The Spinning Wheel Goes Round and Round

by | Jan 14, 2021 | Uncategorized


Rolags from Grinsheep Fiber Production

The picture to the left show a group of rolags ready for spinning. In addition to the colour grading there are small bits of coloured silk.  Imagine for a minute all the different yarns that a spinner could create from them.  They will produce a variegated yarn grading from royal to light blue but will it be thick or thin, tight spun or loose or even over-spun to created something energetic?  Will it be used as a single thread or 2 ply, plied with itself or with a different yarn? 

What fun if you are a spinner!

thick yarn spun on a large head spinning wheel

In the 70’s the revival of hand crafting introduced many urban dwellers to the joys of spinning.  My how things have changed!  

Those were the days of thick, simple yarns in natural colours.  The wool would have been lightly processed directly from the fleece.  The resulting yarns made into mitts, toques and heavy sweaters or ponchos with stripes in shades of grey.  They smelled very earthy when wet.  Sometimes the yarn retained so much grease and lanolin that the products were almost water proof.

carded dyed fleece

Pat’s yarn & roving

Now we have oodles of colours to choose from as well as different fibre blends.  Even synthetic fibres like Angelina can be blended with animal fibres to add sparkle.  Check out Grinsheep Fiber Production for a wide range of spinning fibres. (see linked sites)  
 Look closely at the yarn below and you will see small dots of coloured silk bits that pop up now and then to break up the grey.  It is a blend of wool, alpaca and those bits of silk.  
Mabel’s wool, alpaca and silk blend

lumpy silk wool yarn

If the spirit moves you, then you can take those lumpy bits to extremes and produce your own version of a “designer” yarn by plying silk with wool and deliberately leaving thick bits of un-spun silk.  A skilled spinner can even add tiny glass beads to the yarn.

Spinning is such a comforting activity with its soft sounds and regular rhythm that it is a perfect activity for stressful times.  Your mind, hands and feet moving in unison is calming and even meditative.  

The problem with spinning as a de-stressing strategy is that we tend to accumulate yarn.

Caplet knitted from variegated wool

So haul out those knitting or weaving books and start thinking of toques and sweaters and ponchos and shawls that (a) are colourful (b) don’t weigh a ton (c) don’t stink when they are wet.



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