture, didn't read the link. Here's a page on how to attach your fiber onto a leader of already spun yarn: http://www.spindleandwheel.com/content/view/14/73/ I usually fray the end of the yarn a bit, the join doesn't have to be great, just good enough to get going.
Have you had any previous spinning experience or are you just starting out?
If you're totally new to spinning, here's some links that might help you:
Edited To Add: The rakestraw spinner also has pdf instructions online that show how to make a leader by rolling the fiber on your leg. It doesn't really matter how you start or join your leader, as long as you're able to start spinning, so if you can't get the hang of starting a leader by twisting it on your leg, then try to attach the fiber to a length of yarn: http://fibers.downinthecountry.com/Spinnerbooklet.pdf
I don't know how it's supposed to be traditionally used but there's something out there that looks practically the same: the rakestraw spinner: http://fibers.downinthecountry.com/spinners.htm There's a description and video on the above link. Basically, it's park and draft spinning.
Betzi: That's cool, everyone's different. In spinning there really aren't any hard and fast rules. Of course I'm going to suggest that someone try the method I prefer, but in no way can I claim that it will be what's best for everyone.
Theknitnkitn: Don't worry about producing even yarn right away, that will come with practice. The fact that you admit that your yarn is improving means that you're on the right track.
I have also heard that a low whorl spindle is supposed to spin bulkier yarn than a top whorl of the same whorl size and weight but personally I can't spin any thicker on a low than I can on a high, whorl size and spindle weight being the same of course. Low whorls do tend to spin slower though, so for the beginner, it may be easier to spin thick on a low whorl, since if the whorl is spinning slower, the spin time should be longer.
When it comes to spindle weight, as little as a few tenths of an ounce can matter alot.
I'm guessing that your spindle is made from a toy wheel. I don't know how much a 2.5 inch toy wheel weighs but I'm going to assume that while it's on the light side, it is appropriate for a beginner spindle. It however, is most likely not heavy enough for spinning thick. Are you trying to spin heavy worsted to bulky plied yarn or singles?
One thing you can always get very cheaply are antique wheels (over here anyways), but they are not ideal for bulkier yarns.
I think a trip to europe is in order!
I've been on the lookout for a working antique spinning wheel. Over in here in the US, or my part of it at least, I have found alot of broken wheels going for $200 easily (funny how antique dealers think that if you can push down the treadle and spin the wheel, it works. I've seen so many "working" wheels with broken or missing flyers that I've lost count) and the only truly functioning antique I've yet to see had a $1000 price tag on it. Now how exactly would one go about haggling down a price to about 15% of it's original?
If it was me, I'd just consider the two hours to drive there and back required payment for peace of mind.
If you really want to mail it, or can't drive it there within the time period (grr, I couldn't get my skeins in time for my county fair and didn't want to mail them), then either registered mail or certified with insurance sounds like the second best idea.
I finally posted the pics.... just in time for the next fiber friday. Oh well, better late than never.
I've been spinning up some plain vanilla columbia wool that I got as a freebie. I started with 70 pounds which went down to 55-60 after skirting and I still have at least 45 or so pounds of the stuff so yeah, no end in sight. Did I mention I only have hand cards *rubs wrist* ?
Plain vanilla 4ply worsted with a few bits of vm here and there.
Semi tailspun bfl locks, singles yarn, about 130 yards.
Semi tailspun because I spun a few yards from the lock, then tailspun a yard or so, then spun another few even yards.
Since it's been so insanely hot here, I've been taking advantage of the heat and solar dyeing in old pickle jars. I don't have pictures and don't know where I put the wool, but trust me, it's pretty. Smells like pickles though (and I scrubbed the hell out of those jars so I'm surprised) but pretty.
It does take a while for the process to feel natural. At first it's like "wait, I have to draft before it stops spinning and starts unwinding!?" but after a while you get used to it.
The fibers might not be drafting smoothly because you're holding onto the fiber too tight. A death grip does seem to be a common beginner error though. I remember the first time I spun I could hear the fibers ripping when I drafted, and knew that it shouldn't do that but didn't know why.
Your roving or top can also be compacted. If that's the case, then predrafting will definitely help. It's up to you how thin you want to predraft but I personally feel that if you predraft right to the size of the yarn you want, it doesn't give you any practice drafting while the spindle is spinning, only letting the twist travel into the unspun fiber. I'd suggest drafting it thin but not too thin so you don't have to draft as much but you still have to draft. If you still can't get the hang of it, park and draft for a while: spin the spindle then hold it in between your legs and draft for a bit, then spin again, then hold and draft, and once you feel comfortable drafting you can try to draft while the spindle is spinning.
The reason why the spindle wasn't turning in the right direction for more than a few turns was indeed because the yarn that you were drafting was too thick for the spindle you have. When you spin thinner are you still having problems with a short twist time?
What type of spindle do you have? how much does it weigh and how wide is the whorl?
I am a little miffed at the fact that alot of spindles I see on etsy are only suitable for spinning lace. Not one of these spindles state in the description that they will only spin thin and in fact many are aimed at the beginner spinner. This only frustrates people looking to learn.
Fiber reactive dyes can also be used to dye silk. It doesn't require heating but it does require warm water and soda ash. the soda ash does mute the shine of the silk a little though. The downside to fiber reactive dyes is that the article being dyed needs to be washed thoroughly in hot water for the unattached dye to be washed out, so that might not be any better on the fabric than the acid dyes. In fact the acid dyes may even turn out to be gentler since they don't need the vigorous washing out that fiber reactive dyes do.
I am a little nervous posting help, since I don't want to feel responsible if you use fiber reactive dye and the dress shrinks during the wash out; something that can very well happen. Consult someone who should know about the fabric before attempting to dye it and try it out on a scrap first of course since a wedding dress is an expensive thing that you don't want to mess up.
There is a chance that your gown is not washable, and therefore not dyeable.
Here's a link to prochemical's instructions for their dyes including procion mx, a fiber reactive dye and pebeo soie a silk paint (needs to be steamed though):http://www.prochemical.com/directions.htm They even have a page for silk painting with mx and citric acid, (which will attach the dye like an acid dye, preserving the shine) covering the item with a black bag and letting it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. But that method also requires washing out with hot water.
I would not recommend using any food coloring based dyes (easter egg/koolaid/wiltons) on silk because the color in my experience just washes out with water. I've soaked the silk yarns I've dyed with food coloring in a citric acid solution (vinegar will work too, but I found that the amount I needed left a noticeable smell) and let them dry and if the yarn is acidic enough, it won't bleed when it gets wet, but this has to be kept up every wash and I don't consider it a fix, just a way of extending the life of the things I made with food coloring dyed silk before I knew how fugitive it was on silk.
Food coloring does work fine on wool and other animal fibers though.