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I am so excited. I visited an old friend today. She has literally BAGS of fleece ready to be washed, carded and spun. She raises her own sheep, I am not sure yet which type they are. The fleece is gorgeous though.

I volunteered to help her spin her yarn. I want to learn, she has all the tools for this project--the fleece, cards, spinning wheel etc.


Am I nuts??? I've been reading a little and it sure sounds like something I could do if taught. And something I am highly interested in too.


Can I ask some questions?? Please don't laugh, this is all new to me.


To begin with, you get the fleece. Then you wash it. (my friend told me a bit about washing). Then you card it, then you spin it right??


She asked me what color I wanted!! I forgot you can dye it.


So, this fall, when my little guy is in school full time, I will be learning this whole process!!! I am SOOO excited.


Do any of you wise ladies have any tips for me, a humble beginner?? :manyheart


Oh, to think of all the beautiful wool for crocheting!!! :c9


Do you think it's reasonable to ask for wool in trade for my labor?? :hook

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First of all, congratulations for finding a spinning mentor and welcome to the world of spinning! I have been a spinner for over 3 years now. It's great that she is going to loan you the tools that you need to use for now.


Words of advice:

when you get ready to buy your own wheel, shop around and DO buy a new wheel as opposed to an antique wheel. I have known too many spinners who have tried to spin with an antique wheel, only to realize it is out of balance and you have to either know a good woodworker or be one yourself, since you can't just pick up the phone and order extra bobbins or other parts. I personally like Ashford, mainly because all of their bobbins are interchangeable with all of the models they make. But I know others who are happy with their Kromski's, Louet's, Majacrafts, etc...

Also, I highly recommend a subscription to Spin-off Magazine. You can find them at http://www.interweave.com . It is a quarterly pub that contains alot of technical info and spinning for specific projects. You can also buy back issues, if you are so inclined.

Start with sheep's wool, because it is the most forgiving fiber for a beginner to work with. Once you get the feel of treadling and drafting at the same time with the wool, other fibers will be much easier. Don't try cotton until you are adept at the other animal fibers. Cotton requires a little different handling since the fiber is MUCH shorter than most animal (protein) fibers.

As to swapping fiber for labor, you might want to be sure that your skill is enough to make it worth your teacher's while to swap fiber for labor. I would be happy for now that she is providing lessons and equipment for you to use. Once you are adept at spinning, you could probably "spin on halves", which is how I obtain most of my alpaca fibers. I know 2-3 alpaca farmers who want their rovings spun up, so they will let me keep half of the roving in exchange for my spinning the other half into yarn for them. This is a very worthwhile exchange for both of us. But I didn't start doing this until I could provide suitable samples for them to see so that they were assured that I did actually know what I was doing.

Another reference you might like to have is Interweave's Spinner's Companion. It is a small spiral bound booklet that fits easily in y

our spinning basket or a tote bag. It will educate you about the new language you are about to learn, as spinning has it's own language, including just naming the parts of a wheel!

Hope that helps! Can't wait to see what you make! Have fun!

Renee' :clap

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Spinning just opens up the world of fiber! I started as a crocheter, then went to spinning in '99, weaving, knitting, tatting. Of course dyeing, felting. and basket making is just another form of weaving, right??


There are plenty of utube videos, as well as wonderful websites.


My spinning page is nothing but a place I put links I don't want to forget.


I concur with crochetrenee about starting off with a modern wheel. I started with drop spindles and got my first wheel in '92 (Ashford Traveller DT DD) My main production wheel now is my Kromski Sonata (kromski bobbins fit all kromski models also).


Main thing, is try them out before you buy, IF YOU CAN. I couldn't and my DH asked Susan mcFarland (susansfibership.com) who recommended the Traveller

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