Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Huge Giveaway

It's high time to give away some bodacious fiber, don't you think?

Our friend Susie Gibbs is graciously hosting this giveaway on her blog, because she just got back from a refreshing vacation to the color-soaked southwest, and she's feeling mighty generous.  I didn't get to go on that vacation, but I was born in Albuquerque, so I'm sure we can work out a connection if we put our minds to it.

What's up for grabs:

Three 4-ounce bumps of super-dooper soft alpaca roving, in three wonderful, one-of-a-kind hand dyed colorways...


Mmmm-mmm good.  Our very own Farm ColorChef, Laurie, has hand dyed these soft alpaca lovelies in colors that will make you weep.  Let's take a closer look, shall we?


This one's really cool - multicolored hues of red, burgundy, blue, gold and olive.  One color blends into the next in a way that will produce long, subtle changes that will be spectacular knitted up.


Here's a beauty - purples, blues and violets shift and change from one to another in shades reminiscent of a distant mountain range.


And finally, a fiery combination of reds, oranges and yellows like the sun coming up over Santa Fe in August.

Not only will these rovings give your eyes a feast, but your spinning fingers will go all weak in the knees and beg for more.  A little over the top?  We'll just see about that.

So, what do you have to do to qualify for this wonderful prize?  Leave us a comment below and tell me the best spinning tip you ever got as you were learning to make yarn - either on a spindle or a wheel.  You could really help a young spinner with your shared wisdom, and you might win the fiber.  Sound good?  THEN - run over to Susie's blog and leave her a quick note.  She will activate the Random Number Generator to determine our winner.  And she'll announce the lucky winner's name on Monday.

Good luck - I really hope you win it!

85 comments:

  1. Best tip I ever got was that it doesn't matter whether your dominant hand is in front or back when drafting on a wheel . . . for example, I'm right-handed, but I'm more comfortable spinning with my left hand in front -- I spin "left-handed". And that's okay.

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  2. My best tip -- when things get wonky, stop and change your hold on the fiber. That seems to work 99% of the time.

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  3. I'm a new spinner, so I don't have a lot of tips yet - still learning! I think it's important to remember to it's ok that your yarn isn't going to be "perfect" right away. It takes time to learn a new skill.

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  4. The best tip I have is to know your fiber prep before you start spinning it. Top doesn't spin like a batt, and even my hand carded batts don't spin like drum carded ones. Also, if you like the yarn you're making, you're doing it right - don't worry about the "rules".

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  5. my best tip was to make a sample of what you want your finished yarn to be like, and tape it to an index card to keep by your spinning, and compare often to make sure that your spinning stays even.

    this has been amazingly helpful lately since my spinning time is so broken up, i know that i'll have the same wpi and etc from one spinning session to another because of the handy reminder card.

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  6. The best tip I've gotten has been to find an experienced spinner to give you feedback. The spinners I've worked with have been so helpful and encouraging, while making sure I'm doing things right.

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  7. The tip that seems to be most useful to folks I've taught to spin is that you should get through about a pound of fiber before you expect things to really click. I find this makes new spinners a lot more relaxed with a sort of bench mark to allow themselves room to be NOT perfect and time to figure it all out.

    Love those gorgeous colors!

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  8. The best tip I've received is don't push the fiber, just let the fiber be gently pulled onto the bobbin.

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  9. Best tip, forehead-slapping "why didn't I think of that??" category: When you stop for the day, tuck the end of what you just spun (but has not yet gone through the orifice) under the drive band, to prevent it from un-twisting. Elegantly simple solution to something that bugged me!

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  10. Gorgeous! My best tip: Just keep spinning. At least 15 minutes a day. It can take awhile to build up the muscle memory.

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  11. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Words of Wisdom from the Yarn Harlot: "Keep trying and you'll suck less."

    Austin Val

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  12. the best tip I received when I was starting out was to treadle without spinning for several minutes each day, until it became natural. Then drafting could hold more of my attention.

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  13. Anonymous9:34 AM

    practice, practice, practice everyday with or without fiber-gina

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  14. Amanda S.9:46 AM

    I'm just a beginner, but the best advice was to just not get discouraged! Just keep going; keep practicing. And my first skeins looked awful, and I thought they'd be worse knitted up. But they weren't! They looked halfway decent.

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  15. The best spinning tip I've gotten, except for those listed above (practice every day/take your spindle everywhere, don't be afraid to stop for the day and come back to it tomorrow, change hands, etc) was about hand positioning:

    When drafting fiber, the non-fiber hand should pull from the yarn, not from the very very end point of the drafting triangle. It really helped both my worsted and woolen spinning, but particularly my woolen spinning!

    As a bonus, I learned from the same person that you can use a double-treadle wheel like a single-treadle wheel. Just treadle with one foot. Yah. like that.

