Author Topic: Yarn spinning  (Read 3626 times)

Hellchick

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Yarn spinning
« on: July 29, 2009, 05:14:10 PM »
Hello, everyone!

I'm kind of new to TSP and the forums. I thought by way of introduction I'd post a DIY project I'm frequently engaged in: spinning my own yarn. Is anyone else here a handspinner?

I knit as well so most of the yarn I spin is of knitting weight. But I'm working on honing my skills (I've been a spinner for a few years now) so that I can spin sewing thread. I figure that while yarn is useful, it would also be useful to be able to make my own thread, you know?

I'm also interested in going the opposite direction and learning how to make my own rope. I'm not sure if I have the materials readily available to do it -- I spin my own yarn from the alpacas that I own, and I don't know if their wool would make suitable rope but I really want to try. I'm thinking of growing plants that would give me the right fiber to make rope from and trying to actually make rope literally from the ground up.

I got my first alpacas this year, and the three of them provide me with my own fleece from which I can spin my own yarn. I'm documenting two projects with photos from start to finish here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/law.caryn/SpinningProjectSilverton#
http://picasaweb.google.com/law.caryn/SpinningProjectCinnamon#

Now, I know what you might be thinking: how much of a survival skill could spinning your own yarn REALLY be? I didn't see any threads about it before posting this so I wondered if maybe it wasn't really considered one. But I consider it a survival skill in a number of ways:

1. It produces useful and durable clothing. Let me give you an example: my ex-husband used to go through store-bought socks like they were diapers on a baby -- he worked hard and wore his socks out so quickly that I was constantly replacing them. That was a lot of money. On top of that, we lived in Wyoming and while his boots were waterproof they weren't exactly warm and he really wanted socks that would keep his feet warm. So I finally sat down and over the course of a few days I handknit him several pairs of wool socks, reinforced with nylon in both the toes and heels. It took him two years to wear through them, and they were very warm. Both the nylon and the wool are easily handspun if you know how to do it. Handknit items always seem to last FOREVER, even when you use it as work clothing.

2. It produces useful thread or yarn. Yarn, thread, and rope can be used in so many ways for so many essential things. To be able to easily make up a bunch of it on the fly with materials that my homestead provides me is a pretty cool thing.

3. It's a barter/money-making skill. If people for some reason found it harder to get clothing, thread, yarn, or rope, I could use this skill as something to barter with. Clothing is pretty essential, especially warm clothing in cold climates, so not only could I spin yarn, thread, or make rope and barter that, I could create those items and then knit them into useful clothing for people.

Anyway, I wondered if anyone else is a spinner or has a spouse who is.

Love the forum and podcast so far!

- HC

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 06:27:12 PM »
First of all, WELCOME!!!!! ;D  (yippee yahoo more knitters for meeeeee!)

What do you mean when you say that you spin yarn at "knitting weight"?  There are lots and lots of knitting weights.  There's super-bulky, bulky, DK, aran, worsted (which is just DK by a different name, basically), fingering, and so on down to what might be considered thread rather than yarn.

Do you also dye your own yarn?

And yes, of course spinning yarn is a survival skill!  We've been talking about how much we all in the Needles & Strings circle want to learn how to do it for a while now, so this post is ESPECIALLY exciting!  Thank you for the links!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 06:32:37 PM by Sister Wolf »

Hellchick

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 06:47:14 PM »
Woops! What I meant by "knitting weight" was worsted weight down to fingering/lace weight -- in other words, not sewing thread, but I'd love to be able to spin it that fine!

Hellchick

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 06:50:06 PM »
Also, how did I TOTALLY miss the Needles & Strings subforum! Sorry about that, thanks for moving the topic!

Hellchick

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2009, 06:52:17 PM »
Do you also dye your own yarn?

And yes, of course spinning yarn is a survival skill!  We've been talking about how much we all in the Needles & Strings circle want to learn how to do it for a while now, so this post is ESPECIALLY exciting!  Thank you for the links!

I do indeed dye my own yarn, sometimes. I use Jacquard Acid Dye that I buy in a store, but I'd really love to learn to make my own dyes from natural compounds and try that.

It's too bad all of you don't live near me, I'd gladly teach you all to spin. If you need some resources to get started, though, I should be able to point you in the right direction. There are TONS of videos on how to spin all over YouTube.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2009, 06:54:30 PM »
I just wanted all of you knitting survivalist to know how much I appreciate that someone is keeping these ancient skills alive. Even though I don't have the patience for it, I have many fond memories of my Granny knitting and crocheting when I was a child. I loved to sit and watch her working on her projects. We had many sweaters and caps she made for my brothers and me. Also, during this time she would tell me stories of the old days and she passed on a lot of wisdom she had learned during her life. She was a great influence on me. Thank you for these threads (Oops, a pun slipped in while I was being serious.) SW, I have read all of the thread you have started and responded to on this subject, because of the wonderful memories of my Granny they bring back.

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2009, 12:18:51 AM »
Woops! What I meant by "knitting weight" was worsted weight down to fingering/lace weight -- in other words, not sewing thread, but I'd love to be able to spin it that fine!

Oh totally cool!  You spin all the useful weights then!  HOW NEAT!!!  Do you sell your hand-spun yarn?  I'd much rather purchase my yarn from a budding forum member than from the internet! :)

Also, how did I TOTALLY miss the Needles & Strings subforum! Sorry about that, thanks for moving the topic!

It's easy to miss, but you got damn close to it, and that made it easy for me to spot (that and my hubby was like "HEY! THERE IS A SPINNING THREAD! NIFTY FOR YOU!") It's not an issue at all that you missed it.  Now that you know it's here, you'll be a postin' fool.  :)

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2009, 12:20:30 AM »
I just wanted all of you knitting survivalist to know how much I appreciate that someone is keeping these ancient skills alive. Even though I don't have the patience for it, I have many fond memories of my Granny knitting and crocheting when I was a child. I loved to sit and watch her working on her projects. We had many sweaters and caps she made for my brothers and me. Also, during this time she would tell me stories of the old days and she passed on a lot of wisdom she had learned during her life. She was a great influence on me. Thank you for these threads (Oops, a pun slipped in while I was being serious.) SW, I have read all of the thread you have started and responded to on this subject, because of the wonderful memories of my Granny they bring back.

Thanks, TexDaddy.  I agree about the memories - they come back for me too.  I just wish that I had had the same appreciation for those homemade things when I was a wee thing.  I had no idea how special they were back then.  I'd love to go back and thank my great grandma for all of the awesome things she made for me growing up.  :)

Hellchick

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2009, 10:34:21 AM »
Oh totally cool!  You spin all the useful weights then!  HOW NEAT!!!  Do you sell your hand-spun yarn?  I'd much rather purchase my yarn from a budding forum member than from the internet! :)

I do! I'm on etsy.com as Hellchick. I don't think I have anything up for sale at the moment, but now that I have some time off between contract jobs I'm using it to build up a selling batch.

Offline Mullers Lane Farm

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Re: Yarn spinning
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2010, 10:05:17 PM »
I'm reviving this thread as I am a spinner & weaver also

It is said it takes 10 sheep to supply 1 handspinner
and
10 hand spinners to supply 1 weaver.

I don't own any fiber animals, but purchase from area shepherds & shepherdress'.  I do dye my own fiber with acid dyes and natural dyes.

(Also knit, crochet & tat)