Six Things I Learned At My Spinning Retreat

As a beginning spinner I am always learning things that surprise me.  I attended a spinning retreat in Northern Indiana recently and some things I learned amazed me.

1.  Some spinners think it’s easier to spin a thin yarn than a bulky.  Along with this goes the belief that it’s difficult to control the thickness of the yarn.  I am NOT an expert spinner by any means, but I know the secret.  It’s nothing glamorous and your parents and grandparents knew it.  It’s practice!  Simply practice spinning different types of yarns to get better control.  Along with this goes acceptance of what you make.  Let go of the need for perfection.  Things made by humans cannot be perfect.  I think even DaVinci had days he felt that everything he made was junk!

Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.
Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.  I Just Thought It Was Yarn.

2.  Some spinners don’t like to knit.  They make yarn and save it or give it away.  That amazes me.  But see the next point to understand about giving away precious handspun yarn.

3.  Spinners are generous.  As a newbie (first time I attended), I received a gift that included two rovings and some llama fiber.  Someone else gave me a beautiful handmade shawl pin.  When I asked to buy a second one for a friend she would not accept payment and insisted on giving it to me.

The spinners donated an enormous pile of hand knit outerwear to a women’s shelter in Gary, Indiana.  Some of them knit all year long and fill shopping bags and totes full of hats, gloves, scarves, socks, children’s wear.  They’ll never meet the recipients or hear a thank you from them.

They also created a piece of art when they yarn bombed an old chair.  It was given to an art studio.

I love these people!

4.  Other spinners love to try new things too.  There were spinners teaching themselves to spin coils, to spin bulky yarns, to chain ply.  I sold many rolags to people who were excited to try them.  Here’s one that sold.

I Called This One Tokyo Nights.
I Called This One Tokyo Nights.

I will see the buyer regularly, can’t wait to see what she created.

5.  I can spin without hurting myself!  This is marvelous news.  For a long time I didn’t understand how to stay pain free when spinning.  I’ll blog about it soon.

6.  My yarns don’t have to look like everyone else’s.  They are still beautiful.  Most of the spinners were spinning, white, cream, gray or black wool into fingering or worsted weight yarn.  I was spinning bright batts and hand dyed rovings into colorful super bulky yarn.  And that’s ok!

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I Started With This Batt.

 

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I Ended Up With This Yarn.

One of the things I enjoy most about spinning is the endless opportunities for learning.  I plan to attend the retreat again next year.  I’m looking forward to seeing all my new friends again, and immersing myself in three days of spinning and learning.

Batts – Eye Candy For Hand Spinners

We now have more spinning batts in the Etsy shop.  This post is eye candy for hand spinners, showing off our a few of the new batts.  As a hand spinner or a wannabe hand spinner, you love color and texture, and batts have them in spades.  Be sure to scroll down for a little encouragement to try them (free shipping!)

These batts can be spun on a spinning wheel or hand spindle.  See this post for more information on getting started if you are a newbie.  There is a great guest post from Carla Hanson here too.

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Iris Garden – Hand Dyed BFL, Sari Silk, Alpaca, Silk, Faux Cashmere
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Vita – Hand Dyed Wool, Alpaca and Sari Silk
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Sand And Sea Glass – Hand Dyed Wool, Fawn Alpaca, Sparkle
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Hyacinth -BFl, Bamboo, Border Leicester Locks, Silk, Sari Silk
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Kachina Doll – Superwash Merino, Rambouillet, Mohair, Silk, Polwarth, Sari Silk

Aren’t they gorgeous?  To tempt you even further,  in February we pay your shipping when you purchase 2 or more of our spinning fibers.  This includes batts, rovings and rolags.  Look here to see them all. Use coupon code FREESHIP2FIBERS to get free shipping.

Spinning is the perfect activity for these long days of winter. Find some time to sit down with your wheel or a hand spindle and enjoy these beautiful batts.

 

Fun With Spinning Batts

I have been experimenting with creating  batts on my new drum carder.  I haven’t made an ugly one yet, I actually don’t think it’s possible.


IMG_5699 IMG_5704 IMG_5715  Here are some yarns I’ve recently spun from my batts.  The top and bottom were done on a hand spindle, the middle one on my wheel.

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A few tips to get started:

Let the batt be the yarn it wants to be.  Don’t get hung up on spinning a super thin, super smooth yarn.  This is the time for having fun with the chunky, highly textured art yarn you’ve been wanting to create.

My favorite easy and quick method for spinning a batt on a hand spindle is to tear it in strips, predraft the strips, roll them into balls, and then spin them one by one.  Depending on the batt you can break off where needed to blend a different color or fiber into the yarn.  If desired, you can pull out little sections while predrafting and put them aside to add at strategic points.

Check out this guest post from Carla Hansen, she’s an expert spinner with lots of in depth advice on different techniques.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  Just begin!

If you’ve always wanted to play with spinning batts, but didn’t really know how to get started, or if you’ve tried them in the past and didn’t love the yarn you got, I urge you to try now.  Here’s a link to the batts in my etsy store, but there are many beautiful batts available all over Etsy.  Pick one and get started.  Have fun and be open to the beautiful, unique results!

My First Guest Post – Knitting With Hand Spun Yarns

Celebrate with me!  I recently wrote my first guest post for another blog.  This is a big milestone for me.  I hope you’ll read my post.  I wrote about using hand spun yarn.  Check it out here on the Purple Lamb blog.

Carla Hansen owns Purple Lamb.   Her Etsy store is full of beautiful spinning fiber and hand spun yarns to die for.  Here are a few pictures of her creations to lust over.

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Beautiful Batts To Spin

 

bouquet yarn
Glorious Hand Spun Yarn

 

Let me know in the comments if you have questions about knitting with hand spun yarns.  I’d love to hear your tips too!