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inkstained

The Wonder World of Spinning-How do I start? or Can you spare some advice?

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Hello! I'm new at Crochetville! As a college student with a very limited budget who lives in a mostly rural state, I understand the potential benefits of spinning my own yarn. The problem is how do I start? How can I start?

 

Here's the situation: I have found a local store (granted 2 hours and half a way but whose counting) that sells cleaned, washed, carded unspun yarn as well as wheels. The Idea: Depending on the comparsion price (i.e. price of yarn already spun, dyed, by a professional versues by unspun yarn and attempting to spin it myself who is an abslute beginner) buy the unspun yarn and spin my own yarn. The Problem: I don't know how. There are no books in my local library that can teach me how, and I don't anyone who is willing to teach me.

 

I would probably start of using a drop spindle and a very small amount of yarn if I actually attempted it. A wheel is not in the budget, sorry guys college comes first.

 

What I need is the answers to the following questions:

 

-1) What is a good price for unspun yarn? Where should I buy it? At the local LYS store that handspins it themselves or from the farmers or somewhere else?

 

-2) Can you recommend any good how to books that would teach me how to succesfully use a drop spindle to spin yarn?

 

-3) Is there anywhere online that I can learn how to spin for free?

 

Please keep in my mind, I'm a poor college student. I cannot afford, I don't have the money for (currently), anything elaborate or extreme. I willing to learn for the long range benefits (custom made yarn...how much better does it get?) but I can't spend a whole lot right off to start a new hobby.

 

Thank you in advance for all your help.

 

Sincerly, inkstained.

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Hi inkstained,

 

Spinning can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. Unspun 'yarn' comes in many forms. It is mostly referred to as roving or top, but there are clouds, batts, and other.

 

The least expensive way is to buy raw wool. You'll then have to clean it to remove lanolin, dirt and VM (vegative matter). Card or comb it or flick it and spin from the lock. Or you can choose exotic and very expensive, prepared fibers. Or you can get less exotic and less expensive fibers already prepared.

 

There are many, many, many online sites and videos about spinning.

 

For spindlers, I recommend http://www.ispindle.com/toc.htm & http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/ (it will even show you how to make your own spindle)

 

I have a few websites I stuck on one of my web pages of sites I didn't want to lose - check it out!

 

http://www.mullerslanefarm.com/spinning

 

Remember, there is no one way to spin - it is an art and not subject to rules!!

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Thank you for the advice! It is good to know someone out there is helpful as I think about starting a new craft. I'm not sure if anyone around here sells raw wool. The one shop I found, Labadie Looms of Lancaster County located in Bird in Hand, PA, is the only shop I've ever found so far that sells wool, but it is already cleaned and carded. I didn't have time to notice the price but I different had time to make a mental note to check back and made a quick mental note of what they had. Mostly she had Lancaster County Wool, but she also had wool from Blue Faced Sheep, Angoria Goats (mohair), and Alpaca that I noticed. The shop spins their own yarns, but encourages others to give it a try. They even sell a kit, a small bag of wool, a carding comb, and drop spindle to get you started. Again I didn't notice the price.

 

Where would I find raw wool if I were to look for it?

 

Edited to add: Let me just say to Crochetville on the spinners on the site, thank you! Just looking around this spinning board has been extremly helpful. Unfortunately, it has also created new questions:

 

-How much yarn can I create per once?

-How does the staple length of wool/fibre effect the final yarn?

-What's the difference in between rovings, carded, mill ends?

Edited by inkstained
so I don't double post

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Gee, it's a shame Mom and I have to go to Bird-In-Hand on Saturday...I guess I'll just have to pop in check the store out.

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Definatly do! The store is located at 2575 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505. It's not really located in town, in town, so depending on which direction your heading you may have to travel down the highway a little ways before you find it. Do you know where the farmer's market is in Bird-in-Hand? Well if your in their parking lot getting ready to pull out, turn left and travel a little ways down the highway. You will pass a bed-and-breakfast. The store will be on your left hand side and is a small store next to a JR. Their phone number is 717-291-8911 and their email is lambobaa@hotmail.com. I recommend you either google the directions or rand mcnally it as I'm horrible at giving directions! I am sure the store representives would be happy to give you better directions then I ever could. Make sure you check out their own handspun! I thought, as a newbie to handspun yarn and any other fiber other then arcylic, that it was very reasonably priced. I bought handspun, handdyed, mohair at 125 yards for $12!

 

Which reminds me! I contact the store for some information considering their rovings and if they offered any classes. Their rovings are cleaned, carded, and combed...and for wool average around 12.50 per lb. They also offer a spinnning wheel class for $85 dollars that is private and can be scheduled for whenever you like. Are these good prices. I know I have seen wool for as low as 11.00 per lb plus shipping...so if I can buy it locally for just a touch more without the shipping, it might be cheaper in the long run. But since I'm new here, I'm asking the question: Is this a good deal?

