As a new hand spinner, I really feel like I don’t have much to say about spinning. I can’t offer suggestions about different types of wool, wheels, or techniques. What I DO have to say about spinning is that (despite my original misgivings) I absolutely love it.
I haven’t had much opportunity to spin our Angora (all of our bagged wool that we’d accrued over a year of raising rabbits went missing in the move), but what I HAVE been able to spin, I can say that I REALLY like it! It’s so soft, and it practically spins itself. Unfortunately, with only a few ounces at my disposal of Angora, I’ve had to content myself with mostly Blue-Face Leicester (known in the fiber community as BFL…only took me three weeks to figure that out!) and Merino wool.
Some confessions I have:
- Fitting in some spinning time when you have kids sometimes includes setting up a wheel in the lobby of the YMCA. (I know you’re visualizing me lugging around a huge, antique looking thing. Don’t worry, mine’s a cute little portable one that folds up and even has its own carrying case!)
- Getting into spinning has gotten me interested in ALL types of wool/spinnable fibers. Did you know you can spin milk weed? Some people forage for berries or mushrooms, I may start foraging for fiber!
- Deciding to spin yarn for Christmas presents when you’ve only just learned to spin in September may or may not be the best of plans. Usually projects like this wind up with both Steve and I up till 2 am, bleary-eyed with him trying to help. Normally, I would say this could be disastrous, since neither he nor I would consider him artistic in any way. HOWEVER…he’s recently (this week) taken up knitting, and is actually pretty good. Better than I am, for sure. I may stick to spinning, and leave the knitting to him! At any rate, I’ll let you know how it went on December 26th.
4. Cats also love spinning. Our cat Zoë, who has never shown any interest in sitting in my lap when I’m, say, reading a book or watching TV, finds that she simply must sit right on top of my wool (or my drafting hand, or the pedals) while I’m spinning.
5. Steve’s idea of getting a few sheep in the spring is starting to sound quite reasonable now. And I have a feeling I will like having sheep better than the rabbits. (But shhhh, please don’t tell. I’m pretty sure it’s blasphemy to not absolutely love cute, fuzzy angora bunnies.)
As a complete beginner, I was very lucky to have found a reasonably priced new-to-me wheel, a generous “fiber fairy” who gifted me a variety of wools to try out, and a husband who appreciates my new found hobby enough to pick up knitting so he can sit with me in the evenings. I’m well on my way to turning into a “fiber artist,” and I’m very excited for the journey!