Thursday, 30 January 2014


Bobbin sat on spinning wheel.
I have an old Ashford Traditional spinning wheel that doesn't come out nearly as often as I wish. Which is a pity as spinning is a really therapeutic activity. Some might say monotonous but personally I find it very peaceful and relaxing. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged everyone to spin a little everyday for spiritual as well as economic reasons. Sounds good to me.

On the bobbin here is some grey wool spun from roving, bought pre-combed wool ready to spin. It was part of a starter pack of wool and a particular colour that never appealed to me so it has sat there for a couple of years. Now that it is spun it's a lovely yarn that is already inspiring ideas as to how I could use it.

I'm not a big fan of roving, I prefer to wrestle a fleece from a great mass into dainty balls of yarn. Very satisfying. Unfortunately my son is very sensitive to many things and I noted that last time I was dealing with a washed but uncombed fleece he came out in hay fever symptoms and was uncomfortable for several days so for now I use the much cleaner roving.

Spinning is a surprisingly expensive hobby, especially if you want a wheel. I was gifted mine for a birthday and I'm quite happy with it though I do dream of having a more flexible model. Despite being from the 70's it is a standard design and parts are very easily available. But I started with a spindle and pair of carders and it grew from there. For somebody interested in giving it a try that is what I would recommend getting though probably replace the carders with a metal toothed dog comb unless you are sure that you will keep going. If you are spinning from roving then you could skip the comb or carders but it is useful to have a tool that will comb through the wool if needed.

My very first go at spinning was at around the age of 13 when we made spindles using a dowel and a potato at Girl Guides. We teased the wool open by hand. It made a big impact on me, it is a skill that our ancestors would have known very well. A lovely link to the past.


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