The Secret to Spinning a Perfect Skein
I’m a new spinner and have written about this experience a bit. Anyone who has read my posts knows I am not even close to a bobbin or two of singles worth plying, but I’m practicing as much as I can. And while I have been fortunate in having coworkers who know a ton about spinning and are happy to share their knowledge, calling them late at night or early Sunday morning—when I actually have time to spin—is probably rude.
Thankfully I have Kate Larson. Kate wears several hats: she’s an accomplished spinner, a wonderful teacher, and raises sheep herself in Indiana. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Interweave Yarn Fest a few months ago. Poor thing was exhausted and punchy from having been in the lambing shed for several nights before and probably has no memory of who I am. Nevertheless, she was very thoughtful and extremely articulate, even in her semi comatose state. Kate—if you are reading this, you rock.
Beginning Spinning on a Wheel
If you know someone interested in exploring spinning or you find yourself circling the idea, Kate’s 2 courses with us can help anyone get started. Beginning Spinning on a Wheel offers a wonderful primer: she talks about different wheel types, explains the various mechanical bits, introduces you to fiber (some from her own sheep!), and gets you spinning. Kate shows how to ply and also troubleshoots a few inevitable spinning mistakes. If you watch her while you’re at the wheel, you’ll find yourself grateful for that in particular!
Her new course, Finishing Up: How to Block, Dry, and Finish Handspun Yarns is the perfect coda. That new yarn you’re so proud of will make you even prouder if you properly finish it. Kate demonstrates how to remove yarn from the bobbin in a tidy manner and figure out how many yards you’ve spun. Then she illustrates several ways to smooth out the yarn and the fibers in it for wonderfully consistent skeins. Do you want to change or enhance the spun fiber—add loft, restore crimp, emphasize luster, or even change the color without dyeing? (With cotton that last one is totally possible!) No problem. And speaking as someone who has had more than one brush with Mothra, I really appreciate her section on storing and pest-proofing fibers. As I mentioned above, I don’t have any handspun to finish yet, but in the meantime I used her tips to restore some sadly frogged skeins back into fighting shape.
Finishing Up is now available as an on-demand course you can watch at your own pace, anywhere, any time, on any device.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources