January Spinning: Low Whorl Drop Spindle, Wool from Utah

What started as raw fiber from Utah of an unknown sheep breed (maybe Corriedale or Romney?) that was already scoured and drum carded-- a gift from Carson's mom she bought from a farmer-- and a low whorl drop spindle that I picked up at the goodwill for 99 cents (SCORE!):

With a lot of love, time and effort slowly became this, tightly spun singles of a fiber that contained a lot of vegetable matter and bits of poop that I picked out and turned into basic yarn. I spun at home, on the bus, on my lunch breaks, and at the bar. This spindle is a workhorse and put up with our travels together.

After what seemed like AGES (I started this spinning in June 2010), I finally finished spun the entire batch of fiber and prepared for plying. I chose 2-ply as my method and used the same 3.5 oz spindle. I plied in the all the same places, plus with friends. In fact, I was sitting at one friend's house spinning awkwardly on the couch when I remembered she has a balcony over her stairwell in the loft. I ran up there and immediately was plying three to four times more (think 3-4 feet of space vs. ~12 feet) and used the “butterfly” method for crawling the spindle back up to me. This was mind blowing and extremely efficient. I also transitioned from plying the singles off sticks in jars (really, over sized knitting needles) to plying from the two ends of a center-pull ball of yarn I wound on the nostepinne. Also awesome!

A joyous occasion it was when the entire batch was plied. I wound the yarn onto my niddy noddy, counted the number of repeats and secured the yarn by tying sections of yarn in 4 different places. I was a little worried that I had over spun the yarn either during the initial spinning or plying, or possibly both. Numerous resources assured me that extra twist in the fiber would be worked out when I set the twist by washing/soaking, the next step in the process. Forgive me for the discolored photos. I was excited and took these pictures late in the night.

And tonight I came home to this! A penny is used in this photo to accurately display the diameter of the yarn. The yarn weight is pretty consistent, the twist fairly balanced, and because I gave the wet fiber a proper thwacking (whipping it against the edge of the tub to get a bit of fluff into it and a nice halo from the fiber) there is even some loft to the yarn. Overall, I am pleased.

And to think this is only my second fully completed hand spun hank of yarn. I've got a sturdy worsted weight wool of pure beauty.


7140 inches: ~198 yards.
~5 ounces
~10 wpi (wraps per inch)

Now I want a place to comfortably spin over a ledge with only a fall-preventing barrier that comes up to me knees, or a giant hole in the floor that drops really far down, with a comfy seat right on top. I finally understand the story of the Andean girls spinning over cliff edges that is told in my spindle spinning book,  Respect the Spindle.

PS. A couple of pretty action shots from Carson when our friends came to visit.

And another view.


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