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 Just Getting Started - Beginning to Spin
 Spinning kit for Christmas HELP!
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lisa_marie2323
New Pal

37 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2005 :  04:04:26 AM  Show Profile Send lisa_marie2323 a Private Message
My sister, Rebecca, gave me and my other sister each a spinning kit for Christmas. Rebecca said she was at a craft fair and the seller was spinning and dyeing the wool in pots. She loved to watch, and thought we'd enjoy fooling around with the kit. Esp. me, because I knit. Really nice of her! : ) But I'm clueless!

Here's what we got in each kit. A spindle with it's own bag, a bag of dyed wool, and a comb. No instructions, or anything.

I've been doing a bit of research tonight, and I'm a bit concerned that she got a bad deal. First, the wool is lovely colors, but it's all tangled and matted. You can hardly get your fingers through it. Some of the pieces are crimped and curly like pictures I saw on Ebay of "locks" for sale? But much of it is a fuzzy, frizzy, matted mess. I don't see how you could get strands to spin out of it.

Also, since the kits came with a comb, I looked at some sites to see how to use them. The combs I saw don't look like ours! First of all, we got one EACH. All the ones I saw for sale came in pairs. Ours both have short teeth, one plastic, the other metal, and are similar in size to a hair comb. When I looked closer, I saw "CONAIR" on one of them!!

(To be honest, I'm not sure if the combs came with the kits. The lady may have told my sister we'd need to comb the wool before spinning it, and my sister, knowing nothing about spinning, bought regular "people" combs to add to the kit. : ) I'm not sure it really matters, anyway, since you can't even begin to get a comb through most of that matted wool!)

So do you have any advice? Is there some way to make this wool usable? Maybe I'm misjudging it. I hope so! I feel kind of bad about her getting ripped off. I think she spent quite a bit of $$ on these kits. The spindles at least are quite pretty. And the wool is GORGEOUS colors. Salvaging it would be nice. Lisa

BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2005 :  04:52:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message
Yes - this wool is quite usable. But you will have to comb it. You will need a comb with strong teeth that are fairly close set. If the comb in the kit doesn't look like it would make it through the fibers, go to the pet section of any store and buy a dog comb. Then, take a piece of the wool, or a lock if it is in that form, and hold it at one end. Starting at the other tip, gently comb through the wool, like you were combing a little girl's tangled hair.

When it is smooth you are ready to begin spinning with it.

If you search the archives of this section, you'll find heaps and tons of information about how to start spinning with a drop spindle, including web sites with videos, web sites with photos, and lots of titles of books and videos that will help you on your journey. My own advice is - do not dispair. Remember that 5 year olds used to be given this task to earn money for their families - so surely you too can learn to do it. Your first skeins may be lumpy and bumpy - but everyone else's were too.

good luck on your fiber adventure. There is nothing so delightful than knitting with your own handspun.

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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Valk_scot
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United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2005 :  05:00:36 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message
It might be that you have washed but uncombed or carded wool wich needs processing, or wool straight from the dyepot. Freshly dyed wool is always a bit clumpy. And the dyed locks are probably just that. If the spinning lady was a dyer too, then the kits you got were probably a bit nearer the genuine article than the highly processed fibres you can buy in the shops. So don`t feel you were ripped off, it might be because of this. Craft fair items are often far, far different from the commercial stuff. Are they handmade spindles and artisan fibres or cheap spindles and processed samples from a shop? Sounds like you bought and paid for the first, which probably means wonderful stuff but not for total beginners.

Anyway, first suggestion.....good website, with videos.

http://www.icanspin.com/toc.htm

Second, to use these fibres it sounds as if you might need a set of hand carders. But in the meanwhile, you can smooth them out a but by hand. If the slightly matted fibres are in long strips, try holding it with about two or three inches between your hands and "snapping" the fibres, ie short sharp jerks until the fibre starts to move and pull open between your hands. Don`t pull it apart, but move your hands along the same amount ant repeat. With any luck the fibre should fluff up a but and straighten out. It`sa very common to have to do this with freshly dyed fibre.

The combs will be for the locks. Hold a lock at one end and gently stroke the other with the comb until the lock fluffs open. Reverse the lock and repeat. Think baby hair, not grooming a horse`s tail! Gently!

Val.

[img]http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/26/26_9_21.gif[/img]
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lisa_marie2323
New Pal

37 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2005 :  01:44:12 AM  Show Profile Send lisa_marie2323 a Private Message
Thanks for all the good advice. I'm afraid I can't use any of it, though. : ) I was fooling around with the wool, and it gave me an athsma attack. I knew I was allergic to wool when I touched it. (I am REALLY allergic - to almost all furry and fleecey animals.) I put up with the itching hands when I'm charity knitting with wool, but I can't wear it myself. I had no idea the loose fibers would give me asthma. But being around the animals themselves does, so I guess I shouldn't be suprised. Maybe I'll have to get some silk to spin with!! : ) Lisa
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BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2005 :  05:48:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message
Oh - that is such sad news. But yes - do try both silk and cotton and flax. for that matter, I have some kapok a friend sent me - you know, the stuff inside life preservers - and I can spin that.

Still - I always feel so sorry for people with animal fiber allergies. In your next life I hope you get to play with wool.

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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