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1  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Are you really a spindle? on: June 07, 2011 03:23:46 AM
Yep, it's a hookless bottom whorl spindle!

I like bottom whorls that way - can't stand a hook because it gets in the way of my fingers (a hook is almost always necessary with top whorls though) and don't need a notch or groove, but that's a personal preference thing. All you need to do different from a spindle with a hook is to make a half-hitch to attach the yarn.

To see how to use this kind of a spindle, Abby Franquemont has a great video on YouTube: spinning on a bottom whorl spindle (basically any stick can be a spindle, especially a stick with a weight on it Cheesy ) She's also got a lot of other good spinning videos, which are done mostly with top whorls but the same principle applies with bottom whorls.
2  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Am I meant to split this up before spinning? on: November 22, 2010 04:23:25 AM
You can split them, but you don't have to. When you have a big fluffy ball and make super thin yarn, you're drafting - for help in that, check these two videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUORvO-GZE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAVYmG9zeK8

Drafting can be tough at first, but don't panic! Just practice for a few minutes at a time and you'll get it, it took me about 3 months to make thin and even yarn. You might make some thick-and-thin yarn while you're learning, but that's OK too Smiley it looks really nice knitted up. I'm too lazy to pre-draft unless the fibre is really sticky and matted so it's hard to draft, which is why I taught myself to draft.
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: any spinners that don't really crochet or knit? on: November 02, 2010 05:12:25 AM
Okay so I both crochet and knit, but have you thought about weaving? If you make small pieces you can start with a simple DIY loom, which could be anything like a piece of cardboard or an empty box or picture frame, or a backstrap loom...

Cardboard/frame looms:
http://www.craftstylish.com/item/2546/how-to-weave-on-a-cardboard-loom
http://www.allfiberarts.com/library/aa01/aa040201.htm
http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/diy-loom-tutorial

And even if you make small pieces you can sew them together like patchwork:
http://www.weavezine.com/summer2008/wz_su08_JanaTrent.php

Backstrap loom:
http://www.weavezine.com/content/backstrap-basics
http://backstrapweaving.wordpress.com/ (the stuff on this blog is amazing, but it's also made with pretty thin yarn because it's traditional, I think art yarns and thicker singles would look nicer with just simple weaving that shows off the yarn)

Then here's one way to make a scarf out of art yarn and scraps by felting:
http://craftside.typepad.com/craftside/pluckyfluff/

And I've seen amazing scarves done with the same technique as this sweater, by just putting strands of yarn together and sewing on top of them on a sewing machine to get them to stick together:
http://pluckyfluff1.livejournal.com/2008/03/10/
4  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Do I HAVE to ply? on: October 24, 2010 02:53:40 AM
Nope, you don't have to ply Wink IMO the technique where you just add twist to wool is prettiest as singles - though if you want to ply, that'll work too!

There are no rules to spinning but there are loads of techniques for getting different kinds of results, so if you want to make different kind of yarn, you could check out these videos: part 1, part 2 and this trailer. Spinning the spindle in your hand is a totally valid technique btw Wink you can pretty much use it any way you like, even "upside down" like this girl
5  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Beginner Spinner on: September 12, 2010 05:59:39 AM
If you have a batt, it's not always necessary to pre-draft. Unless you count tearing off a chunk about the size of your hand to be pre-drafting!

Also, park and draft is your friend at this point (and later - it's what I do when there's a problem with the fibre or whatever). It took me about 2-3 months spinning a few minutes at a time, not every day but sometimes only on weekends, until it clicked and I managed to make even yarn. But once it clicked there was no turning back Cheesy

Some of the trouble is because drafting is a hand skill, so your muscles and nerves and brain have to train themselves to do this and it takes time for the new neural connections to grow and become strong. Luckily spinning is a lot easier than playing violin!
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Call for experienced spinners who would like to help with Learn to Spin 2010 on: August 10, 2010 10:26:03 AM
I could try to write up something for the #5 "Spinning to ply"  -  not a super expert or anything but I pretty much ply everything I spin and know the basic vanilla non-arty techniques (2/3/4/more-ply, cables, Navajo/chain ply: pics).

