My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Spinning Out of Control

Lucy looks on in amusement as I attempt to turn roving into yarn.


In order to provide you with a chuckle, here is photo of some of my spinning. The results of my very first attempt is at the far left, and the rest follow in chronological order.


Clearly, practice helps, as my spinning has been getting progressively more even, and is now starting to look like “real” yarn. I’m not sure I’ll ever get great at it, because I want to devote more time to knitting than spinning, but it sure is fun!

L-B very kindly brought her drop spindle and a spinning wheel, a lazy kate, swift, ball winder, carders and a whole bunch of fiber to the retreat and taught me to use the spindle the first afternoon. I couldn’t use her wheel — it’s a lovely antique and somewhat tempermental and I’m too uncoordinated.

I brought the box of fiber that Dena had sent me, and we happily spun up a bunch of samples.

I started out using my Bosworth midi, but I bought another spindle, one made by Kundert Wheels, in the market Saturday afternoon.


I found this one much easier to use than the Bosworth. I’ve named her Anya.

Yesterday I hauled this out:


This is a merino/cashmere blend that I bought (along with quite a lot of other stuff!) from Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks.

I have some Spirit Trail yarn, and as you might recall, Jennifer kindly dyed and donated some mohair for a Wendyknits contest prize last summer. But seeing so much yarn and unspun fiber in such glorious colors in one place made me woozy. Jennifer’s fiber is gorgeous.

So I spun some of the merino/cashmere and made this:


I love the color!

I did work on Ingrid over the weekend, and finished the first sleeve.


Here’s what the sleeve increases look like:


I made a good start on the second sleeve, but guess what? It looks pretty much the same as the first sleeve!

Back to work today. *sigh*


  1. Great fun to see your spinning beginnings Wendy! I have two Kunderts, and they’re pretty much my favorites too. “Anya”? Hey, as long as you have fun!

  2. Wendy, your sleeve (and spinning which I know nothing about) looks beautiful. I’m glad you are slowing down and giving your wrists a rest. Thanks for writing ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. the spinning looks terrific! If you want to try out a wheel, you may be able to borrow or rent a wheel from your local spinning guild.

  4. Alice in Richmond says:

    Hey Wendy, I am happy to see that you are trying spinning. Since sometimes my RA flares up and I can’t knit much on occasion due to wrist issues I have recently reconnected with my wheel. I use an Ashford Traditional, the so-called VW of wheels, and we produce good results. Go for it with the wheel purchase. If I can master the coordination necessary for wheel spinning anyone can. I recently attended the Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier Va and bought a years worth of fleece to spin, you should go next year…it is an inspiration.


  5. Your “teacher” is puffed up with pride! I’m lusting after the green merino/cashmere! Way to go,Wendy!

  6. Great job on your spinning. There is definately much improvement. Love the green yarn.

  7. You are coming along spinningly :o)

    How does that yarn smell? Earthy?

  8. I love how the pattern along the sleeve increases look. One of the kicks I get out of knitting patterns is seeing how the design slowly unfolds and how the symnetry (sp?) turns out.

  9. I’m very impressed with your spinning progress. I took a spinning class a couple of years ago at Stitches, and it just didn’t click for me like that. I can’t wait to see how the merino/cashmere yarn knits up.

  10. Wendy, you never cease to be an inspiration!!
    I purchased a hand spindle at Fingerlakes Yarns, two years ago. It has been used only as decoration ever since. Now, of course, I will dig out the instructions, and make an attempt at hand spinning.
    Thank you for sharing your first attempts.

  11. Looks like you caught on to spinning very quickly, if you’ve already improved so rapidly (from your picture)! Beautiful colors! It makes me wish I had inherited the spinning wheel that was in my grandmother’s livingroom when I would visit as a kid. She never used it, and who knows which attic or garage sale it entered! I’ll HAVE to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival next year!

  12. LOL… I find it so amusing that someone that does such beautiful knitting, especially Fair Isle, would describe themselves as “too uncoordinated”.

    I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you’re sneering at all the yarn out there, because you can always make it better yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I am impressed with your spinning. I have owned a spindle for several years & even took a short course on spinning. My efforts never looked like anything except roving. The cats loved helping me with it though.

    Keep the faith, remember Thursday is a holiday!


  14. great spinning progress, Wendy!

    Have you considered spinning exotic fibers? I’m currently heavily into yak fluff (and there’s some yak top that I’ll get to, when I’m done with that). And llama (which comes in wonderful colors) and camel… …but the yak and llama seem to have stolen bits of my heart.

  15. The yarn is really looking good! How different is the Kundert from the Bosworth? Heavier/not so heavy? It’s always nice to see somebody else get hooked on spinning.

  16. Ah – My dear Wendy, you are getting yourself into a whole new obession! Wonder how I know? Ha!My favorite tip,look up Andean plying on the web. You’ll love it! It is my favorite way to ply spindle spun yarn. You wind the thread just so on your hand (there are lots of pics) and it will feed off allowing you to ply both ends together and end with the middle. You don’t end up with odd lengths of yarn and requires no extra tools. A really cool technique. Good luck with the spinning. Your yarn is looking really good. Remember – you can buy perfect yarn. The little irregularities in handspun give it “character”. Have fun!

  17. wow your spinning looks amazing. I wish mine looked as good. i need to find myself a teacher i guess. That green fiber is delish though!…

  18. Your first attempts look great! I’m taking my first handspinning class in December. I can’t wait.

  19. I agree with pat about the adean plying bracelet. It works wonders when plying! Your spinning is going great! Terrific progress! Before you know it, you’ll be thinking that you’d like to do a sweter out of handspun. But spinning that much yarn on a spindle seems daunting. Then you’ll start looking up prices of wheels and places to buy them. Asking for advice on which one is good for a starter (Majacraft Suzie, by the way, is just awesome!) You know then, at that point, it has you in it’s glutches!
    So happy knitting and spin souncy!

  20. Wendy – I went back and searched for Andean Plying – Google, ICanSpin.Com Andean Plying by Amelia Carlson. If you have time check it out.

  21. Oops! Sorry, obsession (not obession-??)

  22. Wendy,

    Your samples are great! As far as wheel spinning goes, I own 4 wheels but do all of my spinning on spindles. I find spindles much more soothing than wheels. Keep up the good work!

  23. Hi Wendy! I wanted to drop in and say hi! and that I enjoy reading your blog and love your knitting and we here all love Lucy! My baby(cat), I named Kitty and my sons cat called Chips says hello to Lucy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Your attempts at spinning make me want to try….must…resist….another….hobby….must….resist………..But you are right, those fibers look delicious!!! WAAAAAAAA

  25. I’ve been gone for a while and missed all the drama – fortunately.

    I just wanted to say that, as much as I love your blog, if you feel like taking a break then DO IT. You’ve compiled and shared so much useful and inspiring information already. Rest your wrist, do some more designing, heck, write a book! Take care of yourself – we’ll survive.

  26. your spinning is coming along quite nicely i think.

  27. Ingrid is gorgeous. I particularly like the idea of using Koigu for this. How is the process of fair isle knitting with Koigu compared to shetland? I look forward to seeing the pattern published. How many skeins of yarn does Ingrid take?