How To Spin Yarn With A Spinning Wheel
Spinning 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:
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.
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!
Thread your length of starter yarn through the spindle of the spinning wheel.
Then tie it around the string “leader” that is attached to the bobbin.
Hook around the first hook on your flyer.
If you need assistance, just call in a helper or two…
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.
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.
Repeat until you fill the bobbin.
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.
Spin them together in the OPPOSITE direction from before (COUNTER-clockwise).
Once you have spun the entire two bobbins of single ply yarn together, you have created a useable 2-ply yarn!
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!
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