Posted by: jinniver | March 7, 2009

My first handspun (continued…)

First yarn Tulip (5)

It kinda looks like yarn, doesn’t it?  And the colors are really pretty.  Guess it’s time to get to drafting the rest!  Ok, after some more Coke and chocolate to fortify myself…

Drafting to Rick Astley!  I know the fake Spring Knitty thread on Ravelry upset some people, but I thought the Rickrolling was hilarious.  I mean…it’s an online magazine, people.  It will be out as soon as they’re ready–the Rickroll doesn’t negate that.  And as a child of the ’80’s, I love Rick Astley and I’m not afraid to say it!

I add the new length of roving to what I’ve already spun, and realize that if I don’t want to end up with striped yarn, I need to pay a lot more attention to the colors on the ends of the roving sections I’m joining:

First yarn Tulip (6)

Ah, well–onward!  As Megan promised, my drafting is getting a lot faster and smoother with practice.  That, or it’s because I’m listening to Summer of ’69…well, it’s mostly practice.  I’m going almost as fast to Candle in the Wind…but I did just split the roving.

Grrr…this section isn’t going well.  I’ve split it several times and there are parts just too thick to draft thinly enough (and yes, those 2 things are related).  I finally split part of the roving again and made a longer piece; well see how this works with all the splices.

I have hereby given up on the “consistent yarn” goal, and am now shooting for the “doesn’t fall part yarn” goal.  I just couldn’t get my roving all the same thickness, no matter how hard I tried, so I decided to just go with it and end up with a thick/thin yarn.  Some of my joins are…well, ugly doesn’t quite cover it.  But that’s ok.  The spinning part is going well…

First yarn Tulip (8)

…but now I have another problem.  There’s way too much yarn on my spindle, and I’m not even a 3rd of the way through spinning this roving.  I watch Megan’s third video in hopes that there’s a solution on there, but she appears to both have spun less than I’m spinning and spun it on a spindle with a larger whorl.  The good news is that the video did answer several of my later questions.

I mention my problem to Steve, along with the fact that the video didn’t have the answer I needed.  “Hmmm,” he says, pretending to the think hard.  “In that case, I recommend you go to this site called…Revelry?  Ravalery?  Anyway, I hear they know a lot of stuff there.”

Ha ha ha.  Smarty.  That was already my plan.

This time I can’t find my answer by searching, so I ask.  It’s not long before I have several helpful answers, including one from Velvet. I check out her blog regularly and have been drooling over her handspun for a while.  Velvet and the other helpful spinners let me know I can remove the yarn from my spindle onto a holder (toilet paper roll is the most widely recommended) and then I can join the ends by just spinning them together.

First yarn Tulip (9)

Wow–I haven’t even finished spinning and I’ve already learned some lessons from what I’ve done.  The consensus of several commenters on yesterday’s post is that I do indeed have too much twist in that first section of yarn. (Fellow spinners–ooh, I get to say fellow spinners!–thanks so much for the advice!)  By the time I read that, I have more overtwisted yarn on the spindle (and toilet paper rolls), but I decide to press on and see if I can’t get a better amount of twist on the rest of the yarn. That’ll give me something to compare to.

In a lot less time than I expected, I’ve got all of the roving spun up into something that definitely resembles yarn.

First yarn Tulip (10)

It is by no means perfect–there are overtwisted and undertwisted sections, areas that are as thin as laceweight and areas as thick as super bulky. There are also sections that didn’t want to take twist at all, mostly where I was joining yarn together. But for a first effort, I am more than pleased.

Now to finish it up. First, I wrap all of the yarn around the back of the kitchen chair. Joining ends of the different sections go even more smoothly than adding roving did when I was spinning.

First yarn Tulip (11)

I add the ties, pull the yarn off the chair back, and voila!

First yarn Tulip (12)

Yep, there’s some definite kinkiness going on in this yarn. Knitting is going to be a bit of a challenge…but forget that for a moment–look at those colors! That’s just some pretty yarn, for all the small ugliness. Using Megan’s tip, I’ve already determined that it’s 36 inches around the top of my chair back, so by counting the loops I determine I’ve got 76 yards of yarn.

The last step is to set the twist; this is one of the questions I had that Megan answered in her final video. I dunk the yarn in hot water and then wring it out. I’m a bit surprised at first at the amount of dye that wrings out, but then I’m not sure why–it’s not like I haven’t dyed stuff before! That’s always been fabric, but it’s the same idea.

First yarn Tulip (13)

Now to hang the yarn to dry.

First yarn Tulip (14)

And there you have it–my first handspun adventure! Of course, I’ll show you what the final product looks like once it dries…and naturally I share when I figure out what I’m going to do with it. I have some ideas…



  1. It’s beautimous! And a heck of a lot prettier than my first attempt!! You’re doing great!!!

  2. Again–much better than my first attempt, too. But as a note of caution, since it looks like you weighted it to keep it straight, it might shrink some when you block the finished item. Just a thought to keep in mind.

  3. Congratulations! I really like these colours. There are no rights and wrongs and no-one says yarn has to be consistent 😉 You’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to achieve consistency though. Keep at it.

  4. That looks great! If I tried it I know the results would be disastrous!


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