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Any Spinners out there?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My mom, bless her heart, got me a spinning wheel for Christmas!!!!! I just got it today, but I have yet to put it together.

I don't have the time or $$ to take classes, so I'm wondering if any seasoned spinners can recommend any good books or videos.

Is there any type of fiber that would be good for a beginner? I prefer to knit with bulky yarns (quick!) I live in a rural area, near an awesome "fiber farm" and I have my choice from sheep to alpaca to yaks to camels!

I'm sooo excited! I'm a knitting addict and the spining wheel will just help feed my addiction even more.

TIA!
post #2 of 8
I have a friend that spins! I've never met anyone else interested in it. I will ask her tomorrow for the title of a good book. Also, if a Renaissance Fair comes to your area go to it and seek out the spinners. That's how my friend got started, now she's in the fair.
(If you don't hear from me soon pm me to remind me.)
post #3 of 8
You're in luck! I spin and love to talk about it. As far as good books go, I'm not up on the latest, but I've heard really good things about Alden Amos's new book The Bib Book of Handspinning. Another great resource is the magazine Spin-Off, published by Interweave Press (www.interweave.com I think).

As far as fiber goes, start on wool!!!! It's definately the easiest to learn on. While I love to prepare my fiber start to finish myself, for a beginner, roving is easier to work with. You should be able to order some fairly easily. If you need sources, let me know and I'll be happy to give you some names.

What kind of a wheel did you get? Let me know and I'll see if I can give you any tips to help make your first efforts a bit more successful!

Happy Spinning!
post #4 of 8
I'm going to stick my nose i this thread.. someone just offered me their navaho sheep (that apparently gives beautiful wool) yesterday! Knitting is what i know best, but would like to learn the steps before that too - like spinning, dyeing and weaving!
Where do you get wheels/looms? Are they very $$$?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's suggestions! I put the wheel together without a hitch and practiced the logisitcs using already spun yarn. My mil gave me a gift certificate to a knitting/spinning/weaving store so my mom, my sil, and I had fun shopping the day after xmas.

I picked up about 10 oz of nice brown wool fleece, a book called "Hands On Spinning", and some Louet hand cards. This afternoon while dd was asleep I practiced making rolags and made my first attempt at spinning. I got making rolags down, as for spinning, good thing I don't give up easily! I'm going to keep pluggin' away at it, and check out for the book WeaverAnn suggested from the library. I'm having disasterous results, but it's fun all the same. If all else fails, there's a one day class coming up in Feb. near my inlaw's house. I really would rather learn with a group anyway. I learned to knit that way, and it was less discouraging watching everyone else make the same mistakes I was.

WeaverAnn--I got an Ashford Traveller, with single drive and double treadle.

post #6 of 8
Parthenia, would you believe I think hand carding and dealing with rollogs to be the hardest part of spinning? I know your first spinning attempts may not look like much, but think of them as "novelty" yarn. It won't be long before you won't be able to duplicate that look for anything!

The Ashford book is probably your best bet for now, since you have an Ashford. You might try to get the Alden Amos book through your library before you buy it since it's really pricy ($40.00). Another book you might want to consider, though, is Essentials of Handspinning by Mabel Ross. I haven't seen that book either, but I've watched one of her videos on advanced spinning techniques and I have one of her other books and they are wonderful!!!

Also, try and find a weaving or spinning guild in your area. Generally, those people are really anxious to help a new fiber person! And you can make some really great fiber friends in the process.

Good luck and let me know if I can help!
post #7 of 8
Mamarain,

The best place (I think) to learn to spin and to check out equipment before really shopping around is to find a weaving or spinning guild in your area. I see that you're located in the Sierra's, so you might want to check out CNCH.org (Conference of Northern California Handweavers). There is a list of guilds by location. If you can attend a few meetings you can see a lot of different types of wheels and learn of any good used ones available in your area. As far as price goes, they run anywhere from free (if you really luck out!) to $200-$300 for a basic wheel and on up to $750 or so for a high end wheel. There is a basic beginner's wheel that I've never seen or spun on but that has gotten good reviews that runs about $125. It's made mostly out of PVC pipe, so it isn't going to be something to put next to the fireplace, but I understand it spins really nice. It is called the Babe and you can take a look at it at www.smartgate.com/yarnspin. I'd recommend getting a copy (or a subscription) to Spin-Off (www.interweave.com). You'll get some great information in there and tons of adds from suppliers. Now that I've totally confused you, yell if you want any more information!
post #8 of 8
Wow, WeaverAnn, thank you for your thorough advice! I'll be back..
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