Now that you know about twist, and what to watch for, you are ready to start spinning on your own CD spindle. Be sure that you wound your leader around the spindle counterclockwise, and then over the whorl. You should have given a few turns around the top of the spindle shaft, and then through the hook. There are a few things to notice here, first, can you see that the yarn is wrapped around the spindle counterclockwise? The other way to look at this is that if you were to hold the yarn and turn the spindle to wind the yarn on, you would turn the spindle clockwise.

spindle and leader

Practice spinning the spindle while holding the leader. Which hand feels most comfortable for holding the leader? Which hand is easiest to spin the spindle? Practice spinning the spindle with just the leader until you figure this out. Because the yarn will become overtwisted, you may need to let the spindle hang free and spin counterclockwise to release the extra twist.

I encourage you to do everything with both hands to find what is comfortable to you. None of this is very hard, in fact, it is primarily rhythm that must be learned, so you can use either hand, and just do what feels more comfortable. Basically one hand controls the twist and the other drafts and spins the spindle. I draft and spin the spindle with my right, dominant hand, and this is quite common. Either hand is fine, and there is no wrong way, if yarn is being made, then you must be doing it right!

Joining to the Leader

There are several good ways to join the roving to the leader, but I think the easiest (and least likely to come apart) method is to separate the leader yarn by untwisting it a few inches and splitting it into two "tails". Pull a bit of your fiber out a little to form a tip and place this between the two pieces of your leader.

Join to the Leader Part 2


The roving has begun to spin around the leader in this photo. I grasp the join between my ring finger and thumb, then add my pointer and middle fingers to help hold it. If you give the spindle a spin, the new white fibers will spin around the leader and connect the two together. This is what has begun to happen in this photo.

You will need to wrap your roving around your arm, or hold it away from the leader, or it will get sucked up and spun into the new yarn.

First Spin

I am preparing to give the spindle the first spin. Notice I am holding the roving away with my pinkie finger. Some people will wrap the roving around their hand or arm. When I have a longer piece I wrap the roving very loosely around my left arm, and then I can pull it along as I need to with my right hand. My son throws the extra roving over his shoulder, so again, whatever feels comfortable to you is what will be best.

Now with my right hand I give the spindle a spin and then hold it snugly between my knees. It is easier to begin with the spindle parked like this, and once you are more comfortable you can allow the spindle to swing free while you draft.

Roving is Now Joined

So now I have spun the spindle, then parked it between my knees, and I gently move my pinching (left hand) fingers upward and the twist travels up the yarn behind my fingers. I hold the roving up with my left hand and for now just hold it taught so the pinching fingers can move smoothly up the surface. Let your pinching finger slide up the roving and stop when the twist is traveling sluggishly.

You can see where the brown leader and white roving combined to make a barber pole section, this is where I made the join. It is easy to see how the fibers spun together to make yarn, and it is also easy to see that this is a Z twist yarn because the light and dark bands go in the same direction as the middle of the Z.

This may seem a little confusing, but if you try it out, it will soon, make sense and you will have your very own handspun yarn that you made.