    Although I think Trixie wins for "new tip I didn't know"!

    -Sheeri

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  16. Muppetfeet9:51 AM

    I was having trouble drafting because I would hold my fiber too tight, and I couldn't seem to fix it even though I knew the problem. Best advice I ever got was to have a drink (but just one!) before spinning. It helped me relax and loosen up just enough, and got it into my subconcious that spinning is relaxing! Totally improved both my spinning and my attitude.

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  17. I'm not a spinner, but I love knitting with handspun and I adore alpaca. So my spinning tip is to make friends with a talented spinner and keep them very happy. ;)

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  18. Acadia10:02 AM

    The best spinning tip I received was to spin everyday if only for a little bit. Practice makes perfect.

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  19. Spin 15 minutes for the first few weeks. This trains your hands, eyes and brain and the limited time reduces the risk of frustration.

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  20. My best tip would be have fun, ask questions, and don't sweat over the lumps and bumps you get in your yarn at times..

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  21. The best advice I got while learning to spin using a drop spindle (in my first class, after we all had dropped our spindles to the floor several times): "They call them drop spindles for a reason." We stopped worrying about making mistakes; once we were more patient with ourselves, we made real progress!

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  22. Tgrandini10:28 AM

    I'm relatively new to spinning (drop spindle) and self-taught, so the best advice would be to keep trying and enjoy that you are creating something new and one-of-a-kind!

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  23. The best tip I ever got was: have fun.

    I first learned to spin on a spindle (a Bosworth no less) and I was so frustrated because I lack technical skill and (for some strange reason in my head) I was trying to produce yarn that looked commercial. I was so tense that it was far from fun. I now spin on my Kromski and I just spin. I am not yet proficient enough to spin for a particular project, but I am getting consistent yarn using multiple preparation/spinning methods. ~ksp

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  24. humbirdblue10:37 AM

    When I first sat at my new wheel I was very excited and that helped to set me up to fail. Take a deep breath, remember this is FUN, no stress, no pressure to be perfect your first few times, play with the wheel and its settings. Don't let others watch you; this adds pressure whether you realize it or not. take your time. ;-)

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  25. As you know, I'm a knew spinner! So these tips are fun to read. I think the tip that I repeat the most (to both myself and others) is just to keep spinning! 15 minutes a day is a good goal. It doesn't always happen and sometimes I spin a whole lot more. Sometimes I sneak in a few moments of spinning here and there.

    When I see a mistake, I stop and figure out how to fix it. I think that helps both keep me feeling like I'm producing something fairly consistent as well as figuring out what I need to do to keep it consistent. And it gives me yarn I'm proud of in the end!

    My favorite of these bumps is the "distant mountains" one. So pretty and softly purple!

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  26. No one spins by instinct, you have to keep trying and practicing.

    I just started spinning 6 days ago, but I am trying to keep with it 15-20 minutes a day.

    I am reading all of the other replies and will incorporate them all into my learning.

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  27. Keep practicing and once you get it, it's like riding a bike - you never forget.

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  28. For spindlers:
    One lesson learned the hard way. When learning how to spin on a spindle--or even just trying out a new spindle--its best to have a rug under you.

    For wheel spinners:
    When you can't find the end of your yarn that's been spun on your bobbin and spinning the bobbin in the opposite direction hasn't worked it loose, lightly dab the sticky side of a piece of tape around the yarn. Usually this will unearth that sneaky hidden end.

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  29. Anonymous11:05 AM

    I learned from Patsy Zawastoski(sp)and she made it clear that one shouldnt give up. When people ask me about spinning, I say its frustrating and difficult to learn; but when you are just about to toss that wheel out the window, it JUST CLICKS. Then youre on your way!

    Herbi

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  30. ive never done any spinning and im itching to start..would love to win this super fiber...

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  31. While I'm new, the best tip I've ever gotten is patience. It takes time to really get the feel of how much fiber should be sent through to make the yarn thickness you desire. I'm hoping that one day I get proficient at it! I've watched in awe at wool festivals how some people can move so quickly and produce yarn 1000 times quicker than I!...but as I said, patience...

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  32. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Hi- your fiber looks gorgeous!!! I've got two tips:
    1. Spin every single day.
    2. Take classes with all types of spinning teachers.
    Many thanks,
    Diane
    ditetre(at)mac(dot)com

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  33. Put more twist than you want in your singles. Easier to "ply-out" the twist than not having enough in the first place.

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  34. The best tip I ever got was put about twice as much twist into your plied yarn as you think it needs. My handspun is much bouncier and stronger now than it ever was before. And all that extra twist relaxes out when its set so it doesn't skew when knit up.

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  35. My favorite tip was to treadle a bunch of wheel before purchasing one, to see which ones don't hurt my bad knee! Love my new Merlin tree road bug!

