How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  | areturntosimplicity.comSpinning is my winter time therapy.  

(Gardening is #1 the rest of the year.)

Once the harvest is preserved and put away, and the days get colder and shorter, my spinning wheel makes it’s appearance. 

By this time, all of my wool has been washed and carded, and the garden is no longer taking much of my time and energy, so I literally can “sit by the fire and spin” when I have any small chunks of available time. 

I only wish I had more chunks of time to dedicate to it! 

I have a treadle and bobbin style spinning wheel, which I love because of its compact size and ease of use.

If you are new to spinning, you might want to start with an inexpensive drop spindle to get the hang of the spinning technique.

Here is how I spin yarn with a spinning wheel:

You will need your spinning wheel, several bobbins, your washed and carded wool, and a small length of yarn to start your bobbin.

First, let’s get acquainted with the anatomy of a treadle spinning wheel.

Here are the most important terms you need to be familiar with.

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Adjust the speed of your bobbin and flyer at the flyer whorl. I recommend starting on the slowest speed so the spinning won’t get ahead of you as you are learning!

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Thread your length of starter yarn through the spindle of the spinning wheel. 

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Then tie it around the string “leader” that is attached to the bobbin.

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Hook around the first hook on your flyer.

If you need assistance, just call in a helper or two…

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Pull a thin strand of wool from your bundle of yarn (this is called drafting). Overlap the drafted strand of wool with the end of your length of starter yarn.

Spin the wheel to the right (clockwise) and gently begin pushing the treadle of your spinning wheel, to create the spinning motion of the bobbin. Once the bobbin has begun spinning, your starter yarn will begin to twist together with the drafted wool.

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel |

Slowly feed the drafted wool through your hands, and allow the fibers to twist into yarn.

Be careful not to over-twist the yarn, or it will kink up and have a very rough texture.

As you create a long length of spun yarn, lessen the tension you have on the yarn, and allow the yarn to wind onto the bobbin. Periodically move the yarn to the next hook on the flyer so that the bobbin is evenly filled.

How To Spin Yarn On A Spinning Wheel | areturntosimplicity.comRepeat until you fill the bobbin.

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  |

Once you have 2-3 bobbins completely filled, you can begin plying the yarn.

The most simple version of plying is 2-ply yarn.

You simply take two bobbins of single ply yarn, and attach them both to the leader on a new bobbin.

Most treadle style spinning wheels have a “lazy kate” that will hold the bobbins and allow them to easily spin.

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  |

Spin them together in the OPPOSITE direction from before (COUNTER-clockwise).

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  |

Once you have spun the entire two bobbins of single ply yarn together, you have created a useable 2-ply yarn!

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  |

How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel  |

Boom! A relaxing winter activity that you can do while listening to a story on CD, or once you are more practiced, while watching a movie! All the while creating yarn that can be used to make warm cozy clothes for your family. Now, that is my kind of activity!

Read the rest of my series on processing wool!


This post has been shared at The Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Monday, Tuesdays With a Twist, The Backyard Farming Connection, The Homestead Blog Hop, Down Home Blog Hop, The Home Acre Hop, Simple Lives, Link and Mingle, The Pin Junkie, Freedom Fridays,  From the Farm Hop, Old Fashioned Fridays, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Clever Chicks, Mommy Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, and The Art of Homemaking

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13 responses to “How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel”

  1. Jennifer A says:

    That is amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen yarn made! It must be so gratifying, I love the feeling of not having to rely on the world for one more thing. I’m going to look around your blog a bit. I’m hoping you have a picture of something you’ve made with your yarn.

  2. This is fascinating! You totally had me at “sit by the fire and spin.” 🙂
    My mom has an old-fashioned spinning wheel… you know, the kind with spokes that you sometimes see in a museum? But I don’t think she knows how to use it. Or at least I have never seen her use it. It seems to have all the same pieces, though. I will definitely be sharing this article with her!
    ~ Christine

    • Angi says:

      The old fashioned ones have the same general parts, just arranged differently like you said. The directions are almost exactly the same! 🙂

  3. Monica says:

    This is amazing to see!! This is one of those things that I definitely want to learn to do someday. The thought of being nestled by the fire, spinning yarn is especially attractive. Especially on these 10 degree mornings!

  4. awesome 🙂 Kristina took lessons from a lady on how to spin but I didn’t so kind of cool to ‘see’ it in action. adorable little helper you have there too!

  5. Terrie says:

    I’ve just recently started to learn how to spin yarn on a wheel. I’ve done a couple of skeins on a drop spindle, but still very new to spinning. It is so much fun and I love to make something with the yarn that I’ve spun. Great tutorial! ~ Terrie

  6. Diane says:

    Spinning & knitting are my favorite activities. Great tutorial!

  7. This is fantastic – I raise Jacob sheep and often thought it would be great to learn how to spin when i can find the time. in the past my daughter has spun using drop spindle. It was fun to watch but I guess it’s not my time yet. This is a great post really enjoyed the details. I will be featuring this at Garden Up green on Tuesday’s with a twist this coming week.

  8. Sandra says:

    Spinning it’s a great way to fight off those winter blues!!!

  9. My grandmother used to spin yarn. I’d love to learn! Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist. You’ve been featured today at Back to the Basics!

  10. So COOL! I was immediately pulled to this post. I love learning about old skills that are largely lost these days. Great article! Thanks for linking up on the Wednesday Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see you there again today. PInned, Tweeted, and shared on Facebook 🙂

  11. Barbara Hill says:

    I have learned to spin for my local museum. We use antique spinning wheels, including a walking wheel. Spinning looks to be so very simple…but there is a learning curve. Some folks get the rhythm immediately, and others are not so lucky! I find it fascinating that there are I think over 1000 fairy tales involving spinning wheels. For those of you who have never spent time with a spinning wheel, it would be really hard to prick your finger in a spinning wheel! There is a place on the wheel, especially a walking wheel that looks like a pin or needle. It is more like a knitting needle with a blunt tip.

    It is wonderful that we have people who aren’t afraid to try this, because just like knitting, crochet work, appliqué and all the hand work women have done forever, it’s so relaxing, and mediative.

    Just reading all you do makes me understand the family farmers desire to pass along this lifestyle, and land to future generations!

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