Spinning wheel info wanted

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Where would I find information on purchasing a spinning wheel? Are there any books out there that will tell me ahead of time what I am getting into??? I would like to learn how to spin first before I decide to get anymore animals. Which animals are best? I have heard about the angora rabbits ( which seem to be sooooo much work ), the sheep ( of course ) and the alpaca's. And what is this about spining dog hair???? I would like to spin so that I can use the "yarn" to make afagans, scarves, mittens, etc..... Thnaks for any info!!! Robin

-- Robin Frontz (frontzfarm@1st.net), March 21, 2001


We have Alpacas and Angora Goats(Mohair. Some people do spin dog hair. We sell our fibers directly to handspinners. Before you go out and buy a spinning wheel, try one first, it takes a lot of practice. You can allways send your fiber off to a commercial mill and have it made into yarn. Here you some WEbsites; www.ashford.co.nz www.fibersandmore.com peisland.com/wool/ angelfire.com/mn/fiberhome/processors.html

-- David in NH (grayfoxfarm@mcttelecom.com), March 21, 2001.

There is lots of information on the internet and large groups of people who do exactly what you describe.

You might first try joining an email list. My spin list is located at http://www.spinning.net/ This will get you in contact with experienced people who will be happy to share info. It is a very friendly group.

If you don't want to spend money on a wheel first, try learning to spin on a spindle. You can see instructions and download video clips at http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/index.html

For information on spinning with dog hair go to http://www.mdnpd.com/ pd/

There is one book out there titled Knitting with Dog Hair. It is the only book I know of devoted to dog hair yarn, but gives very little information on how to spin it. The people on the email Spin List give lots more information, are more experienced in doing it.

There are also lots of local spinning guilds. You might buy a copy of the magazine "Spin Off" and look in there local guild list section to find one near you. I don't know if the list is in every copy or not, but my winter one had the list. If you want, tell me where you live and I will look in my magazine to find a guild for you. Or that is something you can ask on the Spin List.

Other favorite sites are: http://www.fabrics.net/wool.htm




-- R. (thor610@yahoo.com), March 21, 2001.

Hi! I raise Angora rabbits and I am learning to spin with a hand spindle. That is hard for me but folks tell me it would be easier with a spinning wheel which I hope to have by next winter.

I don't think raising Angora rabbits is hard. You just have to make sure you keep them groomed and brushed and don't let their hair get matted. Also in our hot climate I have to make sure I keep their hair cut short, provide lots of ventilation, and provide icy bottles for them to snuggle up to in the summer.

Mine have proven to be excellent mothers, even when they have their babies on extremely cold nights!

-- Suzy in Bama (slgt@yahoo.com), March 21, 2001.


I tried to learn when I was still young, as my mother was looking for some excuse to keep her suffolk sheep areound. We carded and cleaned the wool ourselves, but it took me quite some time, and a cheerful older lady spinner an entire afternoon of sitting beside me showing me tricks and such before I even came close to usable yarn. Perhaps you should find someone local who spins (try an add in the dime paper) to give you a lesson or two before you buy a wheel, because it comes easier for some than others. (Not to mention it'll give you a better idea of the wheel you like)

-- Marty (Mrs.Puck@Excite.com), March 21, 2001.

I've given spinning demos and taught beginners from time to time, and it's always seemed easiest to start with a drop spindle. Maybe that's because it's the way I was taught, but progressing from the spindle to the wheel just seems logical to me. (Like learning to drive a car with an automatic, before moving on to a manual shift and having to throw those extra foot movements into the mix!) Going this route also offers the advantage of very low initial expense.

If you have your heart set on starting with a wheel, but don't want to spend a lot of money right off, you might want to check out the Babe's Fiber Starter. It's made of plastic pipe, and isn't as pretty as a wooden wheel, but it does get the job done. Besides, once you're bitten by the fiber bug, you'll find that there's no such thing as having too much equipment, so if the mood strikes, you can add a nice wooden wheel later on.

And as far as getting the critters is concerned -- you might want to experiment with different kinds of fiber and find out what you most enjoy spinning first. That could help narrow the field.

Hope this helps!

-- Christine (cytrowbridge@zianet.com), March 23, 2001.

I always wanted to learn how to spin and just jumped right in with both feet. I got an Ashford Traditional wheel and a drum carder.....and them came the sheep. I have three Romney's (two black ones and one white one). I am going to get two Angora's bunnies this summer. I have never been sorry about this. I absolutely love spinning, and taking care of my own fiber is no problem with the drum carder. If I had to do it all by hand, I would probably not do it at all because it takes too long. But I can spin for about two hours with just one batt off of my drum carder (I have the Louet). You can just type in spinning wheels and find all kinds of web sites that sell them. You can start out with a drop spindle if you like; it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. However, I didn't have the patience to stick with that. I wanted to see the results of my work a bit faster than I could with the spindle, so.....

As for what kinds of animals. Well, I hear dog hair is harder to spin because it has no crimp and it has such a short staple (length). You have to spin really fast to get the twist into in order to have it hold together. I have a friend who does spin tufts of dog hair into her wool and makes a really nice 'fuzzy' looking sweater. Alpaca is really nice to spin. It is really soft and fluffy, but it is a heavy fiber and should be mixed with a wool, since wool has some elasticity to it. Alpaca in a sweater, for example, will be very heavy and just hang. Angora is wonderful, too, but it is also nice blended in with wool. I really like spinning the Romney fleece. It has a nice long fiber and is a wonderful all around wool. I would definitely think about getting at least one or two sheep for their fleece and possibly an Angora rabbit for the really soft stuff. I have a friend who has two Angora's and she loves them. She doesn't have any trouble taking care of them.

Kind of a fractured posting, but I am in a hurry to get out to the barn. Lots to do today! Good luck in your endeavors.


-- Tammy (btawilliams@juno.com), March 26, 2001.

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