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The hands remember…..

March 15, 2009

Apologies for the lack of posting – baby small has been poorly and in need of lots of cuddles and attention. She’s on the mend now though and getting back to her usual busy self which has given me a bit of time to make this….


It’s my first plied handspun and I’m ridiculously proud of it. It was all spun and plied on my drop spindle. I spun two singles – one of rather lovely hand dyed corriedale wool and one of less lovely commercially dyed merino – then wound them into balls on my nostepinne. I placed the balls in bowls in an attempt to stop them for rolling around too much – a rather vain attempt as it turned out (will try upside down flower pots next time) – then plied them using the drop spindle again. 


The yarn isn’t perfect – its a bit ‘thick and thin’ in places – but if I wanted perfectly uniform yarn I guess I could just go and buy some mill spun stuff! In my opinion, part of the beauty of handspun is its more rustic quality and the fact that whatever you make with it will be truly unique.


Someone more eloquent than myself has described learning to spin as less like learning something new, more like remembering something old. This really struck a chord with me as when I started spinning it just seemed so right. My hands wanted to be doing it and now, if I go for too long without spinning, they start to twitch impatiently. It’s as if they’re telling me “this is what we were made to do”. Perhaps is stems from some strange, deep-rooted, mystical, past-lives type memory thing (!) or perhaps its just that I’ve found something I truly love to do. Who knows! 

It’s very different from my love of crochet. The pleasure I get from crochet is more to do with the finished object or the ability to experiment and design, but with spinning, it’s the process I love. I love watching the twist run up the drafted fibres in a smooth fluid motion that seems almost magical to me. I love how the fibres slip easily and gratifyingly against each other as I draft. I love how the spindle just keeps going round and round and round long after you’d think it would have run out of spin. It all seems so simple but oh so clever.  I apologise for all this gushing – I guess I’m pretty besotted! I know its early days yet but I’m starting to feel I’ve finally found my vocation and that’s rather a nice way to feel.


Back to practicalities. I’m not quite sure what I plan to do with the handspun. Part of me thinks it would be nice to save up all my early handspun for a big project and make something truly fabulous but then there’s the other part of me that appreciates instant gratification. When I get chance, I plan on crocheting up some swatches in various stitches using the handspun to see how it looks. I guess I’ll just see what ideas the swatches inspire….

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2009 11:43 pm

    You don’t need to apologise for writing this, it was a real pleasure to read, and to identify with. I agree that the spinning is a pleasure in its own right, and there’s something very primitive at work. I like the way you’ve posed your beautiful finished yarn with coloured objects – nice pictures. I think there’s a gap in the market for knitting patterns that only require 20/30/40 yards! (I have a few such skeins here beside me!)

  2. dowhatyoulove permalink
    March 16, 2009 7:45 am

    How beautiful! I think thats wonderful that you are so passionate about your spinning. Perhaps you are right that you did it in a past life, and your soul is remembering the motion and process of doing it. Even if thats not the case, it seems like your destiny, a deep passion that brings you joy in each moment of the process. When do you get a wheel? Do you think you would sell your handspun yarn?

    Like you I love the feel of handspun yarn. There is just something about how it looks, and the energy in it that is so beautiful. I played around a little bit with a drop spindle. I didn’t do a whole lot, but I had fun with what I did do. Maybe I will play with it again one of these days.

    Keep doing what you love!
    I’m glad your little one is feeling better.

  3. March 16, 2009 9:51 am

    Oh wow – that is so impressive. When I’ve watched people spinning it made me really giddy so I don’t think I’ve any inherent ability!!
    That yarn could make/contribute to a gorgeous throw – something that would be an heirloom (quite some spinning needed though!).

  4. March 16, 2009 10:44 am

    Thanks for the lovely comments everyone!

    peahen – yes, I do seem to be accumulating lots of little skeins too! I’m thinking they might make good coasters but there’s only so many coasters one house can hold…. 🙂

    Stacey – I won’t be getting a wheel for some time yet – and it is rather dependent on what bonus my husband gets this year. In a way I’m glad that I’ve got time to practice on a drop spindle first though and work on my drafting rather than rushing into getting a wheel. It gives me chance to research different types of wheel too and hopefully try out some different types to see which feels most comfortable for me. Yes, eventually I would like to sell my yarn – although i think I need a bit more practice before then! I have such a hankering to start doing craft fairs again but I know its best to wait until I have a quality product to offer.

    Louise – its actually much easier than I was expecting although I think doing a course really helped. A big granny square throw would be lovely (and I was thinking earlier how I could do with a picnic blanket now that the weather is so lovely) – it would take quite a while to make but I could always use some bought yarn too – I think the juxtaposition of the smooth yarn with my bumpy stuff would work quite well! I’ll have to make a test square when I get chance….

    Thanks again for your comments lovely people!

  5. March 16, 2009 12:31 pm

    Loving your handspun yarn! Hope baby is well now.

  6. March 17, 2009 9:22 pm

    Your writing has made me want to get out the drop spindle and fleece that has been hiding in a bag for several months and have a go. I love the idea of it being remembering something old rather than learning something new. It doesn’t sound so scary put like that. Hope your little one is well again.

  7. March 18, 2009 12:24 am

    hearing you “gush” about spinning is exactly how I felt then and still feel now after all this time.. It doesn’t go away… so satisfying……

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