Back behind the wheel

Suzie Blackman
Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My spinning wheel has been staring at me from the corner of the room, guilt-tripping me for months. There’s no particular reason why I haven’t been spinning, other pastimes felt more appealing. As time passed, I started to dread that I might have lost the ability and it would be too much like hard work.

I don’t know what spurred me to give it another go but I’m really glad I did. Far from forgetting how to spin, I seem to be better (and faster) at it than ever!

Fyberspates merino in 'Plum'

I’d had half of this batch sitting on a bobbin for a very long time, I span up the other half in an afternoon. For some bizarre reason I’d spun one half clockwise and the other anti-clockwise, so I had to chain ply them separately. They don’t look that different but one came out a DK and the other a heavy 4ply, bit of a shame but I’m sure I’ll find a use for them. The Fyberspates merino top was fabulous quality and very nice to spin and the yarn is very squishy.

My return to spinning fortunately coincided with Colinette launching roving in their amazing hand-dyed colourways. Obviously I picked up a batch for research purposes. The colour is called ‘Kingfisher’ which is odd because it’s mostly purple and pink. It’s good quality merino, not as fine as the Fyberspates batch but nice and bouncy. It’s £7 for 140g, in fact mine weighed in at nearly 170g, making it excellent value.

Colinette roving in 'Kingfisher'

I spun dark and bright sections separately so I could ply them to give a two-tone yarn.

Dark coloured singles on the bobbin

Dark coloured singles on the bobbin

The resulting yarn is a heavy 4 ply (I seem unable to spin thicker than that now, I was aiming for DK). It’s under-plied in places. I normally have the opposite problem so not sure what happened there! I think it will look great knitted up as a shawl or maybe arm-warmers, the colour transitions are quite subtle.

Finished yarn from Colinette fibre

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.


  1. Monica says:

    I spin on and off as well – sometimes I’ll spin every day and then I won’t touch the wheel for months. I find that I get the greatest amount of enjoyment from it when I just go with the flow – the desire to spin always come back again, and I love it when it does.

    And… those singles on the bobbin look gorgeous! :)

  2. Susan Wallis says:

    Just discovered your website via and I’m inspired to clean the cobwebs from my spinning wheel, which I haven’t used since we moved to France from Canada 12 years ago. I’ve been given two black fleeces by neighbours who have sheep just up the road and it’s time I spun them up.

    I spend hours every day at the computer, managing our two holiday properties here in Languedoc and I think spinning is what I need for a bit of relief!

    Your yarns are beautiful and, if I successfully get back to spinning, I hope I can order them either to be sent here directly or to friends in the UK who come here often.

    Susan Wallis,
    Oupia, France

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