Thursday, January 7, 2010

Those First Skeins Spun on your Drop Spindle

Today's post is inspired by a question I received earlier today. A beginning spinner using a drop spindle shared, "I find that I can only fit about 1 oz of yarn on the spindle before I have to take it off and start a new length of yarn. Is that normal, or am I doing something wrong?"

When you spin with a spindle, the spindle is essentially the whorl and the bobbin and you are the drive wheel. Drop spindles come in a range of weights and sizes. The lighter and smaller the spindle, the easier it is to spin, but it can take more experience to handle. If a spindle is a little larger and heavier, it will take more force to spin, but will be easier to handle. The general wisdom is to start out with at least a medium weight spindle, not only because they are easier to handle, but they are great for spinning heavier yarns as well as for plying yarns. Most people tend to spin heavier, bulkier yarns at first.

As for how much yarn will comfortably fit on a spindle, this really depends on the size of the spindle and the yarn. If you are spinning a bulky weight, you may only be able to fit an ounce or so on your spindle. You're not doing anything wrong, your bobbin is simply full. Remember, as your bobbin fills, it will get heavier and take more effort to spin.

I was looking for one of my own shorter, beginner skeins to take a picture of it for this post. I couldn't find one because over time, I have made things out of all of them. Just goes to show you, short skeins aren't all bad. I did find a very early 2 ply of mine made from 100% soy silk. You can see those telltale irregularities that come with the search for control. I don't know what I was doing trying to spin soy silk so early on anyway. Not the easiest fiber for a beginner. Still, I bet I'll make it into something someday!

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