Spinning Poker Challenge

Spinning Poker Challenge

Every summer my weavers and spinners guild does a fibre poker challenge. You can choose weaving, spinning or felting. I am doing spinning and felting. This post is about the spinning challenge. I haven’t started my felting one yet.

In these challenges, they make up 4 decks of cards. The cards for spinning are Fiber, Colour, Type of Yarn and General Design. You pick one from each to get your poker hand. You are allowed to return one and draw another.

Mine are

Fibre: surprise us.

Colour: dark rich colours

Type of Yarn: thick and thin

General Design: include locks

I decided I wanted to try spinning some of the silk hankies I have. these looked like dark rich colours. Well, not that dark but not pastel.

I looked up what was the recommended way of prepping them for spinning. It was to poke a hole in the middle and stretch them out. Most of the drafting is done in the stretching out. I did 2 of each colour. They stretch quite far. I am sure I could have stretched them at least twice as long but I didn’t want my yarn that thin.


I also have to do thick and thin. I decided the easiest way to do that was to use the required locks to create the thick parts. I think these are Bluefaced Leicester.

I don’t have a spinning wheel. I like to spin small amounts, so I use a drop spindle I have quite a few.


After I finished the 4 silk hankies I made it into a center-pull ball. My original intention was to ply one end against the other.

But then I changed my mind. I spun some purple silk top to use as the other ply.

I made it into a center-pull ball as well. I put one small ball on my thumb and one on a finger. I used a little painter’s tape to keep the outside thread from unravelling as I will be pulling from the center, then I can control how fast it pulls out. I like painter’s tape as it’s just sticky enough to hold but comes off easily without grabbing and pulling the fibres and doesn’t leave any sticky behind. If I was going to store the ball I would tie the two ends together instead.


Somehow I guessed right and had just a little more of the second simple single than the first fancy single.

That’s my laptop lid so as you can see there wasn’t much extra.

I wound it off into a skein. It looks a little wobbly at first but it needs to have a bath to let the spin show what it’s really like.  I used the small extra piece to tie the skein in 4 places. I wanted the 4 ties because I am very good at tangling skeins.


Here it is after its bath and hang to dry. I didn’t use any weight to try to set the yarn, I wanted it to be its natural self. I am quite happy I managed to get a nice balanced spin. I took to pictures flipping it over so you can see both sides.

I spread it out more and took a close-up. I am really please with how this came out. It was difficult to get the locks in because naturally, the twist wanted to go to the thinnest part.


I hope you like it too. It was a bit of a challenge but that’s the point, get you doing something you wouldn’t normally do.  I could have wished for some action shots but it’s hard to spin and hold the fibre and hold the camera. It puts me back to wondering why on earth my prehistoric ancestors got rid of the prehensile tail, it would be so handy.

22 thoughts on “Spinning Poker Challenge

  1. I love the outcome of your spinning challenge! I am a “texture” lover and your skein turned out beautiful!

  2. A third hand (or tail) would be very useful!

    The skein is fabulous in every way: the colours are a delicious blend, the texture is fab, and the whole thing is eye candy.

    Very impressive silk hanky stretching – pulled out like that the silk would look good in felt.

    1. wouldn’t it be useful. I think we should work on growing them. I really like purple and orange together and that bronze silk has always been a favourite. It is amazing how far will will stretch.

  3. What a delicious blend of colour Ann. I love the textures. Can’t wait to see stage 2 of the challenge.

    ps since writing I see Lynn got in before me with the adjective – delicious – it totally does it for me so I decided to leave it in – promise I was not copying lol

  4. Ann this is absolute eye candy in terms of colour & texture which totally fulfils your poker hand.
    Your photos are brilliant – what camera do you use?
    I’m not sure a tail would do it….but a pair of extra arms might!

    1. Thanks Antje. I am really pleased with the yarn too.
      The photos are done with my iPhone. It’s an iPhone 12. I just upgraded it. I had a 6 and it was getting old. I have discovered my laptop is a great background, it’s mat black and doesn’t bounce the light. I use Photo pad to crop and resize them.

  5. I think the others have used up all the adjectives! Gorgeous yarn & it will look really interesting embellishing some felt. I don’t know what felting hand you drew in your felting challenge but it would be a double whammy if you could include your spinning challenge yarn.

    1. Thank you, It was fun to do. My felting had has the opposite colours. Cool colours. I had been struggling with it as I keep thinking cold picture rather cool colours. I have it started now.

  6. I enjoyed reading about your poker challenge and the end result is fabulous. I agree with Lindsay, you should add this yarn to your felt challenge 🙂

    1. Thanks Ruth. It was figuring it out and making it. Its the wrong colours for my felting poker hand. I think it will have to go on a hat or scarf.

  7. Fabulous!! both in colour and texture!

    while tails could be deceritrive, i think we both need prehensile hair. its long enuff to be usefull and we would not have to worry about sitting on it. i would like to try needle felting with both hands and it mite be safer if we could keep our hands behind the needles!

    1. Prehensile hair that is an interesting concept. I think I have seen that in a few cartoons. We could use our hair to hold the piece so we wouldn’t stab ourselves. LOL

  8. I absolutely love how this came out. That type of art yarn is right up my alley 😀 It would make a great necklace, just saying ^_^

    1. Thanks, I am really pleased with it too. Yes necklace would work. I tried it on my granddaughter and she loved it but kept it, because I love it too.

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