Tuesday, March 2

Follow the Fiber - The spinner

Well, not too long ago 4 oz of lovely Merino fiber was handed from Cris of Into The Whirled into my itchy little fingers.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!
The (almost) final destination of the fiber is Cal who will crochet it into something fabulous.  I decided for her I'd make a nice balanced 2 ply  with not too long color repeats.

After undoing the nice tight daisy chain it was in for neat keeping I split the fiber into 2 even parts - one for each ply...
I shot them on a blanket I crocheted a million years ago because I couldn't believe how similar the colors were!  Did you plan that Cris?
 My next step was to split each of those 2 balls into quarters. Why quarters, you ask? Like most humans I'm a creature of habit and have found this thickness to be both easy to draft and a nice break up of the colors.
Next stop, my Lendrum folding double treadle spinning wheel 
I LOVE this wheel!  The green yarn hanging out is called a leader, it's a scratchy wool (I use Icelandic) that's used to pull the top into the wheel.  I spun two singles clockwise with a lot of twist because when I ply them they get twisted counter clockwise and will lose some of the twist I spin into them at this point.
I love watching the way the colors "change" from top to singles, a two ply and finally a finished piece.
The singles then get put on my Lazy Kate and the regular head gets traded out for the plying head on the wheel.
The plying head has a much wider orifice and larger bobbin to accommodate more & thicker yarnThe drive band also gets changed to fit the larger head.
This little device has made my life SO much easier - what it is meant for is to count fishing line depth - what I use it for is as a yardage meter.  I use a niddy noddy to wrap the yarn off the wheel, through the meter into nice neat hanks.

For yarns destined for my shop, I wait for a nice sunny day and with the help of a stratigically placed roll of white craft paper I shoot (what feels like) a million pictures from lots of different angles to show the most true representation of the color.

I use Photoshop to crop & do any clean up or color correcting and finally the yarn is ready to be made into something that I hope will be loved for years to come!

I am lucky enough to have amzing customers who have shared their finished projects with me.  It is always so interesting & fun to see what the yarn "grows up" to be.  I know in Cal's talented paws it will be something amazing!  You can follow the fiber on the next step in its journey at her blog 
I know I will be!


  1. YUM! can't wait to get my mitts on the yarn! so fun to see how cris' gorgeous color turned into your luscious handspun...

  2. Awesome! I loved the guided tour through your process. The yarn is simply stunning!!

  3. This is such a great idea to post about the fiber to yarn to finished product. Thanks for sharing your spinning process, its quite helpful for a beginner like me!

  4. Thanks guys!
    Diana - glad I could help, it's funny how there are so many different way to get to the same end result. What kind of wheel do you have?

  5. Love it! I'm a huge fan of Cris's work, and I'm enjoying watching the journey of her fiber. Thanks for sharing your process! I hope you won't mind if I borrow your idea for the yarn meter? I never thought to attach one to my wheel and this will save me so much hassle post spinning.

    I'm a Lendrum fan too, by the way, despite serious ribbing from friends who spin on Kromskis. My Lendrum was the best investment I ever made, so nyah. :)

  6. just to make sure... you unbraid, and split the roving in half... length wise... and then you take each half and split that into 1/4's length wise, or...?

  7. Hey Melanie - Yes, I always split the top lengthwise, it would work either way but, lengthwise you get a longer spinning time before joining the next piece.

  8. The fishing thing as a yardage meter is pure genius! As a newbie spinner, it was great to read about your process. Thanks!

  9. I love this series and how it breaks down the process for folks who aren't sure of how it all works!!
    AND thanks so much for the tip on the fishing line counter! wowee, i gotta get me one of these! I love it when traditional "womens" and "mens" crafts & hobbies cross over!

  10. Wow, Jill that is stunning! You did an awesome job writing up your process. :)

  11. I'm so thrilled that you started a blog -- being able to see your gorgeous photos with my morning coffee is a pure joy.