Spinning – Pay No Attention To That Spinning Wheel In the Center Of The Room . . . .


I love to spin

But life has been busy and spinning has felt like a luxury that I can’t yet afford.  Not in terms of money, but in terms of time. 

But I love to spin.

So I am slowly easing it back into my life.  A little bit sneakily (is that a word?).  It is just kind of growing in its presence in the house – quietly – unobtrusively – until one day it will just be there – all set – ready for me to just sit down and spin.

It started with the space.

I don’t have a dedicated space in the house to spin in – it has always been just trying to fit the wheel into an open space in the living room when I wanted to spin, and then picking up the wheel and hiding it away until I was ready to spin again.  So I started to clear a space in my room.  I moved stuff against walls and put my supplies and rovings and projects on shelves on top of the dog crates (remember – we sleep in a room with 5 dogs (6 before Sparky passed). 

And I moved Linda Lou in.

Linda Lou at home in my room

Now the rocker is not the best spinning stool – but for now it is working.

Then I set her up – tightening up the fishing line on the brake – and found my bobbins that still had those dribs and drabs of yarn on them – and I sat down and plied them together.

emptying bobbins

close up of emptied bobbins plied

I kinda like what I got.  Not sure what I will do with it, but I will let you know when I figure it out.

Plying that yarn made me realize that I was out of practice.  I needed my next bit of spinning to be practice – to be something to get me back to where I felt confident in my ability to actually spin a consistent tight yarn.  The problem is that I sooooo love all of my rovings, I did not want to risk screwing any of them up at this stage in my spinning.  But then I remembered.

I bought a big bag of “seconds” roving on Sunday morning at Rhinebeck this year.

bag of rovings pieces

You know, those pieces left over after weighing out the 4 ounce balls of roving, or those pieces that got wet and might be a little felted – or a lot felted.  Just the odds and ends. 

I kinda got a lot because I thought this could be good to teach the boys to spin with.  The roving was colorful which would be fun for them too.

top of bag of roving pieces

So I pulled out the bag of rovings over the weekend, spread them and – and then handed them to Vash.

roving pieces

Who put them into nice piles by color. 

color piles of rovings

Then I picked one color pile and started to pre-draft those odds and ends to get them ready to spin.

one color pile of roving pieces

It was not all that easy.

There is a method.  You start with a fairly felted piece of roving.  Then you take that piece and pull it open.  That frees the fibers.  Then you start pre-drafting those newly freed fibers into a long thin piece of roving, which you then wind into a bird’s nest. 

the process of pre-drafting felted roving

I made a basket of bird nest pre-drafted roving.

basket of predrafted roving

That’s all I got done this week.  But that was the most I have done on my spinning in months.

And I just snuck it in.  Wove it into my days.  Little bits at a time.

Sometimes that is just how it has to be. 

So here is where I will show you what I have done – when I have done something else.  Some weeks there may be nothing to show you.  But then again – spinning has that way of pulling me back to it.  It is very zen.  It is my peaceful happy place – feeling the fiber move through my fingers to the rhythm of the wheel to the time measured by my feet on the pedal.  Thoughts become very centered – just watching the flow of fiber through your fingers.  Everything else moves away and you are in the center – and the dancing swirl of humanity grows further away as your mind concentrates on the flow of the fiber into the orifice to the turn of the wheel. 

I love spinning.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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14 Responses to Spinning – Pay No Attention To That Spinning Wheel In the Center Of The Room . . . .

  1. This is the way to get things started, and ultimately, to get things done—one little step at a time. I love it! I really love the little bird’s nests of rovings all ready to go…

    • Shel says:

      I am loving the bird’s nests too. I can’t wait until the weekend when I can sit with them at the wheel. I have in mind to spin it – or ply it – with the fleece I have been working on cleaning. I want to work on one last scouring of the fleece this week to see if I can get it carded and ready to spin on the weekend. I have an idea in my head . . . . We will see. . . . . .

  2. Pia says:

    Good for you! Spinning is so relaxing. I’ve never seen the double drive band used like that, though, does that actually work without issues?!

    • Shel says:

      Hi Pia. I am so happy to see you commented. I did not set the drive up like that. The bands were set around the larger whorl but one band slipped off onto the smaller one – I think after I had stopped spinning and while I was moving things to take the picture. However, that is how I was shown by my spinning teacher to set the double drive on this wheel, so I did not think much of it when I saw it. Very nice to hear from you. 🙂

      • Pia says:

        Ah, then I understand better. The way you’re using it is actually single drive, also called Scotch tension. Which is absolutely fine. In DD you don’t use the nylon brake, you put one of the driveband loops on the bobbin instead. Some prefer one, others the opposite, none is more correct than the other. 🙂 Happy spinning!

        • Shel says:

          Ahhhh – thank you. In my mind I saw both bands on the whorls and completely forgot that they went the other way. Hence why I am practicing again before I start working on my new beautiful rovings I got at Rhinebeck this year. (All I bought were rovings – I am kinda obsessed with them). Keep on eye on me and let me know if I screw up along the way. I can use all the help I can get. 😀

          • Pia says:

            I’m already subscribed, so if you post it, I’ll see it. Always love to see what everybody else is creating.

          • Shel says:

            Ack – it wouldn’t let me reply under your reply so I am doing it above your reply. I signed up to follow you too (I hit your page, saw black hollyhock and you got me right there!!). Happy to add you to my blogging friends.

  3. Danielle says:

    WooHoo! Go Shelly!

    • Shel says:

      I have to start spinning. I made a deal with myself that I could not go to Rhinebeck this year unless I spun all the fiber I got last year. Plus I love spinning so . . . . .

      • Danielle H. says:

        I spent 5 minutes on the ellyptical last night. Tonight I’ll try to do 10. Honestly, it’s so boring….I think I’d go longer if I had a TV in front of me or a book or something. But the machine is up in our room and 5 minutes feels like an eternity!

        • Shel says:

          Have Mike read to you while you walk. Vash does his reading to me while I walk. I do 20 minutes that way because Vash has to read for 20 minutes each day. We set his timer (Santa left him a chicken kitchen timer in his stocking) and he reads while I walk. I walked to the family read of the Hobbit the other night. Do you have books on tape that you can play up there? That’s another option. Last night I did not walk at all though. I was just kind of off kilter last night. I will get back to it tonight.

  4. What a great blog post! I really enjoy it.

    • Shel says:

      Oh thank you. I love your taste in choosing older vintage fabrics and your dye colors in your work. I am venturing into the world of fabric dyeing this summer (hopefully) and hope you will check in to lend advice.

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