Spinner and Knitter



I first learned to knit from my sainted grandmother about 40 years ago.  She knit mostly blankets, gloves and socks in simple stockinette with the occasional cable.  I knit a bit as a boy but let it go as I was looked upon rather oddly back in the early sixties.  I got back to it 25 years later when I moved out to the countryside and began raising sheep as a hobby.  I taught myself to shear (badly), spin and dye the wool.  That era is now also in the past, and I was away from the wool again for some years.  Now living in the city I found myself craving to spin and knit again, so finally I gave in and dragged out my old equipment a couple  of months ago.  I had to relearn things I had forgotten.  The spinning came back quickly.  I spun up a bunch of yarn ( rather unevenly, but that's ok for relearning ) bu then mad the mistake of dying it up with RIT dye.  I spent weeks knitting a cardigan ( my first ) which came out like something produced by Omar the tentmaker as I skipped knitting a gauage swatch.  But that was ok as it was a practice exercise.  The big disappointment was when I washed it and the color faded and left it looking like something that had been well worn for twenty years!  Presently I am spinning up some more yarn from wool which I have dyed with a good quality acid dye, and will then knit another cardigan in stripes of deep purple, slate blue with a black trim.  I am blending together wool, silk and mohair on my drum carder for this yarn.


JPaul's picture

It's great to hear from other spinners on the site, Albert.  I'm just learning to spin, myself.  I bought a drop spindle and immediately wanted to jump in and by a wheel.  I decided I needed to slow down a bit, so I'm still looking for a wheel, but I have also committed myself to becoming proficient with a drop spindle in the mean time and I'm hoping to spin some decent sock yarn.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm really enjoying myself.

Any words of wisdom for the novice spinner from those of you on the site who have been doing it for a while?

Glad to know there are several of us spinners on this list.

I've been spinning for about 7 years now, maybe 8, and I have 2 wheels and about a half dozen spindles...


Advice for a novice? Find a guild or other such group and try out all the wheels you can before you buy one. That's how I got my first wheel, and Ashford Joy. My other wheel is a Timbertops Beaver and I'm currently talking to Alden Amos about another one! 

ulf's picture

If you haven't tried a spinningwheel called Louët you should look them up. It's a dutch spinningwheel with a modern design focused on functionality. It's not the most pretty wheel but very easy to use and easy to learn. Personally I prefer my old wheel from the 19th centery but old spinningwheels always spinns yarn that are hard spun. With new spinningwheels, and especially Louët, you can spinn all kind of yarn.

JPaul's picture

Thanks Ulf.  The Louët S17 is high on my list just based on it's lower price.  I'm glad the wheels get a favorable review from you.  That's good information to have.

ulf's picture

If You are familiar with Louet you probably know this already but the wheel is sort of high-tech. The round hole on the wheel balance the wheel so that it can stand still whenever needed. Other wheels stops when the pedal (?) is down becourse of the wheight. The hole in the wheel balance the weight so that it has the same weight all the way round. And no, I'm don't get payed from Louët :-)

albert's picture


Glad you've taken th plunge into spinning- it's addictive and a hell of a lot of fun.  My advice:  get a wheel, as you will be able to spin the quantities you need much faster.  Also, if you are going to get into dyeing, you will have more flexability colorwise if you dye the fiber before carding and spinning.  Don't be afraid of felting the fiber in the dyeing process, as it is some work to felt it when you intend to.