I still haven’t received my learn-to-spin kit from Webs. That hasn’t stopped me from experimenting with spinning, however. I’ve been using a homemade spindle and some 3- and 10 gram packages of needle felting fibre from the local hobby store. It’s clear to me that drafting is the real crux of spinning technique, but it is perhaps the part that is least clear just from watching video clips online. How far apart should your hands be, how much force should you use, etc. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think maybe the drafting part clicked for me yesterday.

handspun click

These two skeins were spun over the last few days, using the same fibre. In between the two skeins, I tweaked my spindle (removed the sewing thread bobbin I’d been using as a whorl and added a cd) and it went from 1.5 oz to 1.2 oz. The increased spin time allowed me to concentrate on my drafting. I specifically paid more attention to staple length and became more conscious of trying to draft the same amount of fibre with every new length of fibre I pulled. I also lightened my grip, which is a double-edged sword: It made it easier to draft, but I sometimes let the twist escape into the roving. The bottom yarn is (consciously) overplied, inspired by a comment on Ravelry from Abby Franquemont, who argued that twist can sometimes be lost when the twist is set, and slight overplying helps even out unevenness in the singles.

I’m still not too impressed with my homemade spindle, and I can’t wait for my proper spindle and instruction book to arrive, but something has changed, because the whole thing has gotten a lot easier in the last two days.

my spindle