High Whorl

I intended to post more often than once a week… oops! This post has been brewing since the weekend, and there’s not too much to show off yet, but I’ll have more in a few days.

Thanks to both The Fiber Diaries and Freshgroundknits, I caved in to a new hobby the other day.

At Yarns, Etc., I bought a drop spindle, which my internet research indicated was a high-whorl spindle, something I discovered after the fact when I finally realized that the hook was on the other end from spindles I’ve seen in the past (low whorl spindles). See both types, plus a Navajo spindle, something I know nothing about, here.

And a photo of my goods, the spindle plus 4oz. of light grey alpaca top.

alpaca top and spindle

[Top is animal fiber that is cleaned, carded so all the fibers are flowing in the same direction, and then packaged in a way that keeps it neat and ready to pluck for spinning.]

I meant to start with some corriedale perhaps, but I had to have the top and spindle right then, and all that was on offer was alpaca, lovely dyed blue faced leicester, and some silk! So, alpaca it was.

What amazes me about this experience is first of all that I can pluck a bit off the alpaca and if I pull the right way, a natural 6-inch length of fibers comes off – like when you snap the end off an asparagus spear, and your fingers find just the right spot if you let them.


[Note: if you have, in the past, cut asparagus ends off with a knife, try the snapping technique – it ensures that you don’t spend your meal gnawing at that extra-fibrous bit that didn’t come off…]

The other amazing aspect is that all I have to do is spin, pull, spin, pull, wrap onto the spindle, and voila! I have some yarn!

Steps I haven’t taken yet:
— Skeining yarn from spindle
— Plying yarn – though mine is already worsted weight
— ‘Setting the twist,’ i.e. washing and drying

I don’t know how far 4oz. of alpaca will go. So far, I have only enough to knit a cat toy, but I’m hoping for enough to knit more than a hat, and I’m planning to stock up on more of the same top.


2 thoughts on “High Whorl

  1. I found your blog through the comment you left on Lene’s blog, and I wanted to let you know I’m enjoying reading it. I too learned to spin last August. It’s very addicting. 🙂 It looks like you’re off to a good start. You should get lots of yarn from 4 oz which when you think about it, really is alot of fiber.

    Scrumptious asparagus picture!

    Such a lovely sweater and wonderful thoughts about your grandmother in your following blog.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I wish that I could claim credit for the asparagus photo, but as per the link, I borrowed it from asparagus.org.

    4oz. does seem like a lot of fiber, but then again, the pink cardigan in the other post calls for 9oz, and it’s a lightweight garment. It’s not easy to switch between thinking in yardage or meters to thinking about weight.

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