Edited by inkstained
Adding another note

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Where would I find raw wool if I were to look for it?

 

Fiber festivals, online communities such as Ravelry

 

-How much yarn can I create per once?

This is one of the most asked questions in spinning, and just like most other answers when it comes to fiber arts, "It depends."

 

One ounce of fiber spun at 32 wpi (wraps per inch) will result in about 4 times more yarn than an ounce of fiber spun at 8 wpi. Of course, it also depends on how many tpi (twists per inch) you have in each yarn.

 

WPI = Wraps Per Inch see http://www.spindlicity.com/spring2006/wpi.shtml

 

TPI - Twists Per Inch see

http://spinoffmagazine.com/media/p/137.aspx

http://www.textilelinks.com/author/rb/980217.html

 

Don't worry about either of these while you're learnign to spin. Just keep them in mind when you are comfortable spinning and want to be challenged.

 

So basically, the answer to your question, "How much yarn can I create per once?" is one ounce of yarn...

 

-How does the staple length of wool/fibre effect the final yarn?

 

Fibers with a longer staple length can be spun with less TPI resulting in a loftier, soft yarn. This is wonderful because a lot of long stapled fiber isn't as soft as the shorter fiber. Ahh, but now we get into another aspect of spinning, all the various fibers and their micron counts and/or Bradford counts! In the Bradford count, the higher the number, the finer the wool. There is fine (60-64), medium (56) and course (less than 56). Using the micron count, the lower the number, the finer the wool.

 

Check out OSU's 'Breeds of Livestock' http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/ until you can get the book, "In Sheep's Clothing" by the Founier's (spelling might be wrong with the name) I'm currently trying to find and spin every fiber listed in the book. Every time I find a new fiber, I tape a piece of the fiber and the finished yarn into the book.

 

-What's the difference in between rovings, carded, mill ends?

 

Roving is a generic term for a long snake like piece of carded fiber, where as Top is a generic term for a long snake like piece of combed fiber. So let's take a step back ... what is carded and combed?

 

Carded fiber can be produced on hand cards that make making rolags or drum carders (from home sized to huge mill sized) that make Batts. Fibers that have been carded isn't aligned perfectly in one direction. The batts or rolags can be pulled into a long snake creating Roving

 

Roving is wonderful in making a woolen yarn. Woolen yarn is one that has a lot of air trapped in it making it warmer and is wonderful for making articles to keep you warm (hats, mittens, sweaters, et al)

 

Combed fiber is produced from lethal looking combs that align the fibers in one direction. Then pulled into long snakes producing Top. Spinning top produces a worsted yarn which is stronger than woolen yarn, but not as warm. It is great for making articles where you need strength, (like sock yarn).

 

Mill ends are exactly what they say. When fiber mills, like Brown Sheep, remove the fiber from their carders or combs, there is always fiber stuck to the equipment that isn't processed into their yarns. They are wonderful for hand spinners! Since it is a 'waste product' for the mills, they can sell it cheap and in turn folks that buy it in bulk (like Carol & Carl Lee of Sheep Shed), can turn around, sort it, weigh it and sell it to the hand spinner inexpensively. Some times you'll get a long length, other times you get bits of pieces. It's all spinable and makes some great yarn! I'd say about 1/3 of my fiber stash is Mill Ends, 1/3 is raw, or roving I made from raw, and the rest is commercially prepared roving/top.

 

Is your head spinning yet? If not, check out another reference: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/4362.asp

 

I've been spindling for 11 years and spinning with wheels for 6. I find out new things about this wonderful art just about every day!!!

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Let's see if I got this straight:

 

 

This is one of the most asked questions in spinning, and just like most other answers when it comes to fiber arts, "It depends."

 

One ounce of fiber spun at 32 wpi (wraps per inch) will result in about 4 times more yarn than an ounce of fiber spun at 8 wpi. Of course, it also depends on how many tpi (twists per inch) you have in each yarn.

 

Basically: The Thinner the Yarn...the more wraps per inch, the thicker the yarn the fewer wraps per inch.

 

The thinner I get my fiber to twist into yarn the more wraps per inch I will achieve. But I will need more yarn for my finished project because everyone knows: the thinner the yarn...the more you need.

 

But no matter how much yarded I achieve...I should have the same amount of weight in spun yarn has I orginally had in my prepared fiber (washed, combed for woolen, carded for worsted).

 

Each fiber will require different TPI in order to keep it held togther as a yarn instead of just falling apart.

 

Fibers with a longer staple length can be spun with less TPI resulting in a loftier, soft yarn. This is wonderful because a lot of long stapled fiber isn't as soft as the shorter fiber. Ahh, but now we get into another aspect of spinning, all the various fibers and their micron counts and/or Bradford counts! In the Bradford count, the higher the number, the finer the wool. There is fine (60-64), medium (56) and course (less than 56). Using the micron count, the lower the number, the finer the wool.