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  36. NancyR1:32 PM

    I'm a new spinner, so I don't have many tips. The best one so far has been to RELAX!

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  37. Anonymous1:39 PM

    I had to skip reading the comments so I could pretend my 'tip' is the BOMB of tips. Ready? Here it comes... Practice, practice, practice... Daily, even if you are just treadling, especially if you haven't spun for a while. Oh yeah, my very favorite tip - never with shoes on... Thanks much Cindy and Susan!! Fran

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  38. Best beginner tip was PARK and draft - you can always stop and let the twist catch up to you! The next best all-time is PRE-DRAFT! Always prep your fiber - you get to love it, fondle it and make friends with it while getting it fluffy and happy to be spun!

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  39. roseknits24-72:05 PM

    My best tip was: "Be proud of your first handspun; make something useful with it, something you'll keep. Years from now, you'll look back and wish you could make that kind of yarn again!" ;-D

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  40. I've never received a spinning tip except to start spinning, which I'm excited to try! :0)

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  41. jane Murray3:03 PM

    Go slow,....enjoy what happens,...consistency comes with time!

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  42. Nancy P.3:06 PM

    The best advice I got when I was learning to spin was that there is no right or wrong way to spin. As long as you like what you've made that's what counts.

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  43. Best tip... practice practice practice .. and relax, go with the rhythm of the wheel.

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  44. The best tip I got was from the actual Laurie!! She suggested I take commercial yarn and "fake" spin it to get the feel of the wheel. Best thing I could have done. It helped me to "get it" so quickly!! Thank you, Laurie!!! Love your colors too. xoxo

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  45. Wow, great tips.

    I learned on a spindle and moved to a wheel. After a year long haitus I'm back at it.

    A tip I learned which has helped quite a bit relates to your non-drafting hand: hold the fiber loosely, imagining the fiber to be a little bird. Don't grip the fiber too tightly. Over time I discovered that the key (the key for me, at least) to loosening my grip is to make sure I've predrafted well enough

    Another tip is to sit with good posture and good body alignment.

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  46. What a great giveaway and great tips for me! Buying or making a spindle is currently on my list... I just bought a book on Amazon about spindles and I can't wait to get it and learn. So I don't really have any tips to share yet...

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  47. My granny Anne taught me to spin and while I _yearned_ to spin as well as she, she always encouraged me to leave the lumps and bumps - making the yarn my own.

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  48. My best learned tip, is to do what feels right for your spinning. If you like to park and draft with a spindle, do it, it's your spinning, etc.

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  49. Sparkleecat on Ravelry5:59 PM

    The best tip for me was to stop the rotation completely when things got out of control (which happened frequently in the beginning).

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  50. Anonymous6:36 PM

    My best tip is something I just learned (after 20 years of spinning) - when the yarn breaks and runs into the bobbin DON'T hit the brakes. Let the wheel stop slowly on its own, and that end will not bury itself. This is especially helpful since I am trying to get the knack of gossamer weight lace yarn. Majora Sue

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  51. Forget about the mathical ratios just play with your wheel and have fun. It will all come together. Also practice 15 minutes a day.

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  52. The best tip I ever got was to relax! I found I was so tense on my first spinning tries that everything seemed to go wrong, but once I learned how to relax then I could actually make yarn.

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  53. Practice, and relax.

    I haven't done much of either in years.

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  54. Practice makes perfect...develop a rythmn and let the wool dance thru your fingers....everyday...like throwing pottery....don't force it...

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  55. Anonymous9:45 PM

    pam doyle - I spin on a drop spindle and the best tip that I learned was when I first started out and that was you don't have to have the spindle spinning when you are first spinning you can use the park and pull methode. You put extra spin in the fiber and then hold the spindle and then take your time drafting the fiber let go and the twist goes up just needing to spin every 2 or three drafts. It helps until you can get the hang of spinning and drafting at the same time.

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  56. Anonymous10:18 PM

    If you're really having trouble learning how to draw, you can spin a sewing thread in. This can also work to add strength to a weak yarn

    Diane
    Safety Harbor
    FL

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  57. Anonymous10:42 PM

    If your roving is a little to thick to draw into a nice thin yarn, I will first break off lengths of about 36" & then divide again into 3 thinner strips. This will help to spin some beautiful yarn with just a few bumps (they add character to the yarn). Diane W.Johannesburg,MI

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  58. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Being a new spinner, it takes me a longer time to complete a project. I did not know how to deal with singles that have sat too long on the bobins and have lost their active twist (the single no longer twists back on itself ) ...How are you suppose to know how much twist to put in while plying? I was amazed to find out in one of Rita Buchanan's video the perfect solution. You take a sample of the single, tie a knot and immerse it in warm water. After a few seconds the water will reactivate the twist. and the yarn will start twisting back on itself again! Take it out and let it dry. You now how much twist is needed to ply a balanced yarn!
    Judith, Uvalde,TX

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  59. Dena Limpede2:09 AM

    Best tip for me (as a beginner) was using a marker to draw an arrow showing which direction to spin the drop spindle

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  60. Joanne G.6:23 AM

    Best tip..first practice with just the pedals - work on getting you speed even, ideally this becomes second nature... Then add your hands and fiber to the equation! Accept the fact you are a beginner and will need to practice... Save your attempt, proudly!

