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A venture into spinning fiber into yarn

I've been knitting for the majority of my life, but always bought yarn ready-to-knit, as most knitters probably do.  I have wondered about spinning my own yarn, but I've never really wanted to either buy a drop spindle (very slow?) or buy a wheel (expensive!).  And I kept telling myself I had more than enough yarn already, so I shouldn't need to spin my own yarn. 

Well, based on this post's title, I bet you can figure out what happened. 

I bought an electric eel! 

Not the animal, but the spinning wheel.  They're mini e-spinners made by Dreaming Robots, and meant to be affordable and portable wheels.  


I bought the purple one (there's a black one too, but it's so tiny and cute, purple just felt right).  The yarn guides aren't the ones it came with -- my SO 3D printed me these: vampyyy's EEW Nano yarn guide.  Not pictured is the tension knob, also 3D printed (and also by vampyyy). 

I was really struggling with the tension system that the Nano came with, as the tiniest adjustments had extraordinarily large effects on take-up and twist.  The tension knob really helps.  I also had to figure out that over-spinning/too much twist (in other words, not enough uptake) means add tension.  And too much uptake means remove tension. 

I bought pencil roving from this Etsy shop, as the internet had told me pencil roving is a good fiber format to learn how to spin. 

I don't think I'd even seen roving in person before (somehow!) and I was very surprised at how soft and squishy the roving was.  Honestly wanted to not spin it and just leave it alone, as a fluffy pillow of fiber.  But that would be silly. 

Squishy squishy roving!

I will spare you the details of how my very first attempts at spinning went -- the short summary is "not well".  Everything from over-spun to under-spun, but not really much in between.  Anyway. 

Here's my first few 2-ply yarns:

Yarns #1, 2, and 4
Yarns #1, 2, and 4

Yarn #3 was not included in the above picture because there wasn't enough twist in the singles, and when I tried to ply them, they sort of just flew apart.
 
Yarn #3.  Well, it was supposed to be a yarn.

Anyway.  Yarn #5 was a chain-plied yarn, and it turned out really well, I think.  I'm a big fan of chain-plying now.  Before I attempted it, I assumed the points where new loops were drawn through would be bulky or visible -- this is not true at all! 

Yarn #5, single and ready to mingle, I mean, be plied.
Yarn #5, plied and caked. 

Yarn #5 turned out to be somewhere around DK/bulky.  And coincidentally, I made it exactly one ounce (30 grams). 

Since the EEW Nano wheel is pretty small, I had to use two full bobbins for the singles, and one very full bobbin to ply.  I guess I'll have to get better at joining yarns securely and invisibly! 

I knit up yarn #5 into a swatch to see how it knit up:

Swatching yarn #5.  Only used half. 

I didn't use up all of yarn #5, as I plan to make a weaving with my first few yarns to memorialize them, but I'm very pleased with this swatch.  Because this proves I can make useable yarn.  Not cost-effective, not time-efficient, but yarn nonetheless. 

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