Supported Spinning – My Journey to Laceweight Yarn

Whilst waiting for some hints and tips from our wonderfully talented Guild members I thought I’d try a spot of supported spinning.

I understand supported spindles come in all types, shapes and sizes but I settled on 2.  I thought I’d try a Russian spindle and a Tibetan spindle. I also purchased a matching bowl all made by J.A.G Drake and available from Adelaide Walker in Addingham.

Spindles for supported spinning

I’d heard starting off can be a pain but this was ok for me. I typically start my drop spindling by hanging the hook on the fibre and twisting until I get a decent length to secure around the spindle shaft. I more or less did the same thing with the supported spindles.

Keeping the spindle moving – tick
Drafting out fibre – tick
Keeping spindle moving whilst drafting out fibre – no tick!

Despite the above, my park and draft is getting a good workout as this is all I can accomplish at this early stage of supported spinning. My longdraw technique is also coming on BUT my yarn falls apart or breaks. I am trying to think about my twist and my light handling of the fibre supply keeping the spindle moving and there are moments I feel like an expert as I spin and then butterfly my lovely fine yarn around my fingers before making a neat cob on the spindle shaft. It is shortlived! My spindle (as it can’t be me!) decides to remind me that it is a sophisticated piece of equipment which needs attention and the fibre joins in for company!! I need twist cries the fibre! I need smooth motion bellows the spindle. I need Prosecco weeps the spinner.

I have to say despite the above I persevere and in all honesty am beginning to enjoy it.  I set myself a challenge to spin 15g of fibre (mostly Shetland) and to try and spin thinner each time. I also throw in a spot of natural dyeing using Avocado skin and stone!  My samples started at the equivalent of 360m/100g and my last sample (merino) was spun at the equivalent of 800m/100g – YEAH!!! 

Yarns spun using supported spinning

My tips are:

  • Practice spinning the spindle without fibre
  • use rolags where possible
  • keep your rolags light and fluffy
  • have the lightest touch when drafting back
  • be prepared for wastage
  • keep Prosecco chilled!
Closeup of skein