A Lesson in Spinning Wool Into Yarn

| 5/18/2011 8:18:29 AM

Tags: sheep fiber arts, knitting, spinning yarn, llama, alpaca, wool, fiber, knitting, farm, Pam Blasko,

A photo of Pam BlaskoSo many folks that have never really thought about the wool being spun into yarn ask me, "Exactly how is that done?" So I'm going to do my best here to try to walk you through it with pictures and brief explanations.  Here we go, spinning 101.

You can see in the previous  post how the sheep is sheared and the wool is skirted by hand (cleaned) getting it ready for the really big cleaning at the mill. Off to the mill it goes to be washed and put into what is called roving. Roving means all the wool is clean and carded (almost like combing it) making it all go in one direction for ease of spinning. So when it comes back from the mill we have a big bag of roving from each animal.

roving for spinning 

The next step is to start spinning it through the spinning wheel.

spinning wheel 

As you can see we treadle (peddle) the wheel to make the wheel turn. 

1/30/2013 4:00:04 PM

Hi Pam, Your great blog brought back memories of many Minnesota storm days sitting near the wood stove, watching the snow blow outside, and spinning. We had an old institutional loom in the utility room that I would use for making rugs. Barbara, gifted with better dexterity, knits wonderful woolen items. Here in Arizona, we are pursuing other activities - mentoring straw bale building, chickens, orchard, and LOTS of hiking. It was so pleasant to see pictures from our past. Thanks again - We still have our Louet wheel, however, and Barbara does some homespun from rovings sent by friends in MN. Thanks for the great blog. Dave

sarah spring
1/25/2013 4:00:26 PM

Wow, it looks so simple when YOU do it! I am just learning to spin wool from my angora rabbits and it is a very new and different kind of experience. I have found spinning to be comforting while sitting next to the wood stove like I am invoking those who spun wool before me or something. It's a fun and definitely practical skill that is often overlooked. Thank you so much for the great demonstration photos! -- Sarah at Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm

pam blasko
5/20/2011 8:05:38 AM

Hi Cindy thank you or the note, it did my heart good. When we have open house days here I always spin and give the kids a piece of the wool and tie a piece of newly spun yarn to their wrist. Your story has now made me think that I may be leaving a long lasting impression and creating a memory for them. Thank you Cindy. Pam

cindy murphy
5/20/2011 6:53:25 AM

Hi, Pam. I’ve really been enjoying your posts, though I don’t have sheep or spin yarn (except for the occasional tell tale, I suppose). I don’t even crochet or knit – but your beautiful yarns and the things you made from them make me entertain (briefly) the thought of taking up either. This post and the previous one about shearing, took me all the way back to kindergarten (that’s a long time ago, believe me). We went on a class field trip to a farm and watched them shear sheep, and then went inside the house where a group of women spun wool into yarn. When we getting ready to leave, they gave each of us a small piece of newly shorn wool in a little plastic baggie to take home. I still remember the smell of the wool, and how I loved the oily feel of it when I rubbed it between my fingers. A good memory – thanks for jogging it. Enjoy your day. Cindy ~ A Lakeside View

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