Tips And Tricks Thursday – How Do You Spin? Part 2

Today’s Tips And Tricks Thursday post is all about woolen spinning.  This type of spinning is still quite new to me.  While I feel like I have a fairly good understanding of the mechanics, whys, and wherefores of this style of spinning, I still need a lot more practice at it to become a proficient woolen spinner.  When I’m spinning woolen yarns, I feel like a maverick, like I’m spinning dangerously, because everything is so completely different that how I usually spin.

The a few of the key features of woolen spun yarn are:

  • They tend to be spun from fibers with a shorter staple length
  • The fiber prep for spinning woolen is carded fiber, often carded into rolags.  You don’t want the fibers lined up all neat and orderly like in combed top because you want to trap air in your yarn to make it soft and fluffy and warm.
  • Twist enters the fiber between your hands
  • A long draw is  used

A really fantastic video primer for learning is spin woolen yarns is “Woollen Longdraw – for handspinners” by ruthmcgregor on YouTube:

Woolen spun yarns tend to produce a wonderfully soft yarn with a gentle, fuzzy halo.  The yarns are light and lofty and quite warm.  They tend not to be as durable as their worsted spun counterparts but they are stretchier and have more bounce.

For any of you who would like to delve a little deeper into the history and mechanics of both worsted and woolen spun yarns, Walter S. Bright McLaren’s book, “Spinning Worsted And Woolen:  Being a practical treaties for the use of all persons engaged in these trades” is available on Google Play free.  There is an incredible amount of information covered in this book’s 256 pages.  “The Principles of Woollen Spinning” by Howard B. Priestman is also available online through Cornell University.  Simply click on the link title “document body” to begin reading.

Are you a woolen spinner?  Or are you like me and just starting to experiment with woolen spinning?  I’d love to hear all about your experiences!

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