Learning to Spin

18 Jul

On my journey of learning crochet, pattern writing and the world of wool I came across spinning your own. It looked relaxing and something that would be fun to do on the nights where I had some spare time to relax and watch some tv.

My hands don’t like to stop moving so spinning and tv watching looked perfect. Plus I would have something productive at the end.

As with most new skills I have learnt, they have come through trial, error, and a shed load of youtube how to videos. So spindle in hand I set forth into the world of spinning.

The glossary of terms can seem daunting at first, with roving and fibres and which way round the long and short hairs go.

My first attempt I sat down and got to it, excited to be doing something new. My wool broke, I reattached it. I spun too tight and I spun too loose. I made it two ply and again I over spun, underspun went clockwise instead of anti clockwise and then I then set the wool in water without using a soaping agent.

When dry I used some turmeric and white vinegar mixed with water to dye this wool and again set it to dry.


The end result? Well it is wool. It stayed in one piece and it gave me hope for what practice would result in! plus with the amount I had, I made a fancy new coat for my cat!


All this taught me that although you can learn a hell of a lot from youtube and the internet, there is no substitute for hands on practice from experienced people.

That’s what lead me to find http://www.esgwsd.org.uk/ – East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I arrived as a guest with my three month old strapped to my chest to a community hall and on very first impressions I admit I texted my husband to come back as I would  not be staying long.

How wrong could I have been? Instantly I had offers of help and friendly conversation. I was introduced around and left in the hands of a lovely lady called Sandy – Part of me thinks she might be a bit of a rebel in the group, she was impressed I was so happy to breastfeed in public and wished people would have been so accepting when she were younger, we got told off for chatting too loudly during a show and tell section and best of all, she taught us how to ply wool, how to use a spinning wheel and offered to have me and another lady round to hers to learn for another day. Nothing was too much for her offering help. Even to borrow a spinning wheel for half a year. It is rare that you find such a group of genuine people who share a love of a craft and want to share that love, not covet it and keep it as a “Just us” group.

Another lady was more than happy to sit with my son and hold him whilst I tried out the wheel which was a massive help! What turned into expecting to stay for ten mins turned into staying until the end of the day.

I returned home with a renewed confidence knowing that the fourth attempt I had taken with me to show, was spun nicely and was a huge improvement. If I can improve that much in only three attempts, I am excited for what I can produce going forward!

And my wool that I took to show? This is how it turned out. I think it is due to make a nice basket to hold projects on the go in.


So don’t be afraid to look into local groups or knitting groups, if they aren’t a welcoming bunch then I don’t think they can call themselves wool lovers!



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