Spinning Down another Hobby Rabbit Hole

Around my birthday last year, I decided I was interested in yet another fiber hobby: spinning.

Much of the online advice I read suggested starting with drop spindles, then expanding to spinning on a wheel. So, it was time to dive in with a kit and some fiber immediately.

an open box with a llama-shaped yarn gauge, a drop spindle, a manual, and several bundles of colorful wool
drop spindle kit
the top of a wooden drop spindle with the image of a sheep, "Dicha" and ""All you knit is love" engraved
top whorl drop spindle

Figuring out drafting (even with a “park and draft” method) was a bit of a struggle. I produced only extra thick art yarn that was quite over-twisted

pastel yellow / green / pink / blue art yarn wrapped around a wooden top whorl drop spindle
art yarn wrapped on a drop spindle

I did make small improvements in consistency, but I wasn’t immediately taken by spinning on a drop spindle, especially the speed (though I do harbor a rosy fantasy where I master drop spinning while walking, and can take leisurely strolls around my neighborhood while spinning yarn).

orange / brown / cream art yarn wrapped around a cardboard tube in a blue box with unspun fiber bundles visible
drop spindle spun art yarn

Of course, I had seen some advice that drop spindles didn’t “click” for some folks, and they had jumped directly to spinning on a wheel. I knew I wanted something semi-portable. I looked at the Schacht Ladybug, but at the time they were sold out everywhere. A bit more affordable, ubiquitous enough to have many repair parts available, and equally portable was the Ashford Traveller wheel (with some parts interchangeable with the Ashford Traditional wheel as well). I had found the wheel for me!

not-yet-assembled components of an Ashford Traveller spinning wheel in unfinished wood spread out on a quilting mat on a table, after being treated with feeding wax
assembling an Ashford Traveller wheel
a fully assembled Ashford Traveller spinning wheel with 3 empty bobbins on the built-in lazy kate
fully assembled

Surprise! A wheel didn’t magically make drafting easy to learn, haha! Throughout 2022, I had about 3 practice sessions, starting out being fairly discouraged.

pale, undyed, thick art yarn on a spinning wheel
a first attempt at spinning on a wheel

Somehow, over the course of those 3 practice sessions… I actually improved more than I had originally thought.

pale, undyed wool spun around 3 bobbins; showing progress from left to right, extremely thick art yarn, moderately thick and curly art yarn, and finally still slightly inconsistent and curly but thinner and overall more consistent yarn
yarn results of 3 practice spinning sessions

This January (2023) I decided to dive in again in earnest. The yarn singles I am making are still definitely “thick and thin”, but within a narrower range. I spun several bobbins on singles, plied it into 2-ply yarn, and washed and dried it. The resulting yarn is between DK and worsted weight. I have gotten pretty energized.

grey, undyed wool (single ply) yarn wrapped around a red 3D printed niddy noddy
yarn “singles”
grey, undyed wool (two ply) yarn wrapped around a red 3D printed niddy noddy (with a spinning wheel visible in the background)
yarn after plying (2-ply)

In the future I would like to use yarn I’ve spun myself in some weaving and crochet projects. I could probably use what I have already created in some sort of project, but I haven’t figured out what that project would be, yet.

7 bundles of grey 2-ply yarn (5 light grey, 2 a darker brown-grey) laid out on a grey bedspread
finished 2-ply yarn
7 stubby miniature skeins of grey 2-ply yarn (5 light grey, 2 a darker brown-grey) laid out on a grey bedspread
skeined up finished 2-ply yarn