Oh, should it be spindle/wheel specific or both? And should it be more on what kind of singles do you use for plying, or about plying techniques?
7  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: First attempt-need some advice on: June 21, 2010 03:08:18 AM
That looks lovely!

Overspinning is a relative thing - if you want to ply yarn (i.e. take 2 or more singles and twist them into the opposite direction from spinning), you need to have the singles be so twisty they kink up on themselves when let loose. No need to wash before plying, but if you want to keep it as singles then make a skein, tie it in a few places so that it doesn't get tangled, dunk it in hot water so that it gets thoroughly wet, and hang to dry. I've never bothered to weight the skein as I haven't had any problems even if it doesn't hang perfectly straight - weighting is AFAIK mostly for weaving yarn. You can also thwack the skein against the bathroom wall or something a few times, that's supposed to help to set the twist and at least it gets some of the water out! Singles will usually be a bit twisty even when they aren't overtwisted, but unless it's very twisty it usually doesn't matter in a knitted object, and washing helps to set the twist.

Have you seen these videos? They've got good info on making yarn and getting more consistent:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUORvO-GZE (intro to spinning pt.1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAVYmG9zeK8 (pt.2)

This page has a lot of info and videos:
http://www.ispindle.com/toc.htm
They talk about pre-drafting, which I'm way too lazy to do - I try to find fibre that's fluffy enough that it doesn't need fluffing up, and then just tear a chunk or strip that's a nice size to hold in my hand. But if you have really "sticky" or matted/felted fibre or if you want to make a specific type of yarn where you need to pre-draft, then it can be really useful and they have a nice video showing how to do it.
8  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Spinning-economical? Or additional crafty costs? on: June 21, 2010 02:24:21 AM
For starting, I can recommend Maggie Casey's book Start Spinning, which also has an appendix on how to process raw wool.

The most cheapest option is to make a drop spindle, and spin directly from fleece that's been washed and picked by hand, like the ladies in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywg1JFsqqYs

You can also spin from locks that have been flicked with a dog brush or comb. These videos by Abby Franquemont might also be interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUORvO-GZE (intro to spinning pt.1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAVYmG9zeK8 (pt.2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drXid5cT0y8 (same as above, but with a bit about making a simple spindle)

And these pages have info about washing wool and spinning:
http://www.hjsstudio.com/tutorials.html

Have fun!  Cheesy
9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Felting wool-suitable for spinning? on: June 20, 2010 11:33:58 PM
I think I've seen this stuff in person - it's combed top, and should be fine for spinning. The only potential problem is if the ends are cut, in which case I suggest that you pull off the short bits caused by cutting as they'll be harder to spin and can cause lumps.

The other thing is price, for example www.worldofwool.co.uk sells multi-coloured top for 3.25/100g. Usually it's cheaper to buy from a spinning-fibre seller than from a craft shop selling felting suppliers if you're buying even a little bit bigger amount.
10  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Spinning-economical? Or additional crafty costs? on: June 18, 2010 03:10:21 AM
In a fire I'd also grab my wheel before the needles... needles are cheap, but wheels are not - either they're expensive because they're new, or they have sentimental value like mine which used to be my gran's (it's also a lovely working wheel).

Spinning can be cheap, as you only need a spindle (cheap or if you make one, free) and some fibre. Normal wool may not be very much cheaper than yarn, unless you buy in bulk, but luxury fibres and handpaints can be a lot cheaper than luxury/handpainted yarn. It really depends. If you are easily tempted into getting a huge stash, it's possible to build just as a big a stash in spinning as in knitting...

I think spinning is a great hobby! If your goal in knitting is to produce finished clothes etc. quickly, then spinning is not the answer. However, if you want to get double the fun you get out of the same amount of fibre, spinning is definitely the way to go; after all, you first get to make the yarn and then you get to knit with it! Also, you can decide exactly what kind of yarn you want for your project, or just spin for the fun of it.

About the speed of spindles vs. wheels - yes, wheels are faster if you have X amount of time to stay sitting and spinning with it, but if you only have an odd minute or two free here and there, it can be easier to pick up a spindle and you end up having more yarn over time, especially if you're spinning very fine high-twist yarns that are also slow to make with a wheel. As an old spinner and anthropologist Ed Franquemont has said, spindles are slower by the hour, but faster by the week. I use both and love both Wink
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