Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Learn How To Spin

I think we had alpacas maybe a year or so and I knew I wanted to learn how to spin.  Today I absolute love it - it is my therapy!  I love the feel of the luxuious fiber gliding through my fingers and I love that I can be sitting still and still doing something, getting lost in my own thoughts.  Spinning also tells me about my alpacas' fiber. 

There is a learning curve, like with anything else.  Leaning to spin requires patience and practice.  I skipped the drop spindle, it just looked hard, though I often see children at fiber festivals walking around and mindlessly spinning with their spindles, so it can't be too hard.  I began with a
Louët Spinning Wheel because the woman that sold it to me convinced me I could spin!  She told me that she was dyslexic and very uncoordinated.  She said if she could spin, I could, so I trusted her.  I still spin on my Louët S10DT, DT meaning double treadle versus ST for single treadle.  I figured I wanted to have both feet moving rather than just one, so I opted for the DT.  You can save a little money; however, on the single treadles.  I added an electric wheel some years later for production spinning, but still think the Louët is great wheel for a beginner or advanced beginner.

Malabar Farm, home of author Louis Bromfield, is just a short drive from Mansfield, Ohio and that is where I headed to learn how to spin.  They have a Spinning and Weaving Guild that meets regularly.  One of the ladies showed me the basics and then it was just a matter of going home and practicing - that ugly word!  Pictured below are a few ladies from the guild that come spin at our farm on National Alpaca Farm Days.

There are also great on-line tutorials and videos that are helpful.  How To Spin Yarn is a site I found recently that is very helpful.  Be sure to scroll down the page - there also is a tutorial on Spinning Locks - for more advanced spinners.  Here are a few of my HandSpuns . . . I love that I can be creative . . . spinning fun thick and thin, bumpy, textured yarns!  Of course that is not the goal of a beginning spinner, but it sure is fun now!

Be sure to see the 'Paca Farm Yarns in The Farm Store on our website!

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