Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spinning Yarn

I read this sweet post of a woman who raised her own sheep, sheared it, had the wool washed and carded, then she dyed it and spun it into yarn and then knitted a sweater for her son. It's sort of a modern day version of the lovely story, Pelle's New Suit. I was so moved and very inspired.

Now, since I can't raise my own sheep (though I *wish* I could!) and since I have no access to the sheep on the island, I ordered this gorgeous roving (appropriately named 'Paradise on the Playground') from here and decided I'd learn how to spin my own yarn!


I saw this tutorial on making a homemade spindle and quickly created one of my own.


Then I saw this post on Childhood Magic which recommended these spinning videos from YouTube: drafting, spinning and finishing. After watching the videos I set to work...

I split and drafted the wool into several bunches and began spinning. Because I couldn't spin and take pictures at the same time I have no photos of me in sheer spinning bliss. :) It was a bit tricky at first, and I did modify the way I held the roving from the way that's shown in the video (I wrap mine around my right wrist), but it wasn't long before I was a spinning machine!

I kept at it and practiced spinning into the wee hours of the night. I couldn't stop once I got hang of it! I felt so happy and content while spinning, and I kept thinking about how ancient this craft is. In this day and age when everything is done for you in the name of convenience, I felt honored to put the effort into creating something special with my own two hands.

And here's my first bit of hand spun yarn...
(This is post washing, hanging and drying.)


It's not anywhere near perfect, but I love it! Now the question is what shall I knit with it??? A sweater or a pair of wool socks isn't really practical for Bermuda. I would love to hear your suggestions!

Linking up to some of my favorite blog carnivals - click around for some really inspiring ideas!

26 comments:

Lindsay said...

ooo how cool! I would have loved to learn how to do that right along with you!!

Montessori For Learning said...

Wow! This looks so fun. My girls love making anything with yarn and string... and my son loves the process of working with yarn and string (can't say that he ever has a final product - but he has great fun in the discovering!)

bedelia said...

I don't know anything about knitting or yarn but I did the homemade dot paint w/ the flower saver things and my boys loved it. Thanks for the idea.

Olives and Pickles said...

Waooo...Excelent job!!I need to try it.Thanks for sharing.

rm said...

Wow Mari-Ann it is so beautiful :)

I suggest making another finger knitted flower and/or make a knitting tower (see this one at The Toby Show http://thetobyshow.typepad.com/the_toby_show/2010/05/homemade-knitting-tower.html ) and James could then make something with the something you made!

CHILDHOOD MAGIC said...

You did such a fabulous job! We used our fist yarn to knit a little treasure pouch necklace. I knit the bag and my son finger-knit the cord to hang it on. Although, what I REALLY wanted to do with it was use it as doll hair! It would look so beautiful on a handmade waldorf doll. I just need to find the right kit/pattern for a doll and then I will spin up some more yarn for hair. It's on my list of about 1000 projects that I am desperate to try!

Jen said...

Umm... this looks pretty perfect to me! You continue to amaze me: "I decided I'd learn how to spin my own yarn!" Where do you get your energy and ambition?! Please send some of it my way. :)

May I suggest you knit a cute little animal with your new yarn. I'm sure James would love it.

Theresa said...

Wow, your yarn is beautiful!
I would have loved to see a pic of you in your "spinning bliss"!
As for what to make.. I bet James would love for you to make him something :)

sippy cup mom said...

Wow- that is amazing! great job, Karen
Sippy Cup Central

Montessori Beginnings said...

You are too brilliant! I agree with Childhood Magic it would look brilliant as hair for a waldorf doll. I've recently been drooling over the dolls from Dragonfly's Hollow.

Nicole said...

So pretty! That's on my list of things to try...one day. :)

Mommy Moment said...

This is great!
I actually have a carding machine (from my great grandma who has passed away)
I have made my own wool blanket for our bed and 2 wool blankets for each of our girls!
Your work is lovely!
Thanks for posting!
Jody

Mari-Ann said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement and ideas!

RM, Thank you for the link - I'll be sure to check it out!

Childhood Magic & Montessori Beginnings, I LOVE Waldorf Dolls and have speculated over making my own, but truthfully James has no interest in playing with one. :(

Jody, I didn’t know you were a knitter and spinner, too! How did you spin your yarn? I’d love to see pics!

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Oh Mari-Ann, you are amazing and inspirational. Wow - spinning your own yarn sounds lovely, and it looks beautiful! I agree that it would be gorgeous as hair for a Waldorf doll, but my first thought was a table runner or little place-mat type thing for your nature table. I hope you let us all see whatever your finished product is - it's sure to be stunning!

Linda said...

How wonderful, you really have spun beautiful yarn! I remember my first handspun was knitted up into a donkey:)
Thanks so much for posting on Creative Friday:)
Take care
Linda

regina said...

LOOOVE! if you make enough you can do something like this....http://donnawilsonsblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/get-lost-in-maze.html

which is the coolest looking maze i have ever seen, but probably not the best use of your precious homespun!

Donene said...

How fun to spin your own yarn, I lvoe it!!

Twig and Toadstool said...

Gorgeous!!!! I just bought a book about hand spinning...just have to gather my courage and roving and give it a whirl!!!
It is so lovely to feel in touch with these ancient artforms...chanelling our inner pioneers!!
xo mauren

WonderWhyGal said...

I raise Alpacas and I spin and knit. It is the most rewarding process to take the fleece from the Alpaca I have raised and turn it into yarn on my spinning wheel then knit the finished project.

You can make just about anything. Knitty has an adorable cowl/scarf that is perfect for handspun yarn. I also use the Storm Cloud Shawlette for my handspun and it comes out adorable. When you finish spinning up your yarn...the project will come to you.

I don't always spin with intention but when I finish, I know what that yarn should turn into.

Good luck and I hope you continue to post your progress through the whole process.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

MessyMissy said...

Boy, that is on my list of things to do. Thanks for inspiring me!! Here is a link to my very first blog post, addressing Traditonal Felting. It's so much fun!!
http://marvelouslymessy.blogspot.com/2009/12/and-for-my-first-post-traditional.html

Mothers' Hideaway said...

We did this when I was a kid! BTW Ashley from JustAnotherMomof2 sent me!

Zonnah said...

I love spinning yarn! At one time I even had a spinning wheel. Your yarn is very pretty.

Leigh said...

Mar, you DO NOT want to own your own sheep. Ish. But the concept of start to finish is awesome!

Beth- the mama bee said...

oh, I love it. I love doing an old craft. I always feel so connected with past generations. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

The Russian Thiele said...

I love the kitty peeking around the corner. I bet that was torture for him! Rachel

Meg Chance said...

I just re-visited your blog for summer activity ideas for my boys and I came across the spinning yarn post. I spun and wove when I was little but haven't done it in ages and was just talking to my Mom about getting back into it and teaching my boys how to use a drop spindle! Your post was inspiring! I really do love this blog even though you aren't posting as much anymore (with 2 kids myself, definitely understand). Thank you for all of your great ideas and happy spinning!

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