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Hand Spin or Wheel?


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Hi there,

I am new to this forum. I have been crocheting since I am 5 and took up knitting recently. A girlfriend took me to a fiber festival and opened me up to a whole other world I didn't even know existed.


In a pursuit to find better materials to make my projects with, I was introduced to rovings and such. I never thought spinning my own yarn would be something I would be interested in, until this past Sunday.


I would love to get my own wheel, but I can't justify (at this time) spending that kind of money on something I may not be that good at. So, in my research, I came across hand spinning.


I have a few questions pertaining to spinning in general.


1. What difference (if any) is there in the finished and unfinished wheels? I noticed the price difference. But I was wondering if the lacquer really acts as function as opposed to just being pretty?


2. What is the difference (again, if any) in the end result from using a spinning wheel as opposed to the hand spinning? In other words, if I hand spin, is someone going to be able to tell that I hand spun it as opposed to using the wheel?


3. The projects I mainly do now are blankets and socks (I am sooo addicted to socks). So I mostly deal with worsted and some light weight yarns. Should I choose to take the hand spinning path, will this limit me in the type of fibers I can work with?


Any feedback you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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(1) Unfinished vs finished.


Of course you can get the unfinished wheels cheaper than the finished ones. Yes, you should finish the wheel to protect the wood. Think of spinning wheels as furniture, the finish protects them.


(2) There is no difference between fiber spun on a hand spindle (or charka or kick wheel) and spinning wheel. Your final product on each of them is only limited by your own experience.


Spinning fiber (no matter which way) consists of 3 elements ... drafting the fiber, putting a twist in it, putting it on a bobbin.


(3) Heavens no! There is hardly a limit on types of fibers you can spin! If anything, it will open more opportunities for you with fiber combinations that you would never be able to get commercially!!

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Thank you so much for your help!


I am pleased that I can use the hand spinning with no differences. That was one of my main concerns.


Of course, if I had my way, I would go right out and get a spinning wheel. I just can't seem to justify that kind of money. I certainly agree about the finish protecting the wood. I refurbish furniture also, so putting the finish on myself would not be difficult.


Okay. So now I am off to go get a drop spindle and some fiber and start working! I am so excited.


Thanks again!

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Thank you very much for the advise.


Yep.. been watching all the You tube videos on how to spin. I know the first stuff is going to be less than okay. I am planning on that.


The supplier that I am buying my fiber from is being very generous. I have been emailing back and forth, and they know I am just learning how to spin. So they are giving me some "extra" fiber to practice on.


I figure if anything comes out resembling yarn, it is going to be chunky at first. I have some mental ideas on what to use it for (I have cats who love my crocheted blankets.. I am going to make them their own). Plus, I think it will be good practice for me to learn how to dye the yarn.


This should be quite interesting to see how things move along. Thank you again!

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I love working with "newbie" Art yarn! I have to deliberately think while spinning thick/think slubby yarns now. I'll intentionally start spinning them, then get into my spinning 'zone' and the next thing I know, I'm spinning 32 WPI for a dozen yards and have to yank myself out of th 'zone' to spin thick/thin slubby again.


When I started spinning, I heard more experienced spinners say how they just love newbie yarns and just couldn't imagine it. Now here I am, 11 years after picking up a spindle, 7 years after starting with a wheel wanting that newbie yarn.


Treasure it!! Let the cats wait for the yarn that you crank out effortlessly in a few months!!

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Rofl.. that is pretty funny about wanting the "newbie" yarn.


You mentioned earlier that I should probably predraft the roving. Did you mean draft the entire peice before I even set it on a spindle?


Hmm.. never would have thought about that. Definately would increase my chances of slightly better looking yarn at first. Thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whether spun on a spindle or a wheel, it's all handspun. I recommend spinning on a spindle until you decide that you enjoy it enough to warrant the expense of a wheel. Of course, the advantages of spindling it 1. extremely portable, 2. extremely affordable; you can even make your own spindle. Check out Interweave's website for SpinOff Magazine. There are instructions there on how to make CD spindles. This is what I use in my intro spinning classes. Less money on a spindle = more money on fibers! You can spin about any kind of fiber. Some people actually prefer spindling over handspinning on a wheel.

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Thank you, very much for the feedback. I wound up buying two spindles... a top and bottom.



I already went through 4oz of wool and I really like it. I tried pre-drafting it, but found the roving came apart as I was spinning.


So I would only predraft 12 inches or so.. spin that, then go onto the next section.


All in all, my mentor said I didn't do half bad. I do have uneven spots. I already crocheted it into a granny square. (My beginning spins will be a blanket for my cats).


I am now searching for more roving that I may practice on. This is so fun!

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