Why Do I Spin?

I was asked a question on Ravelry the other day, which made me stop and think…the question was ‘why do I spin my own yarn?’

To be honest, I was quite taken aback to be asked this – and judging from 99.9% of the replies to this question from other Ravellers, I was not alone in being surprised. There were also a great many answers from other spinners…which ranged from ‘its meditative’ and ‘its relaxing’ to ‘it allows me to make exactly what I want’ and also ‘its cheaper’. But why did I start spinning?

It started last year, when I was looking for some yarn to weave with. Something a bit mad and funky to use as a focal point in a shawl. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t find it, and I spent a LONG time looking…I found something similar but it wasn’t right, so I decided that I may be better off learning how to spin and producing my own yarn.

After putting out a request for a spinning teacher on Ravelry, I was lucky to be contacted by a lady who lives just up the road who was willing to teach me (and for that I will be eternally grateful), and it just kind of snowballed from there. My early attempts were a complete monstrosity, but I hung in there and soon got the hang of it and started to use my own yarn in my weaving and knitting. It was a revelation!

I firmly believe that using a handspun yarn in a project gives it a bit of an edge. Most of the yarns can’t be replicated, so each item is a true original piece, and there is something about the texture of a handspun yarn which I think is beautiful….and, yeah, it is meditative and relaxing once you master the foot and hand co-ordination and get into the rhythm of it. I can also make yarn exactly how thick I want in the colours I want – what’s not to like?

But then, I also started thinking about my stash of yarn…there is very little in there that is from one of the major yarn producers such as Debbie Bliss, Wendy, King Cole or any number of other firms…nope, most of mine is from independent hand-dyers or from people who farm their own sheep/alpacas and then get the fleece spun up in a textile mill. I just like the uniqueness of it all…and, as I don’t tend to knit jumpers, I don’t need to buy a bazillion balls all in one yarn which can get expensive (mainly cos I am a yarn snob, and don’t tend to buy acrylic yarn)

As an example, earlier this week I made up a ‘Frankenskein’ yarn out of some odd bits and bobs that I had left over from other projects…I just spun up whatever came out of the box regardless of colour and then plied two bobbins of yarn together….the result is not something you would find in a bricks and mortar yarn shop…and I like that..

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….So, I guess I spin because I like unique yarn that tells a bit of a story.

 

 

Spinning up a Storm

I have started to spin up all the goodies that I bought at Wonderwool last weekend..and having great fun in the process 🙂

I have been experimenting a bit with the yarns, and the first one I am going to share is a ‘Frankenskein’! It is spun from random merino tops, picked at random from a bag and then spun into a couple of singles before being plied….and I am really pleased with it:

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I love the random colour combinations after plying!

The second yarn was spun after a play on my new drum carder (aka Fenella Fellorick). I took a selection of fibres in various shades of blue, along with white, grey, black and yellow and carded them into batts ready for spinning. The spinning was left as a single…mainly cos I love knitting with singles:

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Again…I love the way the colours merge together

In all I spun up 5 skeins this week, some of which are 2-ply chunkier yarns and a couple of them are singles, but the weather being so rubbish – cos I have a week off work – has meant it has been a problem setting them and also photographing them. This weekend is supposed to be a bit better weatherwise, and if it is I will be sharing more of my yarns with you 🙂

It’s Christmas (kind of)!

Today I woke up in a fit of excitement!

For today is Yarnmas, aka Wonderwool Wales, and its one of the highlights of my yarny year. It’s held not far from where I live…and, luckily, today the weather wasn’t too bad, which makes a nice change.

I went with my Dad, who does a sterling job as my porter – although, he is quite fascinated by all the yarn and people, so he doesn’t mind too much…well, that’s what he says.

There was a bit of a mishap when we arrived, as those of us with pre-paid tickets were left queuing to get in for a long time, whilst people buying them on the door were going through much quicker. Around us tempers were starting to fray BIG time, until finally someone came along and sorted the problem out…and then we were in!

I dropped off my donations to the Welsh Air Ambulance stand…and then I was like a kid in a sweetie shop. I made my way around the hall looking out for the odd bargain, and was soon shopping in earnest. I have plans to start a venture selling my hand-spun yarn, so I was mainly looking to buy fibres and bits and bobs for spinning instead of actual yarn, and I was  spoiled for choice. Lots of independent producers and dyers were there and the choice was amazing…here is the spinny stuff that I bought:

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Lots of colour and texture!

I think it’ll keep me busy for a while!

I also got spoiled by my Dad…I have been hankering after a drum carder for quite some time, and jokingly told Dad that I wanted one for my birthday….well, he only went a bought me one! I am beside with my excitement about this little beauty:

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Just looking at the photo of it makes me happy!

Not only that, but I want to give dyeing my own yarn a go, so he also bought me a solar dyeing kit (which SHOULD work in the Arctic region known as  Mid-Wales), as well as a package of natural dye materials:

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I’ll be experimenting soon….

How lucky am I? Not only that, but he is not making me wait for my birthday in a few weeks, so I can use them straight away…which is fab, as I have a week off work now so I can have a play with my new toys and fluff…I have a feeling that I will be happily covered in a fine halo of fluff all week 😉

I had a brilliant time, and will definitely be going again next year…and Dad, if you are reading this, then thanks! You are the best Dad in the world 🙂

 

It’s a Stashdown!!

Around this time of year I start getting a bit fidgety…the way that kids do when they know its nearly Christmas and there are only a few sleeps to go. My reason for getting fidgety is that Wonderwool is almost here! YAY!!

However, the excitement is tempered by a bit of panic. Where am I going to put all the goodies that I want to buy? My little workroom can only hold so many boxes of yarn and still allow me to be able to move in it…so, I have made a decision. I am going to have a clear out of the stash, and donate my unwanted balls to the Welsh Air Ambulance stand at Wonderwool. Living where I do, the Air Ambulance is a vital lifeline as the nearest hospital is a minimum of an hours drive away, so raising money for it is a really good cause as you never know if one day you may need to use it.

Hopefully, it’ll mean that my work room will no longer resemble this:

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Another reason for the stashdown is because whilst sorting out some random balls earlier today, I was hit by the realisation that my stash contains stuff that I am probably never going to knit or weave with..and now that I am also spinning my own yarn, the yarn is just going to sit there taking up room that more productive yarn could be using….basically, like most knitters I have stash that was started when I first got back into knitting….you know, the cheap balls made from clown barf to the really chunky stuff that would make anyone wearing it look like a Michelin man…to the stuff that you get given and can’t think up an excuse to turn down and the stuff that you receive in Ravelry swaps (from other people who may or may not have been having their own stashdown).

Now, don’t get me wrong..I will still have stash, but it will be of a more controlled nature….right up until I hit Wonderwool 😉

Oh, and if you are heading along too, then please visit the Air Ambulance stand in the interactive area and drop some pennies their way – thanks!