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  61. I've never spun before, but I really want to learn! I'm going to read through these tips and bookmark the post for the day I finally get a spindle!

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  62. The best tip I ever got was to keep going, and not give up. Your first yarn is going to look terrible, but that's all part of the fun!

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  63. Try Again:

    As a new spinner a couple years ago, I took the advice of some then-strangers on Raveley: take classes with good teachers to avoid picking up bad habits. Less to unlearn, in the long run.

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  64. From Rita Buchanan's video, when plying, count your treadling to beats of the music. I tend to over ply and this has really helped me not to make rope!

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  65. When I started the first thing I was told was just treadle, treadle, treadle until I could keep a steady rhythm and control the spin: stop, counterclockwise, stop, clockwise. Once I could do that, add the fiber.

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  66. I'm a beginning spinner, so the best advice I've gotten is: practice. Practice, practice, practice, practice and you'll get more familiar with working with fiber in general.

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  67. One of the best spinning tips I've gotten (still working on living it out every day, though) is to not save up the best fibers. Spin the fun stuff! Whether that's color or fibers, there will always be a ready supply of new good stuff, so you don't have to save it up for later.

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  68. Do not let your hands forget how to make that first yarn...that lumpy, bumpy, funky stuff you, mistakenly, thought not beautiful. It IS beautiful and never let your hands forget what your heart knew, right from the beginning.

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  69. Although I haven't spun before (yet), the best advice I've had from a woman who spun with a spindle: take your time, don't hurry, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time.
    I've got my spindle ready to practice, now I only need the time to do it!

    Jittina, the Netherlands

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  70. I was having trouble with my drafts turning before I wanted them too, and this great lady can't remember her name but she sold me some roving at the DFW Fiber Fest, told me I had to be pinching it after I pulled so I wouldnt twirl any further where I had not prepared it!! I know it seems logical but I was having trouble trying to stop it from doing that!!! LIFE SAVER

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  71. Anonymous2:59 PM

    I'm afraid I'm out here teaching myself, but I have several excellent dvd's: Rita Buchanan, Maggie Casey, Judith MacKenzie,etc. Judith MacKenzie has a great one on plying and she says that the more plies you have, the more twist you need to put into your singles - seems reasonable.
    Kate A. in Fort Worth

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  72. Carol (LiquidLace)5:30 PM

    When I was a new spinner and having trouble keeping my wheel going in the correct direction (it really liked to go backward), the best tip I heard was: take off your shoes and just treadle in socks or barefoot without actually spinning until you get the "feel" of how to set the wheel going in the direction you want. It worked, and years later I still spin without shoes to keep in touch (literally) with my wheel.

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  73. Keep practicing. It will click.

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  74. The best tip I got about learning to spin was to not overthink it. To just let it happen as it will. And guess what? When I gave up worrying/thinking about it, it all came together!

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  75. Anonymous8:52 PM

    Well, I haven't learned to spin yet, so my tip is, find someone who'll do it for you on shares, lol. Until I figure out if I can spin that's what I do!
    Thanks,
    Gail
    gailgoodhand @yahoo.com

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  76. kyla austin8:02 AM

    best tip - its okay if handmade yarn looks handmade!

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  77. Julia (mb at diegesis dot net)11:14 AM

    The best tip (as in, something you would never think of yourself, that makes a huge difference) I ever received was to agitate and thwack the skein of yarn when wet-finishing it. It really does settle the yarn and gives it a nice hand. (Probably best for sturdier yarn!)

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  78. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Spin a little every day - now if only I would heed that advice!

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  79. Just keep spinning. The more you spin, the easier it gets.

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  80. Anonymous7:03 PM

    Best Tip: Well, I'm mostly self taught from watching u-tube videos on wheel spinning. Those help out more than the how-to books!
    Jill

    jf45 at ymail dot com

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  81. The best spinning tip I ever got was to be patient and to just enjoy the process. Works for life most of the time too.

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  82. The best advice I ever got was given by my husband. He said, "Have someone else spin it. You are already overwhelmed."

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  83. Best tip: Just spin some everyday. With enough practice, improvement is unavoidable.

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  84. best tip... keep at it, practice makes it all better!

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  85. I hate when my single breaks and I can't find it on my bobbin so I keep a small toothbrush with my wheel. Gently brush the singles, in the opposite direction they went on the bobbin, and the toothbrush will find and pick up the broken single!

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