Amy and Jillian – and many of my friends around the knitting world – are avid spinners, and it seemed inevitable that I would eventually want to give it a try.
I knew that Rhinebeck is a big spinning event, so I decided that my objective for the trip would be to learn to spindle spin.
I did some research into what to look for in a spindle and some fiber, and set myself the most excellent task of shopping.
The lovely TsockTsarina got me hooked up with a plain and simple GnomeSpun spindle, and I bought myself some gorgoeous Blue Faced Leicester roving – since the experts told me that it was easy for beginners. Â I chose a color inspired by the wonderful fall foliage I was seeing around.
On the Saturday evening, I sat down with some spinning friends from the shop Shall We Knit. The fabulous Lise opened up her bag of tricks, and pulled out some green Shetland (also very beginner-friendly), and got me started.
And after a few false starts, some fumbling around, and much laughter, I was starting to get the hang of it. I was making something that looked like something you could knit with.
After an hour watching me play with the top whorl spindle, Lise quietly offered up a second spindle to try: a Jenkins Turkish Delight. I had no idea: this is the spinning equivalent of offering a learner driver the keys to a Cadillac. I was immediately hooked. Being a clever sort, Lise had bought it for me, expecting I might enjoy using it.
We worked together for a couple of evenings, me spindling, Lise providing coaching and supportive laughter, and by the end of the weekend, I had made my first yarn!
I had about 6 yards of a maybe worsted weight, slightly slubby, hand-dyed green Shetland.
Naturally, I wanted to knit something with it. Something I could keep and show off… spinner extraordinaire Denny suggested a leaf. It’s a perfect leafy color, and I knitted it at a leafy time of year… and so…
my first project with my first handspun! A leaf, with a pin on the back to make it a brooch. I will be wearing it with pride on my coat this winter.
I’m saving the BFL roving until I am feeling a bit more confident. I’m going to visit my friends at Shall We Knit this weekend, and my spindles are definitely going with me.