My Spinning Journey Part 2: Rookie Errors Number One and Two

Since I pledged, in the middle of January, to spin for at least 15 minutes a day, I’ve pretty much managed it. My first steps were to reminded myself how to do it – having given up the wheel I was borrowing in October when my classes ended.

As you may recall, once I’d remembered what to do, I decided the best way to encourage myself would be to plan to knit something with the yarn I produced. I pulled out this carded fleece and decided to spin some yarn for a pair of Christmas socks.

Christmas red green white jacob carder felting

But I quickly decided I didn’t want to spin the colours together, since even I know red+green = brown.

As I started spinning the white, I also decided I didn’t want to ply different colours together to give a barber pole effect. That only left colour work to mix up the colours.  So off I went spinning the natural white wool, working on making my singles as even as possible. I was pretty pleased with the results I was getting.


Having spun what I figured would be enough, I plied my white singles together…

Hand Spun Jacob White23

Still pretty pleased with myself I spun the red…


and plyed it together…

Red Handspun Jacob

By now I had decided I was only going to knit red and white. So all I had to do was ‘finish’ the yarn, devise a pattern and start knitting. But when I picked the yarns up together, I noticed they looked rather different.

Handspun Jacob

In part I think it’s down to my spinning improving. I’m still making a few fluffy slugs (is there a technical word for them?) in the white, but have pretty much eliminated them from the red. However, I also think I made two rookie errors:

Rookie Error Number One: I’d aimed to spin all my singles the same thickness, but hadn’t checked my red singles against my white as I spun. I don’t think the difference in thickness is too bad, but I think could get them closer.


Rookie Error Number Two: The red yarn is more loosely plied and also, I think, too loosely plied for socks. I was cross about this, since I’d found a picture to check my white plying tension against when I plied it. However, in my enthusiasm to ply the red, I forgot about the picture and convinced myself the ply was fine without comparing red with white.

Time to reformulated my plan…

  • I’m now spinning some more white to go with the red – even if the difference in the singles isn’t as bad as I think, more practice can only be a good thing.


  • I know I could re-ply the red, but I think I’m going to knit it up as is. They’ll be a lot to learn by doing that.
  • I’m going to  knit a pair of mitts – I’m sure the ply is more suited to that than socks and they’re quicker.
  • I’m going to recognise that knitting the mitt will be a brilliant learning experience and not be attached to being able to wear what I knit from this yarn.


If you’re a spinner and have any words of wisdom, I’m always grateful for them.

And if you don’t spin, thanks for hanging on in to the end of the post – hope it makes some sense to you.



25 thoughts on “My Spinning Journey Part 2: Rookie Errors Number One and Two

  1. I have no tried knitting what I’ve spun yet, but I know I have issues with the consistency of my spinning. I spin with a spindle, and I know that anything influences the yarn : being focused or dreaming, having cramps…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your pain! I think I would go ahead and knit the two as you planned though. You CAN run the red through the wheel again to tighten up the twist on it, that might help get it closer to the natural.

    Also, I would wash that red yarn one more time before I knit it with white. I have a lovely pair of red and now pink mittens which taught me that lesson.

