I finally sat down this weekend and used my new spinning wheel. It even has a name, thanks to one of my friends! The wheel is called Roy, and he and I are getting along famously. I woke up early one morning, fished out the oil and the alan key and made all the appropriate adjustments to the bearings. And wouldn't you know, as soon as those things had been sorted out, Roy was ready to spin!
I've basically been spinning constantly for three days. It's incredibly soothing, not to mention being a lot of fun. First you make singles by spinning the yarn in one direction. I made 2 bobbins-full of merino singles.
Then, you stick both of your bobbins onto a Lazy Kate and spin them back the other way. This keeps them from untwisting, and also loosens up the twist from the first go-round.
Once they've been plied, you wind them off onto a niddy-noddy. (Or in my case the lid from a plastic storage tub.) Tie the skein in several places so it doesn't get horribly tangled, then give it a wash. Apparently this sets the twist. Once it's washed, the yarn gets thwacked on the side of the bathtub. According to those in the know, thwacking removes excess water, distributes the twist evenly throughout the skein, and makes the yarn more stable by slightly felting the plies together. Then off to the drying rack to drip over a towel for a day or two.
Once they are dry, there is the option of making a proper skein if you've enough yarn. If, as I have been, you've been spinning tiny samples of different fibres, you can make yarn pretzels. For example, a grey Shetland yarn pretzel and a Blue-Faced Leicester yarn pretzel.
And just because I'm tickled at the new camera's capabilities, a close-up of some yarn!