You know how people say, “That kid has a face only a mama could love?” That’s how I feel about my first handspun yarn. I’m excited — I spun that!!!! It’s awesome! I MADE YARN. It feels like a superpower. Secretly, though, I know it isn’t very pretty. Here’s a preview:
So, first things first. I got this fiber at The Florida Fiber In last September. It was part of a learn to spin kit I bought from Ewephoric Fibers. The kit included a spindle and a 2 ounce braid of superwash merino, hand-dyed by Ewephoric Fibers. The spindle is beautiful, hand-painted with gold designs that look a lot like henna. Jane from Ewephoric Fibers sat with me for 1/2 hour after I bought the kit, patiently and expertly showing me how to spindle. I quickly gave it up. I hate having to stop all the time to wind the spun yarn onto the spindle. I’m also horrible at drafting and felt uncoordinated as I tried to do all the steps required to spindle. The spindle and this fiber have been hanging out on my shelf of yarn, waiting for some love, since the week after I bought the kit.
As soon as I got my wheel assembled, I wanted to spin something. I had all the fiber I bought at The Fiber Event, this kit from Ewephoric Fibers, and some shetland roving I’d bought from a friend of a friend on a previous trip to Indiana. I decided to start with the Ewephoric Fiber because it was a small amount of fiber and since it was with a learn to spin kit, it should be a good first fiber. Here’s a picture of the single in process:
I had all the standard first-spinning problems. Parts of it are underspun. Parts of it are overspun. It’s too thick. It’s too thin. The thread broke on me all the time and my joins are poor. Whatever happened, I just kept spinning. I learned a lot about adjusting the tension on my wheel. I still don’t have that down properly. It seems as though the tension has to be very tight, and the spring pulled out a bit, before the wheel will take up yarn. I’m not happy with that. But I just kept spinning. Who cares if it isn’t perfect? It is first yarn!
I did not keep track of how long it took me to spin through the entire braid, but I think it was around 3 hours, spread out over several days. At first I wasn’t going to ply it, but I figured I might as well learn some type of plying. I ended up going with a Navajo ply because you only need a single bobbin of yarn to do that plying method. If you aren’t familiar with spinning or Navajo ply, you start by making a loop, reach through the loop and grab the strand of yarn and pull it through. Over and over and over again. It is like you are hand-crocheting the single, all while pedaling the wheel to get the twist into the ply. It only took about an hour for me to ply the yarn.
After plying, you soak the yarn. I filled one side of the kitchen sink with water and let the yarn soak for about two hours. Then I blotted it out and hung it in the bathroom to dry. I put a t-shirt on a hanger and used that to weight the yarn as it dried.
And viola! Finished yarn! (The white bits are the cotton yarn that I used to tie the finished skein. I didn’t spin those.)
Here’s another close up. I took this one while the yarn was hanging and I think you can see the individual strands better.
It’s far from perfect, but I love it. Because I’m the mama. But I wasn’t the only one who loved it. My cat Pepper seems partial to this bit of fibery goodness. She protected the braid while I was spinning:
When I got up the next morning, having left the finished yarn to dry overnight, I was greeted by this:
She was there every step of the way. Maybe she feels a wee bit like the mama of this yarn too!