    Otherwise, I think that you are doing REALLY well. Slubs will happen and lend authenticity to the finished garment. Or so I say. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, very much appreciated. I’m feeling resistant tightening up the yarn – although that may be because I’m being lazy 🙂 I died the red myself and ran the bath to exhaustion, so hopefully no pink mitts – although I haven’t actually finished the yarn yet, so that will scrutinise dye loss when I do that.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Is the red fibre from the same source as the white?
    The dying of the fibre will change the way it’s spins up a wee bit as well. This becomes apparent when you are in a shop with an array of the exact same t shirts but each one a different colour…the t shirts can feel quite different from each other and this comes down to the dye used.
    Also, when we knit and then stop for a few days we notice a difference in tension… same with spinning and plying.
    I think you are doing extremely well.
    I still get slubs but I don’t aim for perfection. It really depends on the fibre as to how many slubs may form. Some are much easier to spin slub free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, it is the same wool I know what you mean about dye – my factory dyed Ryeland is very different to the stuff that hasn’t been dyed.
      Ha ha! Yes, only working with Jacob at the moment, so a lot to learn about spinning other breeds too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know that it takes consistent practise to create paintings that work and every time I put the brush down and don’t work for a few days or a few weeks or a few months it takes a corresponding while to get back into the feel of the thing again. Once there it takes another while to erase the bad habits, get the hang of how things work together and start to build something worth the effort of continuing to work on ….. Sounds like spinning is the same! Every bit of practise adds to our abilities 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think your right – we need to practise and have consistent practice in most thing or we begin to loose our edge. Good thing here is, as a beginner I’m happy to make mistakes 🙂 I’m also being really disciplined about doing at least 15 mins a day, so I keep learning and don’t go backwards. But life, of course, doesn’t always let you do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think your yarn looks great! I took a spinning class years ago. I could not get the hang (har har) of the spindle. I would let it stretch out too thin, but I borrowed a wheel and got comfortable with that. It would take a lot more practice to come up with something I could crochet with though.
    I have way too many other hobbies to commit to spinning, but maybe one of these days…
    Should I get the urge, I have a pillowcase full of raw wool, stitched closed to keep out the critters, a pair of carders and a spindle, so I’ve no excuse if I want to give it a try. I opened up the pillowcase a few years ago, and it looked as good as the day I got it, so I stitched it closed again.
    I’ve noticed with my crocheting, my stitches are a lot smoother and more uniform after I’ve stitched awhile. I decided I need to have a practice project on the side and stitch on it for 15 or 20 minutes before I pick up the project I’m really working on.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan, Thanks for your comment. You’re
      right, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do/learn all the creative things we want to do.
      The practice project is a great idea – like an athlete warming up before a race, I guess. Maybe a blanket made from squares of whatever stitch you’re using on your main project. At the end you might not have something as perfect as your other crochet, but something lovely and usable that would also tell a story.


  6. Oh dear, I think maybe I don’t have what it takes to spin, after all and I should just stick to enjoying you progress with yours! How frustrating it must be to spin/ply the yarn to the ‘wrong’ thickness after all the effort getting there in the first place. A question: can you re-spin or re-ply or is it a ‘one chance’ operation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you do have what it takes, you just haven’t learned a new and complex crafting skill for a while. You’ve spent years and years, sewing and knitting building up your skills and understanding. I think learning spinning is just the same, only you and I learned those other things when we very small, were happy to make mistakes and had heaps more time to do such things. Maybe the time just isn’t right for you, because you’ve got so much cooking at the moment and a younger family? I hope I haven’t put you off and I’m sure you knew all what I’ve just said already 🙂
      You can’t re-spin – although i suppose you could use the single as the core of another yarn? Not experience enough to know what I’m really taking about here! I could re-ply – but am also thinking I’d like to see how my ply behaves and maybe a mitt is a better plan anyway as socks take a lot longer to knit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose I am more than a little daunted by the years it takes to become ‘expert’ in the craft and, as you so rightly observed, you take it in your stride as a child. My mortality is brought into focus here, when I realise that I’ve been knitting/crochet/sewing for forty-five years, but I haven’t got another forty-five years left in which to perfect spinning!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so with you here and – don’t think I haven’t thought exactly the same – I think that’s why I didn’t learn for quite a while. I also could have easily not continued after the lessons – especially because they were more than worth doing simply because I got so much support personally from having something else to focus on and being with the lovely supportive people I was with through the hardest weeks/months of saying goodbye and loosing Hicks. But I do enjoy learning new things, learning new stuff is good for the brain too, as a knitter, I already know a lot about wool/fleece/spinning that is the learning that is part of spinning. I also do find it very meditative. At the end of the day, I don’t need to become a spinning expert.

        Liked by 1 person

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