Posted in Spinning on a Pencil, Yarn

Spinning under Control

I’ve hand-spun a portion of my felting wool stash into a few balls of yarn – all s-twist singles, each of a different thickness, amount of twist, and a different colorway. Here are a few samples:

HandSpun Yarn 1

The simple bracelet in the pic, I’ve crocheted out of a bulky type piece and then wet-felted it to minimize potential pilling, which is more likely than not to happen since I didn’t ply the thread. I’ve been wearing the bracelet for a while and even washed it in between – it’s totally fine and I absolutely love it.

This one is a little plain knit block – the colorway reminds me of a field of spring flowers:

HandSpun Yarn 3

As you can see, I’ve been using plain #2/HB pencils and craft sticks for spinning. The sticks are longer than pencils, which allows you to hold more yarn, so there’s no need to wind it as frequently…That and pet brushes for color blending 🙂 is all you need to begin spinning your DIY yarn without investing into professional tools before you decide whether or not you like working with unspun fiber.

HandSpun Yarn 2

Actually, you don’t even have to use brushes if you don’t have any, just some fiber and a pencil/stick. That’s all. The colors can be blended by hand 🙂 The effect will be slightly different, but not in the least less attractive. And if you don’t have any felting wool – but have a fluffy dog – brush him/her nicely a few times and you are all set 🙂 Seriously! That’s what our ancestors, apparently, used to do. I recently read about it in a couple of books on nordic and Scandinavian knitting, but haven’t tried it myself yet. I still have a pile of felting fluff to work through 🙂 Although, as kids, my friend and I used to watch his grandma spin her fluff-ball dogs’ (she had two) hair into super thin thread. She probably blended it with other fibers/threads at some point…We were too young to think anything of the process, but we did like the nice and soft socks and mittens she’d make for us with her own yarn.

HandSpun Yarn 4

Cheers!

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Posted in Spinning on a Pencil, Yarn

You Can Spin Your Yarn and Knit it Too

Boy, did I take a break from my little online creativity sharing place… To make up for the time I’ve been mia, I’m getting right down to sharing some ideas with you, such as this mug rug I’ve made out of my own handspun yarn:

Spinning Yarn on a Pencil 11

I wrote once, that I didn’t really knit (and used Tunisian crochet in my illusion crochet project, in place of illusion knitting); well, I do knit now! 🙂 … and I love it! I’ve knit the mug rug above using plain garter stitch to test out my “fantasy” yarn, and hdc-ed the border. I have 4 WIPs going on here as well, but I’ll share details later.

As you can see, I’ve tried my hand at spinning. It’s very low-tech, obviously 🙂 and pretty easy too! All you have to do is get some wool, such as felting wool/roving and a pencil – a regular #2 pencil will work great!

To begin, pull out some wool and twist the end. Wrap the end around the pencil, like in the photo above; try twisting the yarn clockwise, then counterclockwise, turn the pencil in different directions, feel which direction works best for you and stick with it.

Play with hand position – shift it frequently to avoid straining your hands and wrists:

Use your thumb to control the yarn end:

Spinning Yarn on a Pencil 4

You can actually use any finger to control the end, there is no one right way to do that! Find the way that works best for you.

Keep pulling the fibers from the roving in relatively short sections, twisting and wrapping the yarn around the pencil:

If you need to take a break, like my pup here:

Spinning Yarn on a Pencil 6

wrap the end around your work, and set the pencil aside:

It will (should) not unravel.

Play with the yarn thickness, the amount of twisting…try mixing colors too! To add wool of a different color, you can simply attach a new color section to your work, overlapping the fluffy tails and twisting them together.

Spinning Yarn on a Pencil 8

To do some color blending, you can use plain brushes, if you don’t have special tools like carding boards. I used my pup’s brushes 🙂

Ideally, you should wind the yarn you create into a ball. Here’s one way to do it:

When knitting and crocheting my mug rug, I was working with the yarn right off of the pencil. It worked just fine.

I’m so excited I tried this. In addition to everything else, it’s a great “stash busting” activity and a very portable type of project – I’m going to bring some wool and a few pencils with me on my next long flight.  Now I know my felting wool stash is not going to waste in the face of our upcoming move…While there’s no way for me to use it up, before our move, for wet- and needle- felting projects I originally bought it for, I can certainly turn it into yarn of different colors and textures. You’ll be surprised how fast and easy it is! And it’s fun.

If you’ve never tried making your own yarn, I highly recommend that you give it a try 🙂

Cheers!