Spinning on a Drop Spindle is a Rollercoaster

Last fall, I took a class on how to spin with a drop spindle.  I was pretty into it for a while, managed to spin all the sample fiber I was given in the class, and knit a couple projects with it.  At the same time, I bought some pretty fiber in one of my favorite colors, but I decided I preferred not to spin it on a drop spindle and put myself on the hold list to borrow a spinning wheel from the library.  In January, I finally got the wheel, spun up most of that fiber, knit a shawl out of it, and declared myself finished with spinning.  While I had the wheel, it basically took over my life!  I did hardly anything but spin for those two weeks and, to be honest, I was not happy with how obsessed I became.  So, nope.

This month is the “Tour de Fleece” event on Ravelry, coinciding with Tour de France.  The idea, as far as I’m aware, is to spin every day and see how much you can spin by the end of the event sometime in late July.  I am not participating (I am doing “Tour de Sock” instead), but some of my friends are, and I have been seeing so many lovely, inspiring pictures of spinning from them and from others on Instagram.  I think you can probably guess where I am going with this.  That’s right–the other day, I got my drop spindle out for the first time in months.  I still have some fiber left over from the stuff I spun on the wheel and I have been spinning that on my drop spindle.

I have the worst kind of love-hate relationship with spinning on a drop spindle.  While I am spinning and things are going great, I love it and I think about all the fiber and spindles I want to buy (I’d love to try a Turkish spindle and see about getting a superwash blend to spin for socks).  However, eventually I will mess up, my fiber will break, my spindle will fall to the floor, and in that moment I will hate spinning so much that I never want to do it again.  I’ll think, “Okay, I’ll just reattach the fiber, spin a bit to make sure it’s good to go, then put it away.”  I do that, but then I think I’m on a roll and I keep going, immediately loving it again!  This cycle repeats over and over.  I guess it’s good that I don’t just give up when it breaks, but how dejected I feel about the whole thing every time it breaks is really not fun.  It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, I tell you.

Another problem I have is that the hand that holds the fiber will invariably sweat, no matter the temperature in the house.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so focused and worried about the spindle dropping again, or if it’s because what I am holding is wool and naturally warm.  Because of this, the end of the fiber usually ends up this matted, tangled, semi-felted, unusable mess.  Luckily, it’s a relatively small amount.

The mess at the end of the fiber
The mess at the end of the fiber

Despite those issues, I did manage to get about nine grams of single ply spun up over the last few days.  I had a small amount of singles spun from my previous foray, so I plied that with the yarn from this week and made a two-ply yarn.  All plied up, it came to about 54 yards in 13 grams.  That is approximately a fingering weight yarn.

Single ply from this week
Single ply from this week
Two-ply yarn on the spindle
All plied up
Wound up into a mini skein (before soaking to set the twist)

I’m always a little disappointed to see how my drop spindle yarn comes out because I’m definitely still at a beginner level.  I know it will improve with practice, so maybe I will see about getting some of that fiber I think about whenever I’m in my spinning high, before I drop the poor spindle again.

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