It’s just wool. It’s not like I can break it.
That’s what I keep telling myself as I prepare to try to spin–okay, okay, Yoda-in-my-head! Ahem…as I prepare to spin my first yarn. The fact that I couldn’t demonstrate to Steve how a drop spindle worked last night (using actual yarn instead of roving) without everything falling apart and hitting the floor is a little nervous making. But it’s just wool. I can’t break it.
I can split it. But Megan can show me how to splice it together.
Oh, I forgot to introduce Megan! Megan is the very nice woman who kindly put three wonderful videos on spinning with a drop spindle on You Tube. Thanks to her, I now have an understanding of how you get from braided roving to yarn–trust me, that was not something I could get my head around until I saw it done. For starters, I didn’t realize you split the roving. So, although I’ve never seen anyone spin in real life, I think I can do it.
It’s just wool. I can’t break it. I think.
First, the set up. I’m working in the kitchen, because we have a counter-height table with taller chairs, which give me a good drop (although I’m going to be a spin and park spinner at first–still, this means I’ll be less likely to bang the spindle against something). I’ve got roving (I’m starting with the Tulips colorway, because I’m not ready to tackle plying yet, and this is the only roving I intend to leave a single-ply), spindle, leader yarn, scissors, and laptop; also, since I’m blogging, camera, Ott Light, and poster board (background).
Next, I unbraid the roving. I find myself handling it very gingerly at first, almost like I’m trying to gently separate cotton candy. It’s just wool. I can’t break it.
Then, I have to figure out how to split the roving evenly. I’d like to try to get a fairly consistent yarn, although for my first try I’m not going to stress over it. The splitting doesn’t go as smoothly as I hoped; I keep getting sections that want to stay with the other half of the roving. One split goes rather badly; I end up with 2 sections where they both started out fine but one ended up too thick and the other much too thin. I can’t split the thick one again without it being too thin, so I’m going to see if I can get it thin enough by drafting. The too thin stuff I simply pulled off the end, leaving that section a bit shorter than the rest. Despite my best efforts, I finish with about 12 sections of varying thickness.
I’ve only drafted about 6 inches into my first section of roving before I split it. (Not broken, just split! I remind myself.) I decide to go ahead and finish drafting while I wait for Megan to get to the section at the end showing how to splice the roving back together. When she does I give it a shot, but it doesn’t seem to want to draft back together properly, so I give that small section up. Ha, Yoda-in-my-head! I did not! How you like them apples?
Erm, sorry. Yoda-in-my-head ticks me off sometimes. After several back-and-forths, I still have a lumpier length of roving than I like. But I’m concerned that further attempts to draft out the thickness will lead to more splits; I’ve already nearly pulled the roving apart twice more. So, now it’s time to move on to the other 11 or so sections…
…or I could go ahead and try spinning this section–just to see how it’s spinning up, of course, not because of any need to rush to an end. Of course.
The struggle to decide is short; patiently drafting all the roving first barely puts up a token protest. I flip over to the next video, and quickly learn what I was doing wrong last night–I needed a slip knot to secure the leader yarn to the spindle. I quickly get everything hooked up and give the spindle an enthusiastic roll down my right thigh. It spins perfectly the air for a bit, before I triumphantly park it between my legs…and realize the leader yarn is much too long. I have to cut it down twice before I have the length I want.
Ok, back to spinning. Hmmm…yarn’s much too thick and lumpy. More drafting is in order.
Now I’m getting something that I can work with. The only part is that the yarn keeps wanting to either lose all of its spin or crimp up because it’s overspun. Or is it overspun? I remind myself there’s a reason that I joined 5 different spinning groups on Ravelry, and hop over to the Beginning Spinners group. Sure enough, I’m not the first person with this question, and one of the knowledgeable spinners explained that some kinking up on freshly spun yarn is okay. And in the whole length of roving, I only manage to unspin everything and drop the spindle once.
Is…is this yarn?
To be continued…