8 Things I Hate About Spinning Yarn

Don’t get me wrong—I love spinning yarn. But like children and Christmas, spinning can make even the most devoted enthusiast a bit sour some days. Here are a few things that make me gnash my teeth.

1. Dropping drop spindles.

Yes, I know that’s why we call them “drop spindles,” but when I dropped a beloved custom spindle on concrete and chipped the whorl, I really hated spinning. This is one reason why everyone should make a DIY drop spindle: It will save a hot of heartache.

2. Living in fear of moths.

No one loves creepy crawlies in their stuff, but I don’t know anyone who has nightmares about moths the way handspinners do. I dream of a chest freezer, not for food storage but for moth extermination.

3. Explaining over and over again.

I don’t mean teaching people how to make yarn. I mean, “No, not at the gym.” Or, “I don’t mean a fidget spinner.” Least of all, “Yes, I know I can buy yarn.”

4. Spinning injuries.

If you love to do something, you’re prone to overdoing it. Part of the pleasure of spinning is the meditative nature of repetition, but “repetitive” is the first word in “repetitive strain injury.” Stretch, strengthen, and increase intensity slowly: this advice is excellent for running and just as good for spinning yarn.

5. No frogging.

My first fiber craft was knitting, and I still take great comfort in knowing that if I make a mistake, I can rip it out. Although I can add or subtract twist from my yarn and work wonders in plying, once the fiber is spun, it really can’t be unspun. No do-overs.

spinning yarn

Searching for a lost end on a spinning wheel bobbin can be maddening. Photos by Anne Merrow.

6. Losing the end on the bobbin.

It makes me crazy when I break the yarn and can’t coax it up again. Patting the bobbin with the sticky side of a piece of tape and brushing against the grain with a toothbrush work sometimes, but I confess to taking scissors to a spinning wheel bobbin more than once (which always makes a bigger mess).

7. Finding a damp end on a piece of yarn.

In my house, this means that someone has chewed through the singles I was plying, so it’s time to banish the kitten. (Be really careful with cats and yarn; they can do serious damage to themselves as well as your yarn.)

8. Lopsided bobbins.

In over a decade of spinning, I have finished plying a project with nearly equal singles exactly once. If you have a lot more yarn on one bobbin than the others, you have choices—Andean plying, Navajo plying, or plying the leftovers all together like Kate Larson—but I always feel a pang of irritation when I have yards of leftover singles.

I began writing a list of 10 things I hate about spinning, but I ran out after 8. All in all, there’s not much to hate about spinning! Coming up with 10 reasons why spinning is the best craft took much less time. If you find yourself hating spinning, take a break, stretch, and do something else for a while. You’ll fall in love with spinning again before you know it.

—Anne Merrow

Featured Image: Chipping a beloved drop spindle is the worst.

Practice spinning yarn with joy!


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