Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Do you Spin?

I'm pretty sure you knit, or crochet, if you are visiting this blog. But do you spin? And that thing with the bicycles where you stay in one place (how does that make sense?) doesn't count. Whether you do it with a drop spindle or a spinning wheel, spinning is cool. Not only does it result in unbelievably gorgeous yarn-- the type of stuff you could never buy from a commercial yarn company-- but its relaxing, even meditative, portable (if you use a drop spindle) , inexpensive (roving is almost always cheaper than yarn of similar quality and quantity), unique, and surprisingly trendy. Young people do it. Old people do it. Come to think of it, its a lot like knitting in that way. So if you don't spin, consider trying it.

How to learn to spin: Check your LYS and see if they offer classes. If they don't, find the nearest fiber festival and sign up for a workshop. Or check and see if there is a spinning guild in your area. Spin Off (the magazine published by Interweave) has a blog which is a great source for finding out about spinning events and local groups. There are also lots of great books, You Tube videos, blog tutorials...

But before you can really get started, its time to shop. Drop Spindles, though relatively simple devices, can be so, so, gorgeous. Just look at these hand turned works of art. And then when it comes time to buy your first spinning wheel. Well, you'll have to go to a fiber festival for that. Where else will you be able to try out all the different styles and brands? May I suggest the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival- its really big. But if you can't make it to Maryland, there are plenty of others to choose from.

And then there is the roving. Roving-- the fluffy stuff that spinners magically turn into yarn-- comes in all the different fibers and blends that yarn does. Well, I'm not sure if I've ever seen acrylic roving (if you have, please post a link in the comments!). But as far as natural fibers, the options are almost limitless-- wool, alpaca, llama, mohair, cashmere, angora, cotton, tencel, silk, linen, bamboo, their pure forms and in countless blends. My current favorite is soy silk, I think. Or maybe merino-tencel. For some reason the warm weather makes me like *shiny*!

The most magical part of spinning, in my opinion, only happens if you use hand painted roving, especially one with lots of different colors and variegated. Watching the colors blend in some places, contrast strongly in others, twist and twine and create something totally new...its a bit overwhelming. Two spinners could take handfuls of the exact same roving and the resulting yarn could be completely different depending the methods they use. Like I said- Magic.

No comments: