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Introduction To Spinning: 2 New Videos

A couple of years ago I made a video called Drop Spindle Basics to demonstrate, well, the basics — the most elementary parts of spinning.

Since it’s been up, I’ve gotten all kinds of feedback on that video, ranging from “THIS IS AN AMAZING VIDEO. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the world. This information and wisdom will go far in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” all the way to “Details of what you’re doing would be nice – I can’t follow what’s going on with just frantic motion.” (I admit, that latter one pushed my buttons, and it took great emotional reserve on my part not to reply with “Have you tried listening to what I’m saying? Turn up your sound,” or “Come over here and say that to my face and I’ll show you some frantic movement!”)

I’ve also spent a bunch of time watching other videos, thinking about them all, and of course, engaging in a wide variety of teaching activities. Over the past 6 months, I’ve been saying, “If I had it to do over again, I’d change this, or that, or the other thing about that video, to speak to this, or that, or the other concern.” And of course, the funny part is that obviously I do have it to do over again any time I feel like it, right?

Well, any time I can steal a minute or two and a camera operator who knows where to zoom in, perhaps.

So what issues did I end up having with the first video over the past couple of years? Lots! I still like the video and think it’s a solid demo with enough information to get you started. But there were things I hadn’t anticipated. For example, I specifically chose low-cost materials so as to be very approachable, and show that even without fancy equipment, you can do all kinds of spinning. I tried to tailor the video to the lowest common denominator in terms of tools — to the simplest, cheapest spindle option likely available to a majority of folks who’d watch the video. This choice turned out to have unintended consequences — like people reaching the conclusion that the video’s only for spinning with a low whorl spindle with no hook. It isn’t — yes, it tells you how to do that; but drafting is drafting, spinning is spinning, and the same basic technique applies. Yet, people got caught up in what was, to me, just one fairly superficial thing about the video.

Also, I wanted more “spinner’s eye view” stuff. When I teach, I often stand next to a student, instead of in front of them; I wanted to create something closer to that effect. While a video still lacks the interactive nature of being there in person, I wanted to do something closer to my ever-evolving 5-10 minute basic spinning lesson on the quick. And I wanted to answer questions that people seem to often be left with.

On the other hand, I also didn’t have it in me to spend a ton of time, or, well, any money at all on something to throw on YouTube. There’s a limit to what I’m willing to do in that context, after all. So without further ado, here you go: Intro to Spinning Part 1 and Part 2.


29 thoughts on “Introduction To Spinning: 2 New Videos

  1. I’ve never commented on your blog in the past, but this time I must…Thank you so much for the new videos! They are great and very helpful for a novice spinner (like me)! I am also looking forward to your book. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. These are amazing videos! I wish I had these when I was first learning how to spin, they go through so many of the questions and problems I had. They also do such a great explanation of explaining to non-spinners the basic concept of yarn, just with basic wool. Very simple step by step! These are a lot of tips I would have really appreciated. I’m sending these to my friend who is learning who to spindle spin right now.

  3. Thank you so much! As a deaf person, I really appreciate the fact that you took care to provide relevant text info. Even though I’ve been using spindles and spinning wheel for years, I like this type of video were there is some sort of captioning. I will definitely recommend your spindle videos to other deaf people who would like to learn to spin.

  4. Great Videos!

    Your are really such a good teacher!!

    – thanks for these excellent video tutorials on spindle spinning ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Wonderfully done. I’ve definitely bookmarked these in my youtube favorites, to share with spinning students. Thank you for working on these videos and sharing the links with us.

  6. For The Win. I appreciated the explanation of ‘walking the yarn’ – I’ve not been able to do that before, and now I can.

    I’ll be sending a zillion new spinners to watch these videos.

    Beth did a fine job, but I miss A. Tripod – did he go on to bigger and better things?

  7. Hey Debbie, A. Tripod will definitely be back for future videos. He’s just kinda slack in the “zoom in on cue and know what to look for” department, which is extra helpful with the spindle stuff that needs both closeup and far away views.

  8. Sigh. I think the universe is sending me a message, spinning is inevitable (but, maybe, could I finish some of my current projects first?) – I’ve been dancing around the possibility for awhile. I’ve got a spindle and a bit of fiber from a local acquaintance, from a few years ago but I haven’t tried since many many many moons ago at a Colonial Williamsburg summer course for kids.

    Saving the links for sometime later…but I guess, not too much longer!

    Thanks for your time putting this together for us learners!

  9. What a treat! I’m a new self-taught spindler. I’d enjoyed your previous videos, and was searching for some dealing with plying from a spindle, particularly how much twist to put in my two ply.

