The Grrl who Cutaway
One Thing Leads to Another

Spinning My Wheel

Thank you everyone for you comments on yesterday's post on Cutaway.  Funny the ideas that  come to you while you’re having a martini!  Don't you just love film noir?  I appreciate your appreciation. Thank you again.

As much time as possible was spent at the spinning wheel this weekend (which wasn't quite enough time to suit me).  With two bobbins full of spun singles, and with a bit too much hubris, my mind was made up to give plying a try.  After quickly consulting a book, I loaded up the plying head and began to treadle.  At first all seemed to go well, but in the end it was harder to do than patting my head and rubbing my tummy.  In fact, it was a down right horrible experience!  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was only with determination,continued hubris, and a pinch of 'all show you' thrown in for good measure, that the bobbins were emptied.  Let my introduce my first skein of wheel spun yarn, aptly renamed, Craptasitc.


It is far, far from perfect and isn't even good yarn, but it makes me smile. It looks funky and it even might be fun to knit.  Susan said it had moments of brilliance and one friend, who knits only sporadically, said she'd love to knit with it.  The plan is to make Susan's Live Dangerously Hat, so I can show off my first skein of bad-ass yarn.

Basketfullofpoppyrovingpredraftedandread Slightimprovementinsingleoverlasttime The day after this near fiasco, I decided to get back on the horse that thew me, and in a more peaceful frame of mind, sat at the wheel again.  A basket full of predrafted red roving (sent by YA pal Michelle) was ready to go, so I began anew.  I let the process flow through me and enjoyed it for the simple process it was, not caring if the yarn was thick or thin. Oft times found the yarn had long lengths of consistency and it was no time at all until the bobbin was full and the basket was empty.  What a delicious feeling.  Another bobbin should be filled this week and plying will be approached with a lot more information and a little more humility.

Don't let anyone tell you that if you can spindle spin, you can spin on a wheel.  If that was true then every wheel spinner would also enjoy spindling. That just isn't true.  So much more goes on with a wheel, including the mechanics that need to be adjusted to every spinner and their ability.  It is a learning process far different than that of spindle spinning.

Spindlespunskein Spindling has been a joy for me and because I was curious about the Stefania Corriadale/silk that was in process on my Golding, I plied up what was spun.  The skein was a tiny bit overspun in the plying, but the skein helped me see what the yarn will look like and what it should be when knit.  It must be a shawl and I'll spin it up to see how much yardage there will be.

Jackie, in Canada, was my YA recipient.  She is a beautiful weaver and is just learning to spin. You have all been so encouraging to me, so please send a little encouragment her way!


Don't hate the craptastic yarn! You must know by now that the knitting process is very forgiving to even the most um, unfortunate, handspun. And really, the yarn is not bad at all anyway!

I think Susan's hat will be perfect for the yarn. It's really not bad. In fact, it's incredibly good for your first wheel spun and plyed yarn. You'll do better each time. Can't wait to see the red and I hope the plying "trick" works.

I like your yarn! Can't wait to see what it ultimately will become.

DON'T USE THE PLYING HEAD! At least at first. Just use the regular flyer. The plying head is rickety and not very stable and I think you will be MUCH happier with your results with the regular head.

Sorry I didn't tell you that before.

Also, your craptastic yarn is beautiful.

I completely understand your frustration. I just plyed my first spindle skein and felt much the same as you do.

Cara's right, just use the regular head to ply with to start, it will be easier for you to control.

Trust are going to look back on that first skein with fondness...LOL.

That red is lovely!

Craptastic doesn't look that bad, grrlfriend! I just knew you'd master the wheel. How's about I bring my wheel down to SLC, for a lesson with you and Susan? :)


Maybe it's the colors but i actually like the craptastic yarn. I'm sure it'll make a lovely hat.

You should have seen MY first plied yarn! Not bad is the understatement of the year for what you did! (I'll email off-blog later.) What you don't understand, though, is what an advantage you are at having mastered the spindle when it comes to the wheel and while, yes, they are quite different, I think you will come to find the wheel easier in many ways. GET PATSY Z!

Not craptastic -- it's beautiful and it's yours. And the red singles look positively delicious.

It's good that the yarn makes you smile. I have not tried plying yet. (yes, over a year of spinning and I haven't plied) You are very brave for doing it. I'm afraid of ruining my yarn. Obviously I don't have to worry. Craptastic is beautiful!

It's not craptastic at all, and you will be amazed how nicely it will knit up. Well done, you!

Learning to spin on the wheel must be frustrating but fun! Thanks for showing us your progress. The purple wool/silk is SO pretty!

I agree with you, working on a wheel is more difficult than just patting your head and rubbing the tummy at the same time. However, your yarn looks fabulous! Simply fab!

I agree about how different spindling and wheel spinning are. I started spindling and picked it up pretty quickly, but then found wheel spinning felt more out of my control. Like when I was spindling I could control every little thing easily, but with the wheel it went quickly and there were ratios etc and it was harder to tell what was going on. Good for you for getting back on the horse!!

I think your craptastic yarn looks great. Seriously if you'd seen some of my first efforts at my wheel you'd be feeling really good about craptastic!

Craptastic would sell for mucho buckos at the trendiest of yarn boutiques. I do confess to liking the red and the purple better, but that's probably just a color thing.

First, the sweater IS beautiful!! & you are stunning..

Second, just keep plugging at the wheel.
You'll have it mastered in no time.

I think it's great! I still have have my first skein of yarn. (I make it sound like it was such a long time ago, don't I? Only about a year.) It was some BFL that I dyed with Wilton's Delphinium Blue. The colors separated and I accidently got some rose in there, too. I think it's one of the coolest ones I've done. Now my spinning is pretty uniform and just boring sometimes. I have to work at funky yarn.

Craptastic looks great to me! I am having fun with the spindle spinning- I think I'll stick with it a while. That said, I know it's just a matter of time until I get on a wheel!

I am only going to tell you this once. ha! It's hard to make yarn like that again. And look at the expensive yarns in the shops sometimes. What you like about them is that they look handspun. :>) Perfect yarn, is, well, boring sometimes. heehee

Don't worry, like with anything practice takes perfect. Every time I ply I see improvement. So spin those singles and try again, you'll find your harmony with it.

I like craptastic - looks pretty good to me!

Don't be too hard on yourself---it's the process, remember? I find that I'm making constant adjustments while I spin, and my last bit of plying came out way out of balance. Consistency is fickle. I think you're doing great!

Your yarn is lovely. I still kind of dread plying, I admit it. The first couple times were just sooo bad. But it does get better!

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