• Amy

Why do we spin?

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

Spinning is simply adding twist to fibre to make yarn - the twist giving the fleece the strength to be used in many different ways. It follows from this that the yarn we all spin should be the yarn we want!


Reading the many wonderful books about Spinning which are available now (some of my many favourites being by Anne Field) it is all too easy to be bedazzled by technicalities and terminology. I do think it is important to understand how the 'magic' of spinning works but it's equally important not to lose the magic by making the process too scary! If you are someone who loves a good mathematical challenge and feels comforted by rigour and diagrams then spinning according to 'the rules' is for you - counting crimp in your fibre and spinning and plying to mirror this and ensuring all fibre preparation follows the accepted rules (woollen or worsted, rolags, rovings, combing and pre-drafting). This analytical way of spinning will certainly provide a wonderful outcome and, if this suits your mind-set it is a great road to follow.


My fear is, however, that many creative people are rather put-off by this approach and I am keen to encourage everyone to see the joy in just getting stuck in! One of the most inspirational Spinners I have met was a lovely lady whom I spoke to at The Cotswold Show when I was quite new to spinning. She was so friendly and chatted merrily with me whilst pulling handfuls of (I believe) unwashed fleece from a bag at her side and gently drafting it, allowing the twist to metamorphose the fleece into yarn and onto her bobbin. It felt really special and elemental and I realised this was the type of Spinner I wanted to be! That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy reading about the technical stuff and I certainly do love experimenting with fibre preparation and twist. I also love the juxtaposition of spinning yarn 'in the grease' ie unwashed, on one wheel then moving to another wheel with a finely commercially prepared fibre blend (silk and Blue-Faced Leicester for example).


So - fluffy, smooth, woollen or worsted-type, thick and thin art yarn or smooth lace-weight, plied or singles - whatever you spin make sure that you enjoy the process as much as the finished product. There is so much information on youtube, blogs and in those beautiful books not to mention your local spinning group - you will always find the information you need to produce the yarn you love. and, don't forget - spin a little every day and your technique will soon improve.

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