• Craft Atelier

My Yarn Spinning Journey

I started spinning yarn on a drop spindle years ago and stopped doing it after a few attempts. I only picked it up again when I had the opportunity to learn yarn spinning on a trip to the US in 2017. A kind lady gifted Chen Chen an old Ashford traditional wheel who kindly passed it to me. That started my yarn spinning on spinning wheels. After some TLC, the Ashford traditional (which is just slightly older than I am) is now on display in the studio. Many people who see it for the first time ask if it's the thing that made Sleeping Beauty fell asleep. =)

Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel

We were considering beginner friendly spinning wheels to try in the studio and decided on Spinolution ones as they feature a hook orafice that looked easier to manage than the typical ones. We bought three models: Pollywog, King Bee and the Echo. We have said goodbye to our Pollywog last year when an Indonesian customer flew all the way to Singapore to give her a try and hand carried her home. The King Bee and Echo is still with us. I've used both quite a bit and have completed spinning whole braids of combed tops with them.

My progress in yarn spinning has been a fairly slow one. It takes quite a few sessions for me to complete spinning the singles which are then plied to form 2-ply yarns. I'll be sharing part of my progress here. The three samples I'm using are 100% merino from Malabrigo and a merino-tencel blend from Little Lambs Fiber Co.

From Left: 100% merino plied with a sparkly thread, 2-ply merino-tencel, 2-ply merino-tencel

As the photo above shows, there is significant difference between my first attempts and my subsequent ones. The deep purple one is actually what's left over after the bulk was used to weave into a scarf. The remaining mini skein does not show the original 2-ply yarn. This was the extra singles which I plied with a shimmery purple thread. The result is the crimpy yarn in the photo. My next attempt was not recorded as I gave the finished yarn away. The pink and grey yarn in the middle has uneven plying - some lengths very loosely plied and some lengths very tightly plied. The blue ombre yarn has more even spinning and plying overall.

I wet finished all three yarns at the same time. They were soaked in a wool wash and water before rinsing and drying on a rack.

The yarns were measured for the length and the wraps-per-inch gauge was used to estimate the weight of the yarn based on the thickness.

The purple yarn had the most variations in yarn thickness, ranging from a 10, 16, 22 to 24 wraps-per-inch. The pink one was slightly better, ranging from a 11, 18 to 24. The blue yarn has the best consistency so far, with the yarn ranging from a 16, 20 to 22 wraps-per-inch. The pink and blue yarn were spun using the same fibre blend from the same company. The respective yardage from the spinning is 580 yards and 800 yards.

I have been playing with a mini electric spinning wheel and will be sharing the progress on it soon.Meanwhile, we are waiting for a new wheel to arrive in the studio within a day or two - Kromski Sonata. It is a wheel designed to be a travelling wheel and will comes with a fitted bag for it. Classes for beginner spinners are available and if you are keen to get started yarn spinning on a wheel - treadling or electric - do get in touch with us and we'll see about scheduling classes for you.