Doubts on Handspinning

I spin in the worsted manner. Mainly because I don’t know how to spin in the woolen manner. I’m not even sure I understand the difference.

My latest handspun:

The specs:
Spun from Shetland pencil roving
Spun on my Jenkins Turkish spindle
Singles spun in lace weight (though not at first – I got better as I went along) and plied together
Each yarn cake weighs 1 ounce
Left cake is 35 yards
Right cake is 66 yards (This is the yarn I am happiest with).

By the way, does anybody have any advice on how I can label the yarn I spin up? Right now, I am using Ravelry’s stash tool in order to remember the yardage on each skein and what it was spun from. I would love to pick up a skein of yarn and know instantly what it is.

Back to my spinning rant: I spin slowly, inching my way along. Though I was starting to pick up speed with the Shetland pencil roving, I’m back at the starting line with the alpaca locks I am currently working on.

I do little to no preparation work on the alpaca locks. All I do is tease the locks open and lay them neatly in a row on a table next to my spinning chair. I haven’t even washed the locks, but I plan to next time around. My hands get so filthy during the spinning process.

The gorgeous green mohair roving is from WhorlingTides. I am using her hand-dyed mohair as a set of training wheels, so to speak, in my attempt to learn how to spin alpaca from the locks. I tried spinning the locks on their own, but I became so frustrated. They were slippery and had more desire to fly away than be spun into yarn. The mohair is acting as a sticky tape, for lack of a better analogy.

I read a lot of forums and emails from other spinners about how quickly they can chew through 4 ounces of roving. I have been working slowly and steadily on my mohair/alpaca yarn for about two weeks now and I think I am going to be lucky to get 5 yards out of it. I must be doing something wrong.

I’ve tried to follow the common advice of “Just Relax and Let Go”, but then I don’t get the consistent weight that I want. Right now, it is more important to me that I am consistent and that I enjoy what I am doing. (I often catch myself smiling down at my spindle full of yarn). I can only hope that the speed will come.

I am determined to get better. My wonderful MIL called me yesterday to tell me about the fabulous birthday present she found for me: fleece. Not just any fleece: llama. OMG, I can’t wait to touch it, smell it, bury my face in it, and then eventualy spin it.

Jake has been a wonderful support to me during my hours of spinning, especially when I become frustrated.

He lays right in front of my spinning chair.

PS. Poor Jake woke up sick this morning. He spent a good hour spitting up all over the green carpet. (I knew there was a reason I hadn’t pulled up the green carpet yet.) I have no idea what was wrong. Thankfully, he’s feeling better now, but sleepy.


5 thoughts on “Doubts on Handspinning

  1. I admire your perseverance.It looks so hard to spin. I am having trouble with socks pattern, so think it;s terrific you are getting this new taskunderyour belt!

  2. Poor Jake, I am so glad he is feeling better.
    Re your spinning trouble, have you thought about sticking with an easy medium wool to spin until you pick up speed. Alpaca and mohair are much harder to spin and I never even thought about them until I was reasonably “accomplished” on sheep’s wool. The slippery factor can be hard to master as a beginner even after you have spun sheep wool for awhile. Don’t fret, you will succeed!

  3. Keep at it, I love your pics. Looks very nice, I don’t have any advice on keeping things straight. Sounds like it is more difficult to spin. Keep at it. I didn’t buy any alpaca yet, I am keeping my eye on your progress.
    I love the colors!

  4. You know, every time you blog about your spinning I have no idea what you’re talking about but it makes me want to learn. Hope Jake is feeling better now. Poor puppy.

  5. I agree that trying some starting wools might be helpful before you slip into the tricky stuff. Also, I know you’ve already heard it before but relax and know that some day it will just hit you and you will have so much yarn you won’t know what to do with it. I have a whole bag of yarn (if that’s what you want to call it) that I made for a few months before I got the hang of it. I keep it around to remind me of how far I’ve come in the past few years.

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