Spinny question - beginner pack

G'day all!

Anyone got any suggestions for a little spinning pack I could put together for my sister? I was spindling at Christmas and she got a bit wistful about her spindle that she had in the mid-70s (we didn't see it when we cleaned the house out? Umm, errr, don't remember seeing it). Anyway, I bought her a student spindle at Bendi and now for her birthday on Wednesday want to send her a selection of fibres to play with.

I have available to me in my stash:

  • finn
  • merino
  • polwarth
  • some silk blended with merino
  • finn/cashmere (haven't played with that myself)
  • pencil rovings in ?merino
  • alpaca
  • mohair
  • merino/alpaca blend
  • merino/soysilk blend
  • silky wool

If I go delving more into the drawers I will undoubtedly find more. She isn't getting the cashgora, cashmere, pure silk or "luxury" stuff. Note that we are a bit limited in what is easily obtainable in Oz - what is this cormo stuff? Wool, obviously. Colonial - none of that here, though we were long a colony. Oor market just ain't very big and we have an *awful*, or should that be aweful?, lot of merinos.

Pencil roving might be good cos it is almost totally drafted already. Plus some other bits and pieces that I've been given to play with along the way, like a wee bit of silky wool and some alpaca tops, like 40cm of those. D'oh, forgot to get ink for the printer - can't print out instructions. Dang!

(Note that I started to spin with merino, merino and mohair, and merino and silk, though I am told these are hard to spin. Obviously I have no clue of good wools for beginners, which technically I pretty much am still).

The more I think about it, the more I think I will just grab a few samples of stuff that I have a fair amount of, like the pencil rovings, some colourful merino top (a lump of the stuff I dyed last week!), the merino/soy, some alpaca top that I combed myself (aren't we good? ooo, err! ;-). She hasn't spun for years, but I am sure that the stuff I'll send in this little pack will be much nicer than the horrible rough brown stuff she had. It might be 30 years on but I still remember how yucky it was. Pity I don't have any corriedale or other stuff that is a bit different - finn is different admittedly but I have to comb that up first unless I have some undyed stuff.

Thoughts, anyone?


PS - we are nearly up to the 311th comment now and I want to do a little prize, but I will not count the comments from this post as it really only includes the spinners. Why 311th? Cos! Maybe the best guess should get a prize too!

PPS - will find out what silk caps are and let others know. They aren't really caps for wearing though I do like the smurf hat effect :-)


  1. To quote Päivi Suomi of allfiberarts.com

    "One type of silk that is available is a "mawata" or silk cap. Mawata caps are formed by stretching the silk cocoons over molds. Each cap weighs about 1/2 ounce. About 25 cocoons are stretched on the mold and then sold as a "bell"."

    Of course, they remove the silkworm first...

  2. I don't know, those all sound hard to spin to a beginner. You must have very silky sheep over there in Australia! If you tend to have armloads of merino, and that's what your sister will likely ultimately be spinning the most, she might as well learn on it. That's what I think.

    Nice to meet you in Blogland!

  3. Well, coming from you "prezzies" does sound good! It's just, I'm cranky. I will return to my good natured, non-cranky, funny self, soon, I hope. I think your sis will be lucky with whatever you put together for her - it all sounds so good!

  4. i will say this. when i was taught to spin, i was taught on merino. my teacher said that if i could handle that, i could spin ANYTHING. and so far i pretty much can. the pencil roving definitely sounds good (drafting is tough, and i've never used a spindle, lol). the merino/silk combo would probably be good, because silk is a bit different, but once she's through the merino, the combination won't feel completely abnormal.

  5. Anonymous6:43 am

    Polwarth, definitely.


    Polwarth. Perfect for a beginner spinner (or a rusty-returning-to-the-fold-spinner).

    Did I mention Polwarth?


  6. Mmmm cormo. I love cormo. It is a merino/corriedale cross. It is springier than the merino parentage and finer than the corrie part. It is the best of both fiber types.

    I learned to spin on Merino as no one told me I couldn't. With my polwarth envy, I'd recommend that :)


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