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|
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, 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.