Let The Spin Party Begin

I’ve had a spinning wheel for some 10 years (or thereabouts) but I still consider myself a new spinner.

I originally received my Kromski Sonata as a birthday gift, and was ecstatic. I spun like crazy, and got reasonably good at it – I was able to spin relatively consistently, and I was getting the yarn I wanted.

Then, the unthinkable happened (queue dramatic music) – I suffered a truly ridiculous injury that caused some tendon and nerve damage to my wrist. Now, when I say ridiculous I don’t mean that it was trifling. I actually had to wear a brace for months, and had all sorts of doctors appointments and physio along with nerve testing (where they zap the nerves with electricity – that was fun). No, when I say ridiculous I mean I fell in a really dumb way, and if I hadn’t tried to grab something when I fell, it probably would have been, at most, a mild sprain.

So, that put the kibosh on spinning (and knitting for that matter) for a while. I took up the knitting again a lot faster than the spinning. The whole escapade was years ago at this point, but I didn’t start spinning again until just a few weeks ago.

And my god, spinning, how I have missed you!

Handspun natural brown alpaca – 226 yds of sport weight delight.

I felt like I had gotten to a pretty good point in my spinning before my sabbatical, but those skills have waned a bit, so I’m trying to re-learn techniques over again. But, I’m nothing if not stubborn, and I’m hell bent on getting back to where I was (and surpassing it, for that matter).

I have a bit of a longer game planned though.

I’ve also purchased two pounds (1 lb Corriedale and 1 lb Cheviot), not only to further practice on, but with the hopes of trying my hand at natural dyeing this summer.

I don’t recall exactly what sparked the interest, but a few weeks ago I decided that this would be my new project (and skill) to learn this summer. Actually, I’d get started now, but I find it easier to air dry hanks of yarn outside, rather than inside the house, and right now it’s -15C and snowing, so that’s not going to happen.

Some sport weight corriedale slated to be dyed.

I do have plans for starting some experiments soon though with colouring – I’ve enlisted family members to start collecting their onion skins, and I’ve started lists of plants I can start sourcing nearby.

My goal is to use plants I can get either locally, either from my garden or in the wild, or things I can get at the grocery store. I don’t plan to actually buy any specific natural dyes. This is partly because I’m cheap, but also the sourcing and experimenting with what I can find myself is something that gives me a bit of a thrill.

The end goal of all of this, the spinning and the dyeing, is to design some knits with these handspun yarns. I love the idea of completely creating something from scratch, and if I lived in the country you’d bet I’d already be looking at animal husbandry. Me living in the country will probably never happen (I’m just not a country person), but sourcing some fibre, spinning it, dyeing it, then designing something special that the yarn speaks to is a process that is really alluring to me.

Stay tuned – this will be a learning and experimental process for me as I go. I’ll be endeavouring to be quite thorough and take lots of notes, which I’ll be sharing here on the blog for those that might want to follow along and experiment themselves.