Knitting · Spinning

Why I spin wool into yarn…

(Although I’m hoping to share mostly my sewing adventures on this blog, I will also share knitting and spinning posts from time to time.)  

As I share with people that I enjoy spinning wool/fibers into yarn, a frequent question that I get asked is, “Why?”  I always smile as I get asked this question because the answer is a bit hard to explain, concisely. 

A short answer to this questions is: To be able to have the full creative license for a project from start to finish (starting from a fiber to a finished knitted, crocheted or woven item).  You could literally work from raw wool, freshly shorn off of a sheep, and decide from there how to prepare the fleece. What thickness would you like the end yarn to have, the texture, the density, how many plys you’d like the end yarn to have, if you’d like to dye the wool before or after it’s spun or keep the natural color (and that’s just the beginning of the many paths you can go down, or even start with fiber from an indie dyer).
The following is a picture of a Dorset fleece.  It has a beautiful shine and luster to it and some fun and unique properties that inherent to the breed of the sheep (Dorset being a Down breed).


The picture below is a rolag of very soft Alpaca fiber that I hand carded, to prepare for spinning.


Another reason that I love to create handspun yarn is shown in the photo below, you can make woolen spun yarn. Woolen spun yarn is airy, light and very warm. It is a little more unique in that it is more difficult to find in commercial yarns (although it is available a few very lovely companies like Quince and Co or Swans Island Co, to name a few). 

Most commercial yarns are worsted spun. Worsted spun yarn is spun more tightly then woolen spun and is lovely for a lot of projects.  That said, woolen spun yarn also offers unique benefits for different applications. You can see in the photo below how woolen spun yarn is light, airy and quite dreamy.  The object shown in the background is a bobbin of woolen spun singles yarn.



The next picture shows a handspun project that I made last year for Tour de Fleece (a spinning event to where you spin yarn during the Tour de France). I spun 700g of Romney wool, plyed this yarn into 2 plys and then knit it into a vest. To create a project from a clean wool fleece to a finished knitted garment was so fun and satisfying.


Below is a pair of handspun socks that I knit. For this project I spun the individual singles in a semi-worsted method and plyed 3 strands of the singles together into a finished, sport weight yarn.  The wool for this yarn was from a Dorset sheep and is very hardwearing for socks.


If you are curious about spinning yarn, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Some people have enjoyed first learning to spin on drop spindles but I went the odd route and started learning on a spinning wheel.  A drop spindle is a cheaper route to start (vs a spinning wheel), but both are quite fun. The hope of this post is to offer a small taste as to why I enjoy spinning (for those that haven’t spun or might also ask the “Why?” question).  


Above is a picture of a commercially combed Merino wool that I spun into a 3 ply sport weight yarn, in a worsted method.

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