Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers – Using a Spinning Wheel

I was invited to the guild meeting by Angela where she taught me to spin using a spinning wheel. This technique is much faster than spinning with and drop spindle as well as making it a little easier to control the width of the yarn allowing for the creation of interesting textures. I experimented with lots of different fibres including raw sheep wool, more processed sheep wool and alpaca wool. I found it easiest to spin the raw sheep wool as the relatively short fibres were easy to pull apart. Angela also gave me some pre-spun silk to work into my wool and I really love the contrast this creates between the rough wool and smooth silk and want to to continue to explore this. I love the rough textured wool which I am currently creating however many of the guild members mentioned how difficult it is to re-learn to spin textured wool after becoming successful spinners so this is a skill which I shall have to work hard to maintain.

Using a spinning wheel:

  1. Set up by winding pre-spun around the bobbin, hooking it onto the flyer and pulling it out through the orifice.
  2. Attach fleece to pre-spun wool.
  3. Spin the wheel way from your body using the peddle to keeping spinning at a steady pace.
  4.  Pinch wool between your fingers at the end of the twist and pull out the wool behind it to your desired thickness.
  5. Slide fingers back over the wool and repeat.
  6. Continue spinning until you have as much wool as you desire remembering to move the wool along the flyer.
  7. Exchange bobbin for a second on and spin the same amount of wool.
  8.  Remove second bobbin and put both bobbins on a lazy kate.
  9. Allow ends of wool to twist together, pass these through the orifice, hook onto flyer and wrap around a new bobbin.
  10. Hold wool in hands ensuring they remain separated towards the lazy kate and spin the wheel towards you all owing the strands to twist together, be carful not to over twist.

One of the guild members also refreshed my memory of how to knit and so I developed my wool further into two knitted samples using different size knitting needles. Although I am just focusing on spinning in my project it is nice to see the potential uses for my wool.

One thing which really struck me about the guild was the atmosphere of friendship and everyone’s willingness to share their knowledge and give advice. I think this is a very valuable way of sharing knowledge and companionship and something which should be encouraged and developed further by our generation. It really shows the way crafts and their roles have changed over time as they have now become an enjoyable pastime instead of a necessary skill.


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