Saturday, 15 February 2014

New Hobby

Santa was really good to me this year, he brought me the most perfect gift, something I have wanted for a long time, a few weeks before Christmas this arrived:

Ashford traditional wheel
I have wanted to learn to spin for several years and after some encouragement(and a few practices on her wheel) from a spinning friend I took the plunge and ordered a wheel. it came from Wingham Woolwork which is the country's cheapest supplier of Ashford spinning wheels,which come from New Zealand where they know a bit about sheep. much practising has done and my hand eye coordination is getting better, this is my first ball of usable yarn

I have joined  a spinning guild and two local groups so should be able to spin with friends at least three times a month.It is great spinning in the company of others you learn so much more than from books alone. So far I have been gifted several rare breed sheep fleeces and promised many more, preparing the fleece is more time consuming than expected but washed fleece ready to spin costs around £20 a kg so grateful for the gifts! 

So far I have fleece from the following breeds

Jacob (the picture above is Jacob)
Torwen(welsh sheep)
Ouessant (mini French sheep)

The fleeces are in a range of colours from jet black through to white and all shades of brown grey and cream in between.  I have managed to get all the fleece washed and almost all of it carded on a drum carder hired from the spinners guild for £4 for the month. Carding is the process of getting the fibres all neat ready for spinning and is very time consuming and more than a bit fiddly, so this bit of kit has saved me loads of time and at £250 I don't think I will ever own my own. As well as spinning raw fleece I have ordered some ready to spin 'roving' also know as 'tops' from World of Wool , this is much easier to spin than fleece but costs much more. I have ordered 3 colourways:




 I am looking forward to spinning these lovely colour combinations, I will post pictures once it is spun up and the non spinners among you will be surprised at the change in their appearance as the colours change so much once twisted . Spinning is very relaxing lulling me into an almost Zen like state and it is totally addictive. Only downside is there aren't enough hours in the day to spend doing it, although the recent bad weather has meant doing a little more than usual. 


  1. Exciting times for you, I remember learning to spin with a spindle as a small child. My granny used to collect fleece from fences and prepare it, my grandfather said it made the warmest socks.

    1. People still do that, I am useless with the spindle but may revisit it later.

  2. What a lovely gift. I look forward to seeing what you do. Unfortunately, I'm seriously thinking of selling my Ashford Spinning Wheel as I just don't have the time to use it anymore. It's such a shame, as I love working with wool.

  3. That's a shame, time is always in short supply isn't it

  4. I love the colourways you have chosen, look forward to seeing what you produce with them, I got myself an ashford last year so I could learn to spin in readiness for getting Alpacas, I now have 2 and looking forward to the shearing this spring so I can spin there fleeces.

    1. ooh how lovely I have been given an alpaca fleece but not figured out how to prepare it yet, I think it needs combing rather than carding to remove guard hairs any tips ?