How to Spin Wool

Thứ sáu - 26/04/2024 23:11
The art of spinning wool is making a resurgence in today's society. People are re-discovering the unique qualities of wool, the preferred spinning fiber. Wool is waterproof and keeps you warm even when wet. Choose your equipment. You will...
Table of contents

The art of spinning wool is making a resurgence in today's society. People are re-discovering the unique qualities of wool, the preferred spinning fiber. Wool is waterproof and keeps you warm even when wet.

Part 1
Part 1 of 5:

Getting Started

  1. Step 1 Choose your equipment.
    You will have to decide if you prefer a drop spindle or a spinning wheel. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Drop spindles are good to use when starting out, but spinning wheels tend to be a faster way to spin.[1]
    • Using a drop spindle. Creating your own drop spindle is simple and easy. When you've mastered the spindle, you'll have mastered all the different steps for spinning (drawing out the fibers, twisting the fibers into yarn, and winding up and storing spun yarn).
    • The best drop spindle to begin with is the top whorl drop spindle with a hook at the top. This one is sturdy enough to be dropped on the floor as you're getting accustomed to spinning.
    • The spinning wheel is more difficult to master than the drop spindle, because it requires pedals to work the speed of the wheel and has more parts than a drop spindle. However, once you've gotten the hang of spinning on a wheel, you can spin more quickly than with a drop spindle.
    • A spinning wheel works by rotating the bobbin using the drive band. While you treadle, the wheel turns and the flyer and the bobbin rotate. You twist the fibers in your hand and these are wound around the bobbin. You have to change the speed of bobbin in order to get the yarn on the bobbin automatically. Different types of spinning wheels can facilitate the wrapping of the yarn around the bobbin in different ways.
  2. Step 3 Get familiar with the equipment.
    Spinning wheels have the same basic equipment whatever type they are. Some have more components than others, but usually the basic components are the same. You'll need to keep the different parts of the spinning wheel in mind when you're learning to spin.[2]
    • The flywheel is the piece that rotates when you treadle, which causes the rest of the pieces to move. Not all wheels look the same (or look like the typical "fairytale" wheel), but all spinning wheels have some type of wheel.
    • The drive band wraps around the flywheel and the flyer whorl (which is the pulley attached to the flyer and driven by the drive band. There are different sized grooves on the flyer whorl that determine how fast the wheel will spin) and the flyer (a U-shaped piece of wood that has hooks lining up one or both arms; these hooks store the yarn on the bobbin). The drive band rotates the flyer which puts the twist into the fiber.
    • The tension knob adjusts the tension of the drive band by lowering and raising the mother-of-all (which is the bar that mounts the flyer, bobbin, and tension knob).
    • The bobbin is what operates on the spindle along with the flyer, storing the yarn. It can operate with or separately from the drive band. The orifice is the opening at the end of the spindle where the yarn goes through and connects to the flyer's hooks.
    • The treadle is the pedal that operates the wheel and is used by your feet. This determines the speed of the spinning wheel.
  3. Step 4 Select a spinning wheel.
    If you've decided that you want to use a spinning wheel rather than a drop spindle, then you'll need to learn about the different kinds of spinning wheels. If you're just starting out it might be best to rent or borrow a spinning wheel, so that you get the hang of it and decide it's really what you want to do. There are several different basic types of spinning wheels.[3]
    • The Saxony is the typical fairy tale type of wheel with wheel on one end, flyer on the other, sloping frame, and typically three legs. This spinning wheel tends to be more expensive.
    • Castle wheels have the flyer positioned above the wheel. They normally have three to four legs, but tend to be more compact than the other types of wheels. They are good for someone who has less working space. In terms of more traditional wheels, this one is the cheapest.
    • Norwegian wheels are similar to the Saxony. They typically have three to four legs, a large wheel, and are usually quite ornate. They are also typically within the same price range as the Saxony
    • Modern wheels can often have an odd appearance as they are typically hybrids of other types of spinning wheels. They often have better engineering than the other kinds and some can even fold up! As for price, it depends on the wheel, but they typically run less than the previous wheels.
    • Electric spinners are nice because you don't have to worry about the treadle or the wheel (they don't have them). They can be placed on a table and used manually and are easy to carry and store. These also tend to run more cheaply than the typical, full length spinning wheel.
    • Spindle wheels don't have a flyer and bobbin. Instead, a pointed spike both twists and accumulates the spun yarn. These are also less expensive than the typical spinning wheels.
  4. Step 5 Know what to look for in choosing a spinning wheel.
    There are certain things you'll need to consider when you're choosing a spinning wheel. These will determine the kinds of thread you spin, what speed you spin at, and how easy the treadles are to use.
    • The speed of your wheel (what "gear" the treadle is in, essentially) determines how quickly the twist develops in your yarn. Fine fibers like Merino wool and angora or short fibers like cotton require faster speeds. More coarse fibers like Romney or Border Leicester need a slower speed. It's best to find a spinning wheel that has a range of speeds so that it can be more versatile.
    • On single drive wheels the drive band goes around the wheel one time. Then it goes around the drive pulley on the flyer or the bobbin. Double drive wheels also use one drive band but it goes around the wheel twice. The single drive is easier for beginners to use, because it has a separate break system. When you have to change the speed of the bobbin it's easier to do on the single drive wheel (because it breaks). On the double drive wheel, you actually have to speed up.
    • Bobbin capacity depends on the manufacturer. There are no one-size-fits-all bobbins. The best way to compare bobbin capacity is to calculate the volume of the bobbin available to wind on the yarn. Many manufacturers have a selection of different bobbin sizes.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 5:

Preparing the Wool

  1. Step 1 Choose your fleece.
    Try to get a fleece that has been just sheared, because the grease makes the wool softer. You will also need to keep a few things in mind when choosing your fleece. These include what you're making out of the spun yarn, color, and faults in the fleece that will make your spinning experience difficult!
    • Think about what you're planning to do with the finished yarn. Are you making socks? Weaving? Knitting? Making outerwear? Different kinds of fleece have different softness levels, which you'll need to look into when you're choosing the fleece to spin with.
    • Watch for certain faults in the fleece that will inhibit your spinning. Avoid buying fleece with a break in it. If you give a lock of fleece a sharp tug and it breaks (typically in the middle), this will cause pilling in the roving and make for weak yarn. Fleece that has vegetable matter in it makes for difficult carding and cleaning (if you like combing the fleece and have the time, you can get this, but otherwise it's best not to).
    • Check that the crimp of your fleece is even. Spread out the fleece and check at least three different areas (haunch, shoulder, mid-side, for example). You want to make sure that one area isn't coarser and hairier than another area.
    • Wheel-to-flyer ratio determines what type of yarn can be spun. A wheel that has a ratio for medium or bulky yarns will be used for spinning wool, so the size of your yarn will depend on your wheel.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 5:

Spinning With A Drop Spindle

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Part 4
Part 4 of 5:

Spinning the Wool

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Part 5
Part 5 of 5:

Trouble-Shooting Your Yarn

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  • Spinning, even hand-spinning, isn't something you can just learn to do in an afternoon. There's a rhythm to it that takes practice to master.
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