Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spinning a Good Yarn

For many people not close to the world of textiles or textile production, the assumption is probably that hand spinning of yarns went out when the industrial revolution brought in mechanized spinning. But for some of us who live in the textile world, hand spinning can be something we do somewhere between fairly often and daily.

Furthermore, those of us who continue the tradition of hand spinning do not have to spin on creaky, antique wheels. While some very old wheels are still in excellent condition (or can be brought back into fine working order), there are many contemporary wheels to choose from.

A spinning wheel typically has one or two foot treadles, a large drive wheel, and a flyer, which contains the bobbin onto which the yarn is spun. However, this is also a spinning “wheel.”


While electric spinners have been around for many years, the HansenCrafts miniSpinner, pictured at right, is a new addition to the market. It takes advantage of modern technology in terms of circuit boards and other electronics in its design and operation.

A more traditional type of spinning wheel that still has a contemporary look is this wheel (below, left), made by Gordon Lendrum of Ontario, Canada. Mr. Lendrum himself doesn’t have a website, but you can find his wheels at numerous sites that sell spinning supplies, such as Carolina Homespun or Paradise Fibers.

lendrum wheel

Other modern wheels might have a more traditional look, even though it’s a contemporary wheel. Here’s one (below, right) made by the Polish wheel manufacturer, Kromski.

Kromski wheel

Like Lendrum wheels, Kromskis can be found at many reputable sellers of spinning equipment, including The Woolery, the Yarn Barn, and many others. Note that the Lendrum wheel is a double-treadle, and the Kromski is a single-treadle.

What’s the point in spinning your own yarns when you can go to a local yarn shop or go online and purchase yarn? Some of us spin so we can create specialized yarns to use in in our own weaving or knitting. Below left is a lovely, rustic scarf that gallery member Joan Hutten wove using her own hand spun yarns

hutten scarf

Gallery member Jeanne Bohlen likes to make colorful, highly textured necklaces with her hand spun yarn. Here’s a photo (below right) of one of them:

Bohlen necklace

Gayle Roehm, a gallery member whose creativity with yarn knows no bounds, uses her handspun yarns in her knitting. Here’s her handspun, hand-knitted interpretation of Audrey II (below, left) from The Little Shop of Horrors.

Audrey II by Gayle

Finally, a number of members simply sell skeins of their handspun yarns in the gallery so that you, our customers, can use them in your own wonderful knitted, woven, crocheted, or felted creations. The skeins shown below at the right are by gallery members Heidi Moyer and Ruth Blau.


by July blog editor Ruth Blau

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