Spinning

Spindle Spinning Attempt

When I was preparing for a 2-week trip out of the country recently, I thought it might be fun to bring some spinning with me. Bringing a whole spinning wheel isn’t practical, although I did briefly consider packing up my Daedalus Starling V2 e-spinner. However, drop spindles are lightweight and easy to pack, especially the flat-pack spindles from Akerworks. I ordered a few of them in various sizes, and when they arrived I selected some nice BFL fiber from my stash to give it a try.

I originally learned to spin on a drop spindle, so how hard could it be, right? Well, after about an hour of park and draft, let’s just say that I now understand why people invented the spinning wheel. As soon as I start to draft I have to stop and spin the spindle again. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. How do people spin any quantity of yarn on a spindle? I know I am not that skilled but I’d go absolutely bonkers if I had to spin a whole 4oz bump of fiber this way. I decided to leave the spindles at home and just bring some knitting along on my trip.

I tried spindle spinning a bit more after I returned, but finally had to admit that I don’t currently have the patience for it. Maybe some other time in my life I will, but not now. So I set up the Ladybug and started spinning up the rest of the fiber. Once I had it in that context, I realized that the fiber is super soft and needs a lot of twist to hold together, so maybe that was part of my frustration. The staple length seems shorter than I remember BFL being too. Both of these might have contributed to my spindle frustration, but I could manage it on the wheel, so I’ll call that progress.

After spinning the singles I moved on to chain plying. This fiber’s fuzzy quality made for some frustrating chain plying, including a couple of tiny knots I couldn’t undo. With any luck they resolved themselves in the bath. I didn’t ply my spindle experiment so there isn’t that much yarn left; ended up with about 215 yards of chain ply at 11wpi. Would be enough to make some nice mitts.

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