 

Check out OSU's 'Breeds of Livestock' http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/ until you can get the book, "In Sheep's Clothing" by the Founier's (spelling might be wrong with the name) I'm currently trying to find and spin every fiber listed in the book. Every time I find a new fiber, I tape a piece of the fiber and the finished yarn into the book.

 

First let me say Yikes, and good luck. Trying to spin every type of wool there is most be a daunting task!

 

Okay, basics from this section: The longer the staple, the softer and loftier the yarn. (Mohair probably has really, really long staples) If it is high Brandford count, the fiber is harsh, course, and best used for projects such as tapestry...so the lower the better. In Micron: the opposite is true...the higher the count the softer the fabric, high micron fibers are best used for projects close to the skin. Keep final project in mind when selecting firber length and count (whiether it is brandford or Micron)

 

 

Roving is a generic term for a long snake like piece of carded fiber, where as Top is a generic term for a long snake like piece of combed fiber. So let's take a step back ... what is carded and combed?

 

Carded fiber can be produced on hand cards that make making rolags or drum carders (from home sized to huge mill sized) that make Batts. Fibers that have been carded isn't aligned perfectly in one direction. The batts or rolags can be pulled into a long snake creating Roving

 

Roving is wonderful in making a woolen yarn. Woolen yarn is one that has a lot of air trapped in it making it warmer and is wonderful for making articles to keep you warm (hats, mittens, sweaters, et al)

 

Combed fiber is produced from lethal looking combs that align the fibers in one direction. Then pulled into long snakes producing Top. Spinning top produces a worsted yarn which is stronger than woolen yarn, but not as warm. It is great for making articles where you need strength, (like sock yarn).

 

Carded=Roving=Woolen=Warmer but weaker (use for sweaters, mittens, so on)

 

Carded, Combed=Top=Worsted=less warm, but stronger (use for socks, stuff that needs weight to it.

 

So as a beginner who favors afghans (things that need to be warm but no necessarily strong), I should probably stick to rovings....temporarily.

 

 

Mill ends are exactly what they say. When fiber mills, like Brown Sheep, remove the fiber from their carders or combs, there is always fiber stuck to the equipment that isn't processed into their yarns. They are wonderful for hand spinners! Since it is a 'waste product' for the mills, they can sell it cheap and in turn folks that buy it in bulk (like Carol & Carl Lee of Sheep Shed), can turn around, sort it, weigh it and sell it to the hand spinner inexpensively. Some times you'll get a long length, other times you get bits of pieces. It's all spinable and makes some great yarn! I'd say about 1/3 of my fiber stash is Mill Ends, 1/3 is raw, or roving I made from raw, and the rest is commercially prepared roving/top.

 

Is your head spinning yet? If not, check out another reference: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/4362.asp

 

I've been spindling for 11 years and spinning with wheels for 6. I find out new things about this wonderful art just about every day!!!

 

Mill ends=cheap fiber=happy spinner!

Raw=needs washing, combing and/or carding, and spinning.

Prepared roving/top=less work, but more expensive...second best option for me as a beginner without carding or combing equipment.

 

Thanks again. :hug I know that I'm being a bother with lots of questions...but i'm the kind of girl who likes to do her research before she does anything else.

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I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is this: Which is cheaper? Spinning my own wool yarn at an average of $2 per once depending on type/how much process done or buying it for $9.00 for 8 oz at 465 yrds per skein at my local craft store?

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Got everything correct except the Bradford count/micron count

 

Bradford: higher number is a finer fleece

 

Micron: lower number is a finer fleece

 

I love using 'medium fleeces' like Corriedale, Cormo, Romney, softness and strength!

 

Which is cheaper?? By far, buying some commercial yarn. Which is more satisfying?? For me, it's creating a yarn unique to me, even if I have both money and time invested into it.

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Thank you for all your help. I will keep all your advice in mind as I eagerly await the funds to start spinning. Hopefully my upcoming craft fair will produce enough for me to get started.

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Thank you for all your help. I will keep all your advice in mind as I eagerly await the funds to start spinning. Hopefully my upcoming craft fair will produce enough for me to get started.

 

I hope it does!!! What will you be selling in your craft fair??

 

History lover, eh? Wait to you see all the natural colors in fiber!!!

 

I spin and knit socks for my DH & DS for Civil War Reenactments. History rocks! (is that term out of date?!?!!?)

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I will be attempting to sell: a baby blanket, two baby hats, two baby socks, two large doilies (uncompleted), two small doilies (one done), seven dishclothes (five square two hextagonal), one handspun/handdyed (though not by me) mohair scarf, a stole, a shawl, a shrug, two scarves, and bookmarks (not started yet).

 

If I have time (doubt it only two weeks left to the fair), I want to attempt to finish an afghan I started before I found out about the fair.

 

One of the main reasons I am considering spinning, especially using a drop spindle, is because it is so historical. I love renfairs and if I could find a way to sell my handspun yarn at a renfair not only would I be doing something fun but in an environment I love.

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