Sunday, June 3, 2012

Learning to Spin

So, something that I've been doing and not blogging about is spinning.  More specifically, I am teaching myself to spin yarn, mostly on spindles.  I started this learning this past October, and the Internet with all its resources has been an amazing learning tool.

At the moment I have three yarns in progress: a beautiful tropical colored Polwarth roving that I'm putting on my Turkish drop spindle, a pink and blue Border Leicester/Merino/Silk blend on my new wheel, and naturally fawn-colored cotton on my tahkli.  At the moment I'm mostly focusing on the cotton.

The tahkli supported spindle hails from India, and it's designed to spin very fine threads from short, fine fibers.  It's typically made out of metal and has a pointy end, so most people prefer to spin it in a bowl.  I bought my tahkli at this year's Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and I am incredibly happy with it.  It spins so quickly and smoothly, and it makes cotton spinning so easy!  I was afraid cotton was going to be really difficult to spin, but it's not so bad.  I still have trouble making a perfectly even thread, but I have the same trouble spinning wool yarns too.  Hopefully as I practice it will get better.

Even better, spinning cotton on the tahkli is portable and extremely relaxing.  It's almost a zen process.  I bought some cheap plastic cases that artists use to carry paint brushes, and my spindle and some fiber fit in there very nicely for outings.  The only thing that doesn't fit is my bowl, so I either have to get a bigger case or a smaller bowl if I want everything to be perfect.

Here's the cotton that I've spun so far, still on the tahkli.

It looks really pretty in the picture, but if you really look at the thread I'm producing, it's not very even.  I hope it will look pretty after it's been plied and washed.  I still have plenty of cotton to spin, though, so I won't be done for a while.  Two ounces goes a really long way when you're spinning so thin!

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