Spinning for Stress Relief (and Learning)

On the left the blended roving. On the right, yarn made from stripped roving that shows the gradations from dyeing.

When I learned to spin over 20 years ago, I spun every day. I learned that if I spun before bedtime, it would reduce my bedtime reading from chapters to just a few pages. It relaxed me that much. Over the years, my spinning time has been reduced and filled with knitting and weaving and business. The other night I was sitting trying to read a book and not succeeding. I just couldn’t focus. I looked up and *bingo,* there was that spinning wheel staring at me across the room.

A strip of roving that was spun to make the right sample above.

In my to-do pile was some sample spinning because we are looking at bringing Sweet Georgia yarn and spinning top into the store. Voila! I could work and relax at the same time. It was a very small sample, probably a bit over an ounce. With all my fiber prep tools at work, I had to use what I had. My hands. I stripped the roving lengthwise and made five different pieces of about equal sizes (no scale at home either). First I spun two as they came off the length of top, making a big honking knot where one ended and another began. I’ll explain the knots at the end.

Working from the same ends of the stripped roving, I pulled off bits that were about 5-6 inches long and piled them on my chair’s arm.
Then I took each pile and did the same thing again to blend them a bit more.
My version of spinning from the fold is to fold the prepared fiber and hold it between my thumb and first finger. My fingers just won’t cooperate when I try to place the fold over my index finger.

I then took the other three lengths and blended them as best I could on the arm of my chair. I did that one length at a time and then blended each stack with itself again, trying to blend as much as possible. I split the resulting fluff piles into half and spun from the fold.

The yarn on the left is from the blended preparation. It is much more heathery. Ideally, I would have liked to run it through a drum carder and spin from lengthwise strips from the batt. The yarn on the right maintains it’s color integrity better because it is spun as it is dyed and the direction of spinning and plying is carefully maintained.

The difference in the yarn is remarkable. I learned that I need more practice spinning, that spinning from the end of the stripped roving created a smoother yarn, and that I’m still not an ace at spinning from the fold. So, here I share my results with you and let you know that spinning is still a really great stress reducer and I think doctors should prescribe it for anxiety! Ahhhhh! I will be doing more spinning in the days, weeks and months ahead and I even predict that my spinning will improve.

A note about my big honking knots when spinning samples. By spinning onto the same bobbin, I save time and my spinning rhythm is maintained better. Every time I end the length of single that I will ply with it’s partner/s, I put a knot. Then, I transfer the singles from the spinning wheel bobbin to weaving bobbins using a bobbin winder. When I come to a knot, I break the yarn and stop. Get a new bobbin and continue winding off. In this case, I ended up with four weaving bobbins ready for plying. These looked so different on the bobbins, it was easy to see the pairs. Finally, I should add, that I always transfer the singles on my spinning wheel bobbins onto a spare bobbin or weaving spool and ply from those. That way, I  always begin plying in the same direction as I started spinning and my finicky fingers like the way that feels.

One thought on “Spinning for Stress Relief (and Learning)

  1. Nice, Joan. I like the idea of spinning to reduce stress. Rather early in my spinning life my husband could see there way it relieved my stress. I got home from work one night sputtering and sputtering about work. Tim said, “Honey, why don’t you sit down and spin a little. It will make you feel better.” And it did. At first I trebled hard and fast at first, and then it slowed down and I calmed down. Sometimes I forget that spinning is a calming influence.

    I was so sorry to hear about your breast cancer diagnosis. You just don’t need one more thing on your plate and to worry about. And you have to wait for this coronas virus to slow down before you can have the surgery and radiation. I can see why you couldn’t concentrate on your reading. I remember one time when I was decorating Ukranian Easter eggs. The movement of my stylus from the flame, to the wax, to the egg was almost hypnotic. I found I blocked everything else out. What a calming effect. I think it is the same with spinning.

    So, what are you putting into that pile for Debbie and me?

    I was working on the hat but I took a break to start a sweater with the blue yarn I bought from second chance. I’m using the Suzanne Bryan tutorial called ITAG Cardigan. It is a top down cardigan with a few cables and pockets. I’ll get back to the hat soon.

    Hang in there, dear friend. Cherie



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