My Spinning Journey Part 2: Rookie Errors Number One and Two

Since I pledged, in the middle of January, to spin for at least 15 minutes a day, I’ve pretty much managed it. My first steps were to reminded myself how to do it – having given up the wheel I was borrowing in October when my classes ended.

As you may recall, once I’d remembered what to do, I decided the best way to encourage myself would be to plan to knit something with the yarn I produced. I pulled out this carded fleece and decided to spin some yarn for a pair of Christmas socks.

Christmas red green white jacob carder felting

But I quickly decided I didn’t want to spin the colours together, since even I know red+green = brown.

As I started spinning the white, I also decided I didn’t want to ply different colours together to give a barber pole effect. That only left colour work to mix up the colours.  So off I went spinning the natural white wool, working on making my singles as even as possible. I was pretty pleased with the results I was getting.


Having spun what I figured would be enough, I plied my white singles together…

Hand Spun Jacob White23

Still pretty pleased with myself I spun the red…


and plyed it together…

Red Handspun Jacob

By now I had decided I was only going to knit red and white. So all I had to do was ‘finish’ the yarn, devise a pattern and start knitting. But when I picked the yarns up together, I noticed they looked rather different.

Handspun Jacob

In part I think it’s down to my spinning improving. I’m still making a few fluffy slugs (is there a technical word for them?) in the white, but have pretty much eliminated them from the red. However, I also think I made two rookie errors:

Rookie Error Number One: I’d aimed to spin all my singles the same thickness, but hadn’t checked my red singles against my white as I spun. I don’t think the difference in thickness is too bad, but I think could get them closer.


Rookie Error Number Two: The red yarn is more loosely plied and also, I think, too loosely plied for socks. I was cross about this, since I’d found a picture to check my white plying tension against when I plied it. However, in my enthusiasm to ply the red, I forgot about the picture and convinced myself the ply was fine without comparing red with white.

Time to reformulated my plan…

  • I’m now spinning some more white to go with the red – even if the difference in the singles isn’t as bad as I think, more practice can only be a good thing.


  • I know I could re-ply the red, but I think I’m going to knit it up as is. They’ll be a lot to learn by doing that.
  • I’m going to  knit a pair of mitts – I’m sure the ply is more suited to that than socks and they’re quicker.
  • I’m going to recognise that knitting the mitt will be a brilliant learning experience and not be attached to being able to wear what I knit from this yarn.


If you’re a spinner and have any words of wisdom, I’m always grateful for them.

And if you don’t spin, thanks for hanging on in to the end of the post – hope it makes some sense to you.



Learning Without Trying

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my first spinning lesson and how my teacher has a theory that dancers find it easier to learn because they’re use to making complicated movements with their feet at the same time as with their hands. Being a complete klutz at dancing, I hadn’t expected to be a very quick learner, but in the event I turned out not to be too bad.


Continue reading “Learning Without Trying”

My Spinning Journey Part One: Channelling Anita Rani – aka learning to spin

I ‘blame’ Shelia who blogs at Sewchet. Not long ago, we fell into conversation about learning to spin. Since we live in neighbouring counties – we speculated about taking a weekend workshop together somewhere in the middle. However, I knew of an amazingly knowledgeable and talented teacher called Jane Deane, who lives locally to me, so meet in the middle turned into sleep over.

Continue reading “My Spinning Journey Part One: Channelling Anita Rani – aka learning to spin”