    I dropped by your blog and found your two new offerings. They’re very helpful: good visuals – the yarn is fine, but visible enough to see what you’re illustrating, and nice, clear verbal explanations. I, too, am anxiously awaiting your book.

  10. love (1000)!

  11. Excellent videos! I wish I’d had them when I started (although, I did like your first video very much and found it helpful). I will recommend these, also, to all my friends and acquaintances who are taking up spinning.

    I love your patient teaching method, great explanations, written notes.

    I sure hope I can get into one of your workshops at SOAR 2009. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. thanks so much for sharing these–i wish i’d had something like this when i was first teaching myself how to spin! these videos are amazing! you’re amazing!

    i can’t believe there are people who actually complained about your previous videos, considering that you’re a professional, you provided the videos for free, and you made the videos in all of your copious amounts of spare time ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Great videos. Thanks for sharing them with everyone. It’s a great help to anyone wanting to learn as there’s a lot of bad videos out there.

  14. Thank you! I found your first You Tube video after I took a intro to spindle spinning class last year. I left the class away so confused – ie the instructor couldn’t spin on a spindle, and was just throwing terms around. *sigh* But I did it – with your help ๐Ÿ™‚ and the google. Thank you for the new videos – they answered some of my questions on type of spinning I do.

    (love 10000)
    PS – think you would be up to explaining worsted vs woolen on a spindle in the future for YouTube? I read the books, feel like I understand it…then get to my spindle…and have a DUH moment and go back to my default made up spinning mode ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Thanks! These are fabulous and will be so helpful in aspinnerating unsuspecting friends at knit night.

  16. Thanks for the new videos.

    I have had a spinning wheel for a few years but never seen anyone spinning on a spindle either on a video or in real life until I watched your old u-tube video in December. I then downloaded a video on how to make a spindle, got my step-dad to make it, and then learnt to spin based on your video.

    I have knit my step-dad a nice scarf with the quite ok yarn I managed to make once I got some practice in.

    I never did write to say thanks!


    I’m looking forward to your book immensely.

  17. I liked the first videos you did, but I like these better. The different angle really makes a difference for me. And I like that they mostly validate the things that I’m already doing…so I know I’m not completely off the mark.

    Can I post a link to your videos on my blog?

  18. Every video you make I learn something new. Evertime I re-watch, I have an Oh! moment. For spindle or wheel, I got so much out of those videos.

    Thanks Abby, I am going to have to dust off my spindle now!

  19. This is so wonderful! I was just thinking I should get a spindle so I can spin while on vacation, but I don’t know how to spin with one. Now I have a very clear idea of how one does it.

    Perhaps you have one already, but do you have plans to do a beginner’s spinning video for wheels? I basically taught myself to spin using books and a few YouTube videos, but feel like I’d gain so much more from a tutorial from you!

  20. Abby,
    That was so wonderful.
    Thank you for taking the time to do that.

  21. How long does it take to spin a scarf?…

    I’m taking a little break from sharing my ongoing Guatemalan road trip (to resolve some camera…

  22. I am not a completely new spinner, but I am still very much in the early learning stage. I can say that I picked up some great information here and some really helpful tips. Thanks for making these two videos, Abby. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Dear Abby,
    Thank you so much for your site and all the wonderful information that you have put together. I am a new spinner and your video has given me the best info on hand spinning that I have been able to find. I even took a class and it wasn’t half as good as your teaching. You truly are amazing and I can hardly wait to meet you someday ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS You have given me new hope that I can do this !

  24. Thank you so much! Your Part 2 answered all my questions I ran into after trying park ‘n draft over and over. I thought it was my cheapo homemade, tilt a whirl spindle, but really it’s practice and patience. I’m off and spinning again. (Also, it helps to have an eager 6 year-old who really wants to help by repeatedly spinning your spindle for you.)

    Next up – plying on the spindle!

  25. WOW, these are great. I wish I had them when I first started, it would have saves a lot of frustration and potty mouth ๐Ÿ˜‰
    your presentation is great, very comfortable and easy to understand
    I wanna spin like you when I grow up!

  26. thank you!! I’ve tried it with other videos and ….not so good. I know I can do it after watching you.
    So, now what? plying?, washing?, do you wash after plying? what about that noddy thing?

  27. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I couldn’t wrap my head around this until I saw your videos.

  28. Holy crap! That was awesome! I had a bit of a tough time seeing the spun yarn against the bright sky, but I’m pretty sure I understand the gist of it, anyway.

    The angle you used was excellent – it makes the viewer feel like your hands belong to them and it makes it so much easier to visualize performing the motions. Excellent!

    Teaching is an art (a lot of people don’t realize this, sadly) and you are an artist.

    Thanks so much for posting this and sharing your knowledge. It is so greatly appreciated!

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