Spin Control and Conscious Spinning

Aside from the fact that I get to play with yarn and fiber everyday, there are some moments when I realize that my job is really, really cool. Enter Exhibit A (at left), a super advance copy of Spin Control, the upcoming Interweave book by Amy King of Spunky Eclectic fame. I’ve been looking forward to this book, and the other day I walked downstairs to the book department and managed to snag myself a preview copy even though it doesn’t come out for a few more months—I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!

This book is a fabulous tutorial about how to spin the exact yarn you want—there are sections on how to achieve different color effects by predrafting your fiber, the difference in wear between a woolen and worsted yarn, how to spin a strong singles, and much, much more. The information is the perfect mix of technical education and inspiration, and I’ve realized something as I’ve been reading—I don’t have much spin control. I really only spin one kind of yarn—a fairly low-twist two-ply yarn that measures right around 15 wraps per inch. I don’t do this on purpose, I just start spinning and that’s the yarn I end up with. I’m going to call this phenomenon “comfort-zone yarn” (you can see a bunch of mine in the photo at bottom left).

In my last newsletter post, I mentioned that my anxiety over knitting with handspun comes from a fear of yarn substitution. I think this is where the problem stems from: while I’ve gotten pretty good at making comfort-zone yarn, I don’t have the skills to spin a yarn to meet existing specifications. I started spinning and fell straight into a spinning rut! This really doesn’t sit well with me because I don’t just want to make good comfort-zone yarn, I want to make good any yarn.

I know we’re about a quarter of the way done with 2009 already, but Amy’s book has inspired me to make a belated New Year’s resolution—conscious spinning! I will not fall idly into my comfort zone. I will consider color repeats, drafting methods, and plying possibilities. I will think about what size my yarn should be, how it should wear, and what kind of stitch definition I’d like it to have. I will do my best to plan the technical aspects of my yarn before I get lost in the meditative trance of the wheel. In short, I will be in control, and the yarn will do what I say.

Onward, to total yarn domination! (insert diabolical laugh here)

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