Warning: photo-heavy post ahead!
If you missed my previous posts about the Spintentional Spinalong, you can find the posts with this link. Just make sure you read them in chronological order to witness the plan unfold.
I arranged my six Spanish Peacock ninja spindles in order from (slightly) heaviest to (slightly) lightest, from left to right in the photo below. This was generally only a few grams’ worth of difference, but I knew my hand strength would fail as the month wore on.
I divided the braid into six roughly equal chunks, and assigned each to a spindle in gradient order. I planned to spend about five days filling up each spindle to finish on time. Some days (weekend errands and road trips) would always have more spinning opportunities while others (most workdays) would have fewer. Hopefully it would average out over the course of the February spinalong!
I also decided to use the same bowl for the whole spin. Generally wood is a slower spinning surface than ceramic, but ceramic is more fragile, especially when spinning on the go. This Spanish Peacock resin-infused chakte viga bowl provided a happy compromise, because the resin makes the spinning surface harder and faster than regular wood.
I hoped that using the same bowl for the length of the spinalong would increase the likelihood of consistency in my singles, in the same way that I had carefully curated the collection of spindles I was using.
By day eight, I had finished the second spindle and was very pleased with my progress.
The colors were shaping up beautifully. The thickness of the yarn seemed relatively consistent. Although I’ll be honest: I did not use my spinner control card nearly as often as I should. I kept it close by at all times, tucked in one of the pockets of my spinning lap cloth. I just never stopped spinning long enough to check it!
What is a spinning lap cloth? I only recently learned about this spinning accessory. It is a dedicated cloth with pockets that you drape across your lap while spinning. In addition to the awesome pockets, the cloth allowed me to anchor my spinning bowl in place with a very strong magnet so it wouldn’t slide out of my lap while I was working.
As an added bonus, the whole month little bits of the fiber would stick to the spinning cloth, instead of my lap. This made car spinning while running errands much easier, since I could skip the extra lint-rolling step before I got out of the vehicle.
Additionally, for wheel spinners, the spinning cloth provides contrast so they can see their fiber more clearly. The cloth usually has a light side and a dark side (hey, like the Force!) and you switch sides depending on the color of fiber you are spinning. When I spin supported, however, my view is at a 45 degree angle to the singles I’m drafting, making it much harder to take advantage of the contrast offered by the spinning cloth.
You can learn more about DIY spinning lap cloths in this video.
By the halfway mark—day 14—I was perfectly on track with half my spindles and fiber finished.
My newest ninja spindle was quite a surprise though. Despite how closely Mr. Peacock matched my specs for FNG, I can honestly say it was nothing like my old Spanish Peacock ninjas. Mike’s spindle-making techniques have evolved a lot in recent years, and FNG flew like the wind. In an effort to keep up, I ended up overdrafting my singles more often with FNG than the other five spindles. It may be the fastest spindle I’ve ever used.
As I feared, in the second half of the month, my hands started to wear out. It took until day 20 to finish spindle four. That only left four days each for the final two spindles.
But that looming deadline kept me spinning. By the end of day 24, I had completed the fifth spindle. Just one more to go!
And then, on day 25, partway through spindle six, I started to rush.
For me, this primarily means ditching the temporary cop so only half as much time is spent winding a cop. I plan a future post and video about the “Great Temporary Cop Debate”, but for now here are the salient details. I primarily draft with a short draw, for a variety of reasons. When you only draft a small amount of singles at a time, there isn’t very much new yarn to wrap around the cop at the base of the spindle. Winding a small, temporary cop at the top of the spindle allows more new yarn to build up, until there is enough to wind a nice, neat cop further down on the shaft.
Unfortunately, spinning without using a temporary cop meant I needed to draft in a more long-draw fashion. I lost a lot of control over the yarn consistency on spindle six (furthest right in the photo below). Hopefully it doesn’t show as much once the yarn is plyed.
In addition, this method change re-aggravated my left shoulder. Long draw is not my friend.
Worst of all: I didn’t enjoy the experience of spinning with that final spindle.
I finished not only on time, but a whole day early, on the night of February 27th. (It just took me several days to write this blog post detailing my adventures, oops.) I don’t think four ounces of fiber over six spindles in 27 days is my fastest time ever, but I also haven’t been keeping great (or any) records to know for sure.
As much as I have learned about planning a spin, I have also learned to honor my inner process spinner! In the future, I won’t rush to finish on time, thereby compromising the quality and pleasure of my spinning.
Of course, the main question of the spinalong is this: did I succeed in spinning the yarn I wanted to knit the cowl I planned? Stay tuned for future updates!
Excuse me while I put my jaw back in place after dropping it. 🤣 Everything in these pictures are gorgeous. I can’t help but want every spindle I see and your spinning looks so fine! You’ve inspired me to pull out my Tibetan pocket spindles from Mike and grab one of my braids of combed top too! Happy spinning. 💖
LikeLiked by 1 person