View Full Version : Hand Spinning Yarn

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 08:40 PM
I thought I would share with everyone something that I really like to do: spinning yarn! I use a drop spindle instead of a spinning wheel for a few reasons. It's cheaper, smaller, and easier than a wheel and there are many interesting archeological finds that indicate that drop spindles have been used all over Europe for a very long time.


This is sheep wool that has been carded. I order it online from someone who raises sheep for fun. It really does look like hair when it hasn't been spun yet. It has a very nice clean smell to it too!


Carding means that each strand of wool is going in the same direction. It doesn't come off the sheep all nice and neat like this!


This is my spindle with some yarn on it already. I had some trouble getting the yarn to be consistent in its thickness initially, as you can see :P


Now it is starting to look better. Consistency is really what you want when you are spinning and it is probably the most difficult part. That would actually be easier to do on a spinning wheel because with a drop spindle you have to wrap the yarn around the spindle and start over every few minutes.


This is why it's called a drop spindle. As you spin the yarn, it drops to the floor. That takes a while to get used to because when you first start you have to go very slowly and the spindle starts to spin the opposite way of your yarn, making it unravel.


This is a little knitting project with some better-spun yarn. It was actually made out of llama wool! I like natural colors the most but dying wool can also be really fun. After spinning all the yarn I want, I soak it in warm water and then let it dry. The water helps the little tiny fibers on the wool cling to each other. This is actually how some types of felt are made as well.


I didn't spin this yarn :P It's professionally spun 2-ply (two pieces of yarn spun together) yarn that is basically perfect. This is what spinners all want their yarn to look like. Pre-spun yarn like this sells for a lot of money!


This is a link to a good book called "Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving: Self Sufficiency" that I used to help myself learn to spin. I also happened to know someone who knew how, which is really the best way to learn although it isn't necessary. You can also find a lot of great videos on youtube.

www.etsy.com is a great place to find carded wool for spinning, hand made spindles and knitting needles, and hand/wheel spun yarn

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 08:44 PM
Nice to see a young woman who is interested in the traditional crafts. The other half recently began learning to knit as she is one of the only women in her family who never learned.

Huginn ok Muninn
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 09:21 PM
Excellent contribution, Elfriede! This is an essential craft most women had to master not long ago, because most clothing was hand made, and most yarn was spun by hand or with a wheel. People used to have to be much more independent than they are now. It seems like most clothing nowadays is pre-packaged in some store, and made by someone working at slave wages in Asia somewhere. Wearing a store bought sweater just isn't the same as wearing one made by hand, with love, by your wife, mother, grandmother, or some other excellent woman who cares about you.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 04:52 AM
I've always wanted to learn some sort of handi-craft like this.