Part One: Adventures in Spinning

Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.”

–Susan B. Anthony

 I’m not sure I would agree with Susan B. Anthony’s assessment of the spinning wheel.  I rather agree with the sentiments expressed by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

“I know that spinning sets me in a trance; it soothes me and charges my batteries at the same time. When times are tough I sit down to spin during the news-broadcasts, with therapeutic results.”
― Elizabeth Zimmermann

My adventures in spinning began with a homemade drop spindle, one I made from a dowel rod, a cup hook, and an old CD.

My home made drop spindle.
My home made drop spindle.

I was getting pretty good on it and decided to step it up by getting a spinning wheel.  My spinning wheel is a modern design with a double treadle.  I won’t say it’s better than the traditional style wheel; I just liked the looks of it.

My spinning wheel
My spinning wheel
Spinning starts with fiber carded into strips called roving.  I then separate the roving into smaller strands.
Spinning starts with fiber carded into strips called roving. I then separate the roving into smaller strands.

As I peddle the wheel, I pull back on the roving with my left hand to thin it out even more.  This is called drafting.  At the same time, I hold the fiber that is already twisted with my right hand.  I pinch the fiber at the point where twist meets the untwisted fiber.  When the fiber is drafted enough, I release my pinched fingers and allow the twist to travel up the untwisted fiber to my left hand.  There are many different styles of spinning and I’m sure every spinner does it slightly different.

The “pinch an inch” style has worked for me.
The “pinch an inch” style has worked for me.
The twisted fiber wound onto the bobbin.
The twisted fiber wound onto the bobbin.
Many, many days, weeks later…I’ve spun all the fiber and have three bobbins full of single ply.
Many, many days, weeks later…I’ve spun all the fiber and have three bobbins full of single ply.

Stay tuned for part two: plying.

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3 thoughts on “Part One: Adventures in Spinning

  1. I am so use to see Pam spin that when she doesn’t spin it doesn’t seem normal. Her spinning sure have calmed her and relaxed her through the ;last few rough months and has kept her focused. I have learned a lot by just observing her how skillfully she makes spinning seem so easy even though it isn’ t. isn’t.

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