A very interested person with a question

Say I was interested in spinning and I wanted to know what you have to do to start learning how. Say, as a beginner, what do you have to buy/make/have to start learning? How involved is all this?

This is all hypothetical, of course. :roflhard:

Depends how deep you want to jump. You can make a drop spindle from a dowel rod, a cd and a grommet, or you could get a Golding wheel (price difference, a couple thousand dollars!)

You would need some fiber to spin.

At the very least, if you have fiber, you can twist it manually and use a stick you find in the back yard as a bobbin.

It can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it… hypothentically speaking of course.

p.s. My husband makes spindles that are pretty inexpensive and pretty too!

When I started about a month ago, I got a 2.2 oz Schacht and some red roving from my LYS. It cost me about 26 bucks. I found videos on Youtube and watched them over and over until I was sure I knew what I had to do. I also spent hours on Ravelry reading through the different spinning groups. It didn’t take me very long to realize that I really don’t like my spindle, but I’m completely :inlove: with spinning. I’ll hopefully be ordering a new spindle very soon. My yarn keeps getting thinner, and if it gets much thinner than it is right now, it will be too thin for my boat anchor. If you [I]hypothetically [/I]get a heavy spindle to begin with, don’t get rid of it later. It will come in handy for plying.

Do you have any Guild groups or Clubs that you could get in touch with, they may have a wheel that they could lend you and if they are anything like our clubs in New Zealand they will be only too happy to help you until you decide what you want to do. My own Club has 2 “club wheels” which people thinking of taking up spinning use.

i don’t know of anything like that here. There aren’t really even knitting clubs unless you want to pay for it through hobby lobby. bleh

If you want to get a cheap ($8.50 and $9.75), good quality spindle, I would recommend looking at Heavenly Handspinningon Etsy. I don’t have any of hers yet, but I’ve heard all manner of good things about her spindles and wheels over on Ravelry. She also has videos on YouTube where she spins with her spindles (and wheels I believe, but I haven’t actually looked at those). They seem to spin for a really long time. That’s definitely a good thing. I don’t know what that’s like yet because I only have a 2.2 ounce Schacht. I have others coming next week. :teehee: There are shops on Etsy that sell small quantities of different fibers. Those are really good when you’re just starting out because they give you a taste of all the different fibers and how they behave differently when spun up without requiring a huge investment. I’m in the process of spinning 8 ounces of carded Corriedale. It drafts extremely easily. In fact, it drafts so well that it makes me really wish I had a lighter spindle. At times it drafts [I]so [/I]thin that I think it’s going to break and my boat anchor is going to hit the floor. There are also threads in the different spinning groups on Ravelry that discuss good fibers for beginners.

Or you can start somewhere between those two options, with a budget of about $75. Here is my very opinionated starter set:

  1. A good hand spindle. A Golding ring spindle, top whorl, medium weight. Get a plain one; save the beautifully carved ones for later, if you find you love spinning. Don’t look at wheels yet; learn the basics of spinning on a hand spindle, then decide whether you want to graduate to a spinning wheel. Anything you can spin on a wheel can be spun on a hand spindle, though a wheel is much faster. There are plenty of nice spindles available, but I am suggesting the Goldings because they are so well balanced that they perform beautifully, even for a newby. Good tools make learning easier. If you need advice, Tom and Diane Golding are very helpful.

  2. 8 ounces of wool roving (wool in the form of a very long strip lightly twisted together. You pull off pieces to spin.) For your first try, get roving from Corriedale or Coopworth sheep – two breeds whose wool is easy to spin for beginners. Merino, silk, cotton, etc, can come later. Again, there is plenty of good fiber available, but one dependable source is Paradise Fibers. http://www.paradisefibers.com/fiber/index.asp#Undyed%20Wool

  3. A good how-to book. There are dozens of valuable videos that can help you with the basic movements of spinning (and it is a highly physical craft), but the following books give you clear directions for the essential preparation and finishing of the yarn you spin. “Spinning in the Old Way” by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts; “Spin It” by Lee Raven. I also like a small book called “Spindle Spinning” by Connie Delaney. It concentrates on the actual spinning and is very user-friendly.

Good luck; it is such a thrill to see a hunk of fluff turn into yarn under your fingers.

I am a very new spinner, and I was incredibly lucky to find on Craigslist, all practically new mind you, an Ashford Traditional wheel, for $200. For $50 more, she threw in a Duncan drum carder. Also included were two Ashford drop spindles, hand carders, a pair of Louet double row combs, a niddy noddy, and a jumbo flyer kit fo rthe wheel. Plus a pretty good stash of assorted fibers.

I tried out the wheel with some of the wool included, and as I wasn’t proficient immediately, I didn’t go back to it for two months. I finally decided to try out some carded alpaca (I raise alpacas, so I have lots of “free” alpaca fleece) which had only a 2-2 1/2 inch staple length with the drop spindle. It was slow going and the short staple was challenging, but the bulky single actually looks not too bad, especially for my first attempt.

Having no experience with “nice” spindles, I can’t say how much easier or better my spinning would be if I had one. My old drop spindles are very chunky and clunky, I’m pretty sure of that. :slight_smile: They’re about an inch thick X 3" round stuck on a dowel, no hook on either end. I just make a half hitch and use it as a top whorl.

The most important thing I can say is to watch Megan LaCore’s videos on spinning with a drop spindle and her video on pre-drafting your fiber. I have books and lots of printed instructions, but honestly could not wrap my head around it until I saw her videos. And I had seen others. Hers are the best I’ve seen.

Within days of watching her videos, here is what I had!

I think you can start as inexpensively as $20, possibly less if you find a good deal on a spindle and fleece/roving kit!