Humble Pie

Back in June I bought some alpaca top and a drop spindle. For a while there, I didn’t touch it. It’s been hot, the fiber is delicious but sheds, and I ached in a funny way the days after I would spin.

But buying a copy of Spin It: Making Yarn From Scratch got me back into the groove. I read a few pages about technique, which helped a whole lot compared to my previous attitude of driving like a guy without asking directions. I was having trouble keeping the yarn on the spindle though, so I took off what I had spun and wound it on my niddy-noddy, which helped me measure – a whopping 36 yards for all that work.

The diagrams indicated that I’d been winding the spun yarn in the wrong direction, so correcting that sped things up a bit. And the book explained that leaving the yarn on the bobbin for a few days can help set the twist, but I followed the directions for wetting and drying it anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll have enough dry alpaca yarn for one whole mitten! And I spun a bit more, which is slightly finer than the initial batch.

I actually bought another pound or so of this top, thinking that one day I’ll have enough for a jacket. Well. At this rate, I am not making any promises.

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4 thoughts on “Humble Pie

  1. winding the spun yarn in the wrong direction? I thought there was no such thing, just s-twist and z-twist. oh, you mean on the niddy-noddy?

    I’ve realized that if I want to get anything spun fast I need a wheel.

  2. Actually, I think I’ve decided that it’s how I wind it onto the spindle, not in which direction. It seemed to work better if the yarn was coming from the middle of the spindle shaft, rather than just underneath the round disc, and I had to pull it taut and spin right away. It was more of a problem when I had more yarn wound on already.

    You are right, I need a wheel too. Mary Anne of Three Waters Farm rents them by the week, I heard.

  3. I had a bunch of mohair and almost exactly the same spindle that I bought last year. They too sat around for months before I tried to spin anything. I found that the spun yarn was chunky and unfortunate looking . . . oh and also almost instantly unraveled despite hanging out on the spindle for weeks.
    How long do you soak it for?

  4. Taima,

    How was your twist on that yarn? It shouldn’t unravel if it’s twisted enough. I soaked mine for “a few minutes.” Instructions say use room temperature water so as not to felt and gentle dish soap, a few drops, mixed in but not sudsy. Lay yarn in water, but allow to sink on its own. Give a couple gentle squeezes, refill with fresh water at room temp, let soak again for a few, again with the gentle squeezes, and then roll in a towel to squeeze out excess. You can either dry by laying on a towel or hanging somewhere. I hung mine and draped a hand towel over the bottom of the skein to increase the likelihood that the yarn wouldn’t twist up on itself.

    The unanswered question is whether it’s bad to leave on the spindle for weeks. Mine said a few days would help set the twist, but Amy who got me started said that it could work against you if setting too long. Maybe this is what happened?

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