Tag Archives: beginner handspinning

How to Select a Fleece: aa011501

Here are a few things that I look for when choosing a fleece for handspinning.

Clean

The fleece should be fairly clean and free of vegetable matter and other dirt and debris. It is possible to clean and card the debris, but it is a lot of work, so take this into consideration in your purchase and in the price that you pay.

Crimp

Different breeds of sheep have varying amounts of crimp or waviness in the fibre. The amount of crimp affects how the fibre will spin and what type of yarn is spun from it. There are 2 general categories of crimp. Some are noticeably wavy such as the Romney, and other breeds have a more distinctive and closer together crimp, such as the Merino or Cheviot breeds. These are more suitable for spinning for light, fluffy sweater weights.


Photo comparing a Cheviot fleece(Left)

and a Romney(Right)

Washed (Bottom)and Unwashed (Top)samples

Lustre

Different breeds of sheep have varying amounts of lustre or sheen in the wool. The lustre affects how the light is reflected and what the finished product will look like. Some wools are more suitable for blankets, and others are better used for finely spun, and woven fabrics.

Staple Length

If you are a beginner spinner, look for a staple length between 2 – 3 inches. It is more difficult to spin longer staple lengths of 4-5 inches.

Strength

When checking a fleece, check for breaks in the staple. Give a few of the locks a gentle tug. It should not break easily. If you find that the tip breaks, this fleece is probably not suitable for handspinning. The breaks will work their way loose in the finished product and cause pilling.

Washed Sample

Ask to see a washed sample of the fleece. You can easily wash a small sample of the locks, in the kitchen sink. Just add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and wash the sample in warm water. This will remove most of the lanolin and you will be able to get an idea of what the clean fleece will look like. The yellow colour (the lanolin) should wash out. If the washed sample is still very yellow, then it would be best to look for another fleece instead.

More about Handspinning

Handspinning Info
Handspun Yarns

Handspinning Books

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

In Sheep’s Clothing
A comprehensive look at the characteristics of wool of 100 breeds of sheep, this guide gives special attention to fleece characteristics, methods of preparation and spinning, and best end use.
UK: In Sheep’s Clothing

The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber
The vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting.
UK: Knitters Book of Wool

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How Your Spinning Wheel Spins: aa030800

Handspinning Twist and Tension
Learning to spin a fine yarn, with just the right amount of twist for the particular
fibre, is a delicate balance between drafting the correct amount of fibre, treadling your foot at the appropriate speed, and adjust the tension on your wheel.

To understand how your spinning wheel controls twist and tension, perform the following tests using 2 plied yarns.
I used 2 cotton yarns, in contrasting colours and tied the ends to the leader yarn that was threaded through the orifice of the wheel. For each experiment, I spun the wheel in the same direction, to the right(clockwise). I treadled slowly, trying to maintain an even treadling speed.

Spindle Whorl – Largest Groove

whorl

Spinning wheels generally have 2 or 3 different sized grooves on the spindle whorl. Start with the drive band on the largest groove. Holding the 2 yarns in your right hand, ply them together to the right. Maintain an slow even treadling and allow the spinning wheel to draw the yarns onto the bobbin. Notice that while spinning, the yarns are being drawn from your hand, through the orifice, and onto the bobbin. At the same time, they are being twisted together. After spinning a few yards, hold the yarns together with your thumb and forefinger (so they don’t untwist) and make note of the number of twists per inch in the plied yarn.

Spindle Whorl – Middle Groove

Slip the Drive band onto the middle groove of the spindle whorl. Begin to treadle again, at the same speed as previously. Note that the yarns are being twisted together more tightly, although the speed of the draw onto the bobbin remains the same. After spinning for a few yards, again pinch the yarns together between your thumb and index finger, and make note of the twists per inch of the plied yarn.

Spindle Whorl – Smallest Groove

Slip the Drive band onto the smallest groove of the spindle whorl. Repeat the step above, maintaining an even, slow treadling speed. Notice that the amount of twist has increased. Again, spin a few yards, and note the number of twists per inch of the plied yarn.

Hand Spinning

Spinning Wheels
About Handspinning
Hand spinning Tools and Equipment
Spinning Wheels
Spinning Tools

Learn to Spin Workshops

Learn to Spin The workshop for the beginner hand spinner.
Learn to Use a Drum Carder How to use a drum carder to create new colours and Yarns.
Plied and Cabled Yarns How to spin plied and cabled yarns.
Simply Sumptuous Spinning A surprise selection of different fibres to spin.

Handspinning Books: Spinning Exotic Yarns

The Intentional Spinner
Offering a blend of technical knowledge, history, and easy-to-use tips, this inspiring collection of spinning wisdom deftly explores the three fundamental areas of yarn production: understanding fibers, managing yarn structure, and making yarns that precisely meet the spinner’s needs.
UK: Intentional Spinner

Spin Control
Focusing at first on the spinning wheel, emphasis is placed on the importance of adjusting and customizing the wheel for best results.
UK: Spin Control

Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning (Handspun Revolution)
Experimental, handspun yarns, and includes recipes for handspun yarns, project ideas for knitters and crocheters, tips on how to use one-of-a-kind handspun yarns
UK: Intertwined

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Antique Wooden Spinning Wheel Great Old Item!!

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Rare Vintage Made In Holland Louet S10 Wooden Spinning Wheel Clothing Spool

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Fiber Wool Combs Carders Spinning Wheel

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Handweaving Beginner basics: blbasics

Guilds
Do you want to learn how to spin or weave, and don’t know where to find lessons? Check with a guild near you and see if they offer classes. Weavers and spinners are very friendly and always welcome newcomers.

How Your Spinning Wheel Spins
Learn to control the twist and tension on your wheel.

Spinning Information
How to join a yarn, spinning woollen and worsted yarns, TPI and wheel ratios, spinning cabled yarns and other handspinning techniques.

Countermarche Looms
Instructions for settting up a countermarche loom.

Looms
Do you want to buy a loom? Or would like to build one? Here is a list of loom suppliers and information about different types of looms. Be sure to check out the Used Equipment pages, too.

10 Steps to Warping
You have your loom, but now what? “How do you string the thing?”
Dressing your loom is explained in easy to follow steps – with pictures.

Table of Setts
Would you like to plan your own project, but aren’t sure what sett to use? Here is a table of recommended setts for cotton, linen and silk yarns. Be sure to weave a small sample, to be sure that the sett is what you intended for your project.

McMorran Balance
Do you have an unidentified cone of yarn and don’t know what yardage it is? A McMorran Balance will help you figure out how much you have.

Improving Your Edges
Are you have problems weaving a clean edge? Here are some tips to weaving better.

Butterflys
What is a butterfly? and How do I Wind one?.

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