Destined to become a spinster

spinster :
1362, “female spinner of thread,” from M.E. spinnen (see spin) + -stere, feminine suffix. Spinning commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote “an unmarried woman” in legal documents from 1600s to early 1900s, and by 1719 was being used generically for “woman still unmarried and beyond the usual age for it.”

I’ve wanted to learn to spin for quite some time now. I knew that any learning I would do would have to be on a wheel, I could see easily that drop spindles would frustrate me quickly. But, wheels are expensive! So I began to look for deals. Not finding much in my price range, I thought I would just keep saving up for one.

Then a deal just totally fell in my lap! Miss Violet of Lime and Violet had one which she wanted to get rid of. She has another she uses frequently and used the one for sale maybe twice. At the price she offered it, I knew that even if I did not like spinning, I could resell it for at least that much. And if I did like spinning, it was the perfect price as well as being a good starter wheel. In addition to that, I can get a high speed adapter kit for spinning laceweights (my ultimate goal, but it will be awhile I am sure!) inexpensively. So I decided to buy it.

I picked it up in time for Thanksgiving vacation. That morning, I couldn’t sleep past 5:30 AM I was so excited to pick it up! Take a look!


It is an Ashford Kiwi.

It came with 3 bobbins and a lazy kate:
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No, that is not yarn I spun….I am not that expert yet!

While I was there, I had her make some fibery suggestions so I could get started. I got 2 things:
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These will be great practice. I have started on the blue/red/black.

So, I struggle with wanting to do things perfectly the first time. I spent time looking at other peoples first spun yarns to get an idea of how bad it was going to be. Yeah, pretty bad. LOL. When I ply what I have I’ll be brave and show you anyhow!

Things I have learned about spinning thus far:

1. It is really hard to find the right tension. I keep getting overspun or underspun yarn. I finally found something that works for me and marked it right on the wheel. I am so scared I will have to try to find it again!

2. Predrafting is my friend.

3. I do not have to pedal like a bat out of hell to get good results. I just need to find a rhythm that works for me. Slow and steady wins the race. Or makes nice yarn in this case.

4. If I let my twist get into my fiber, it makes what can only be described as big time yarn barf! There is little fixing it!

5. Just when I think that things are going really well, something will go wrong. Don’t ever think it is going well!

6. Spinning is a blast and I even have yarn that LOOKS like yarn to show for it. I can get the hang of this quickly!

The first time I spun I was so nervous that my feet sweat right through my socks and made wet spots on the treadles. My hands were so wet there were beads of sweat on the fiber. It is best to try this at a time when I am VERY calm!

3 thoughts on “Destined to become a spinster

  1. Oh my gosh, you lucky duck you! I’m so jealous. What a find. Enjoy and don’t worry about getting it perfect right now. My spinning friends in the reenacting group say it just takes time and practice. Eventually your hands will “learn” the right speed and process of getting exactly the yarn you want. I’m so happy for you!

  2. Pingback: Oops I did it again. « Suzy Sells Sea Shells

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