Category Archives: Handspinning Info

About different handspinning techniques and fibers.

Spin Flora – Banana Fibre

The banana plant has been cultivated in Japan since the 13th Century for use in making fabrics and textiles. The tender shoots of the banana plant were harvested and boiled in lye to soften them. The banana fibre was spun into yarn and woven for making kimono and kamishimo.
In Nepal, the trunk of the banana plant was used instead of the shoots. The aged bark or outer layers were soaked in water and allowed to decay to dissolve the chlorofyl leaving the cellulose fibres that are softened into a pulp. The pulp is dried and spun into yarn.
Banana is a strong fibre with a shiny appearance. Banana is a light weight fibre with high moisture absorption as well as quick moisture release, so banana fibre dries quickly. Banana fiber is bio-degradable and has no negative impact on the environment.
With the recent invention of banana fiber extraction machines, banana fibre waste can now be processed into high quality silk grade fibres that are now readily available to handspinners, weavers and crafters. read more

The Saami Art of Tin Thread Spinning

Tugging on a bit of pewter thread has led me down a new path of unraveling some of the intricately beautiful textile crafts of my ancestors.

Tin Thread Embroidery

Pewter
The first use of pewter dates back to the Bronze Age. Pewter was used by the Egyptians and later the Romans, and came into use in Europe for tableware and jewellery from the Middle Ages. read more

Corfu Spindle

Corfu spindle
A few days ago, I was delighted to find this wonderful gift in the post. My friend Agathi the weaver, from Corfu, sent me this beautiful spindle. It is like the one that her mother used to spin fine yarns on. Agathis asked her son Mario to make it for me.

This is such a simple design, yet very functional and effective. I haven’t spun on this type of spindle before, so did a bit of how-to research. read more

Kromski Polonaise Spinning Wheel: aa072310

I bought a new spinning wheel recently-

A Kromski Polonaise from Wingham Woolwork.
This is a Ferrari of spinning wheels.

Kromski polonaise wheel

In order to give this new wheel a true test of what it can do, I then went to London’s local weaving centre – located in North London – Handweavers Studio and Gallery where they have a sumptious selection of handspinning fibres.There I discovered milk protein fibre top. I had heard of it but had never had the opportunity to test it out. What fun!Innovative fibres such as milk casein and soya fibre were developed during the early 40’s as a substitute for wool, which was needed by the men on the front line. These virtually faded from existence as other synthetic yarns such as nylon were developed. Some of these fibres are now making a comeback as there is more emphasis on environmentally safe products and eco-friendly textiles.Milk casein fibre is made by separating the oils and fats from the protein. The curd is rinsed, dried and dissolved to form a ‘dope’ that is pushed through spinnerets into an acid bath that forms the fibre. The fibre goes through further salt and formaldehyde processing to soften and improve the quality.Because milk casein is a protein fiber it can be dyed with CIBA acid dyes.I did find the milk fibre very soft and silky to spin. read more

Paivatar yarns

As many of you may know, I have been a handweaver and spinner for many years. In addition to managing this website, I also have another website through which I market and sell my own handspun and handwoven products. I like to work with natural fibres and eco-friendly dyes.

Some time ago, I moved to Chichester, which is located on the south coast of England, in the county of West Sussex. I retired from work recently so now have more time to devote to spinning yarn and making pretty things. read more