Spinning Wheels

I’ve been teaching a neighbor and her cousin how to spin the last two weeks. Originally the neighbor’s mom asked how much I would charge to teach someone to spin. Ummm…. I don’t charge! There are some things that I do just because I enjoy them. I won’t charge to teach them because I don’t want to turn a fun hobby into a business. I just want to enjoy it and I want the other person to ejoy it, too.

I started with the drop spindle because that is the way I learned. I think it is much easier to draft and let the twist travel up while you are holding the spindle still. Then spin the drop spindle a bit to twist the yarn, hold it still, and let the twist travel up the draft. Once you get the hang of how the drafting feels when using a drop spindle, it is much easier to move to the spinning wheel.

My drop spindles are all home-made, not hand crafted. You can see the dowel going through a circular wooden stand I bought at Wal*Mart. Hubby drilled a hole in the center of the stand and I sharpened the bottom of the dowel with a knife.

At the top of the dowel I drilled a small pilot hole and then screwed in a small cup hook. I sanded everything smooth, but I did not do a fantastic job of it. I just got most of the rough edges off. Since I used these drop spindles when I teach in elementary schools, I also penciled an arrow (not in the picture) to show which direction to spin the spindle.

Since I haven’t taught spinning in a long time, I had to review the beginning techniques for spinning. I found this great YouTube video. Spinning 101 on Knitting Daily TV Episode 213. She goes through the basics in the video and even uses an Ashford Saxony wheel.

The hardest thing to get used to on the spinning wheel is keeping the wheel going at a smooth, steady pace and drafting the fiber at the same time. It takes a bit of coordination until you get the hang of it.

My wheel is an Ashford Traveler and I love it. It has the double drive assembly, but I usually use the scotch tension because it is easier to adjust. Maybe one day I will upgrade to a double treadle spinning wheel (maybe a Schacht). I haven’t had any problems with mine so I’m not ready to ‘fix what ain’t broke”. My Traveler is about 17 or 18 years old and has spun lots of yarn without any trouble.

This is my wheel, an Ashford Traveller.
The flyer assembly. Many years ago the original string broke. I replaced it with Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn. Works like a charm! Someone told me I should rub the yarn with beeswax so it would have more grip. I haven’t, but I suppose that if it slipped alot I would give that a try.

Usually the spring and summer time is filled with outdoor activities like weeding and gardening. But this spring has blessed us with so much rain that I’ve been back indoors enjoying knitting, spinning, reading, and playing guitar.

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