Thursday, May 9, 2013


When something new and exciting happens, I usually share it here, but for the last few months I've been too distracted by that new and exciting thing to actually get some photos up. Back in January, I went to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. There was a lady there with a really great stall selling funky yarn and these little bags of what looked like fiber geodes. She has an Etsy store called Loop.

The colors were so good, SO GOOD, that I bought one even though I'd never really spun anything before.

In early February I could not wait any longer and went looking around the house for something to turn into a drop spindle. It had to be balanced on its own and able to fit around a 1/4" dowel with a hook.

Some people favor CDs or the tops of Chinese food containers. I ended up disassembling an auto returning yoyo, it's smaller in diameter than a CD, well balanced, and it has cool clear plastic parts. You can see the neon colors and now nonfunctional springs.

I started with the spindle, thick at first and eventually thinner. Because of how the fiber was prepped, there were no lumpy bits. The center pull, pre drafted merino silk sparkle blend was perfect to learn on.

 Now I have about 400 yards of this 3 ply yarn. It took about 2 months to spin and another 2 weeks to ply using the Navajo plying method. If some of these terms are foreign to you, that's good, because I don't really know about this stuff either. In the next few months, I will be posting some videos of these techniques.

Seeing how soft, fine yarn was so easy to make, I started to experiment. All that was in the house was this really rough, course core fiber that is usually only used for needle felting. I dyed it with food coloring, and spun the yarn for these swatches:

This is a 2 ply fingering weight yarn made from one section of roving dyed in a gradient then split down the middle.

It's a good example of "breaking" or splitting the color of Wilton black foodcoloring.

And this is a 3 ply fingering yarn spun from roving dyed in a red orange and blue color.

Close up, you can see that the plies are not all the same color at the same time.

After completing these swatches, I couldn't stop. I went ahead and ordered some superfine merino fiber from Paradise Fibers with the intention of spinning a sweater.

We will see how that goes...

If you are feeling inspired to start spinning your own yarn and have questions for a beginner about beginning, please leave a comment. I hope to go into more depth in the future, possibly in the form of a video tutorial and your feedback will shape the content.


  1. I have been thinking about buying a drop spindle but now you have me thinking of just making my own. Great photos!

  2. Wow! Would love to hear more about it - particularly about dyeing to get those gradients (breaking and splitting?), and keeping the gradient in the spun yarn... Love your work.

  3. Your yarn is so lovely and even. Are you sure you've only been spinning since February? :)

    The spindle looks so fun and so do your dyeing experiments. I'd love to see how you pulled it off.

  4. I will be showing the gradient roving again when i remember what i did....

    April, I kind of lied. In 2010 I tried spinning once for a college course on women in medieval art. I couldn't understand the manuscripts too well and made a drop spindle with no whorl. I spun some red and white yarn that broke a lot when i tried to knit it.

    The proper tools help a lot.


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