How to Spin Yarn: Part 3, Spinning on a Spinning Wheel | Ancestral Evolution | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

How to Spin Yarn: Part 3, Spinning on a Spinning Wheel

teacher avatar Ancestral Evolution, Traditional skills for the modern world

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials and Project

    • 3. Parts of the Wheel (and a little physics)

    • 4. Understanding Ratios

    • 5. How to Oil Your Wheel

    • 6. Getting Started Spinning

    • 7. Drafting Methods

    • 8. Troubleshooting

    • 9. Final Thoughts

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Welcome to "Spinning on a Spinning Wheel"! This is the third class in my series on spinning. Prior to taking this class, I recommend watching part one and part two of the series which cover basic principles of spinning and spinning on a drop spindle. These classes will give you a good foundation before sitting down at your wheel. This class is geared towards beginning spinners, but may be helpful and interesting to more advanced spinners as well! This class will cover the following topics:

  • Parts of the wheel and why it works (also different tension systems and the ways they work)
  • Decoding ratios
  • How to oil your wheel
  • How to attach a leader and get started spinning
  • 3 different drafting methods for beginners
  • How to avoid and fix things that can go wrong

These are the things you are going to need for this class:

  • a spinning wheel
  • wool roving
  • a piece of commercial cotton yarn (~4-5 ft)
  • spinning oil (ideally 30 weight or light machine oil)

Hope you join us for this class. Let's get spinning!

Music Credit: "Sweet Relief" by Zachariah Hickman

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ancestral Evolution

Traditional skills for the modern world


Hello, we are Eliza and Dave! Join us on our adventures with homesteading, the ketogenic diet, and science of natural living. We run a small farm with a flock of fiber animals made up of several different kinds of sheep and a guard llama named "Banjo." We look forward to sharing what we've learned along the way with the Skillshare community. Whether you are thinking about starting a small farm or just embarking on a journey into fiber, we hope to have something for you!

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hey there, my name is Eliza and I'm a fiber artist and homesteader and playing with fiber since I was about eight years old. And my husband and I together run a small fiber farm made up a couple of different kinds of sheep and a guard lot money into. This class is part three of my spinning series. And it's focused on the basics of how to spin yarns using a spinning wheel. In this class, we're going to be talking about the basic parts of the wheel and the basic physics of a spinning wheel, what makes it work and why it works the way it does. Where you knew talking about how to oil you're spinning wheel, how to attach a leader, and then finally, to actually spin yarn. And we're gonna be talking about a couple of different types of drafting methods that you might use as a beginner. Last and not least, we are going to be talking about some of the things that can go wrong when you're spinning on a sitting though, this class is geared toward someone who has a little bit of basic knowledge about spinning. If you have not already, I would suggest you watch part one and part two of my spinning series. The one on part one is basic principles of spinning in part to its fitting on a drug spindle. So those will give you a solid foundation to start from when we get into this class. It should be a lot of fun. I hope you join us. Alright, let's get started. 2. Materials and Project: Alright, let's talk about some of the things we're gonna need for this class. First and foremost, we're going to need a spinning wheel, the star of the show. Next, you're going to need a length of cotton yarn. I suggest about four to five feet. You're going to need some wool roving. And you're going to need some oil. We'll talk a little bit more about different types of oil and what kind of oil to choose in the section on whaling your wheel. So check that out. Your project for this class is to spin a single. You don't have to spin it any particular way. The point is just to get some kind of a single, there'll be another class coming up shortly after this one focusing on plying. So this class is going to be focused on how to spin a single on your wheel. And in the next class will be focused on how to apply that single. If you win, please take a picture of the single that you spun and post it to the projects tab. And I'll take a look. Alright, lets get spinning. 3. Parts of the Wheel (and a little physics): So first let's talk about the basic parts of the spinning wheel. So the spinning wheel is basically a pulley system. And we've got one large wheel, that drive wheel, which is powered by your foot pedal, which is making a smaller wheel turn around a bunch more times. So on my wheel I have what's called a, an Irish tension system or a bobbin lead system. In this system, the drive band is attached over the world of the bobbin. And the bobbin is, was actually turning here and getting most of the power from the drive wheel. This part here is called the flyer. The flyer also spins when we're spinning yarn, but it's gonna spin it at a different rate from the bottom. And the, because the bobbing in the flyer are spinning at different rates, that's what causes the yarn to wind onto the Bobbitt. So there are several different types of systems. Like I said, Mine is a bob and lead system where the drive wheel drives the bobbin and then the flyer has a brake on it. And the tighter I crank, the break down, that tension down, the less the flyer is going to spin, the looser it is, the more it's gonna spin. Now, if you have what's called scotch tension or a flyer LED system, that is just the opposite. And in those systems, the drive band is actually going to drive the flyer. And then the break is going to be on the bobbin. So it's just reversed basically. In both of these systems, different amounts of span in the bobbin, in the flyer are what cause the yarn to get wound on to the Bobbitt. A third kind of setup is called double drive. In double drive wheels, the concepts are the same. Still we have a bobbin and we have a flyer and the, they are spinning at different rates. And that's going to enable take up onto the bombing. But in a double drive system, the difference is that we actually have to drive bands, or actually one really big drive band that's kind of looped around in a figure 81 side of that drive band is driving the bobbin and the other side is driving the flight. But the worlds on those are different sizes. So they're gonna spin at different rates. And then you're going to get taken. Double. Drag systems are a little bit more finicky for beginners. But if you have one, it's totally doable. Because I have a single drive wheel and an, and an Irish tension wheel. This is what we're gonna be looking at mostly today. Pretty much everything I'm going to be talking about today can also be applied to Scotch tension wheels or to a double Dr. 4. Understanding Ratios: One other concept I want to just touch on is the concept of ratios. And what that actually means. I don't mean to complicate things unnecessarily, but I do think it is helpful to just kind of know what it means when people talk about ratios of Bob wins and what we're talking about. So to illustrate this point, I'm going to use some handy dandy star stickers here. And I'm gonna stick one on my drive wheel. Well on my bobbin just at the top. And so what we're gonna do is I'm going to spin my drive wheel around in one complete circle. And I'm going to see how many times the bobbing goes around while we do that. Already. Count 123456, just over six. So for every one spin of my drive wheel, I get six spins of this wheel. You're gonna see this expressed as a colon. You're going to see six to one or eight to one or something like that. Different worlds have different ratios. The larger the ratio, like ten to one, the more twist is going to be generated. The smaller the ratio, for instance, like five to one or six to one, the less spin, the less twist is going to be generated. If you remember what we talked about in the previous sections of my spinning classes, twist is the glue that holds the yarn together. If you want to spin a very fine thing yarn, you're going to need a lot of twist and that's when you're gonna want or higher ratios. So for the purposes of this class, just something in the middle. You don't want something too high or too low. Something like a 61 or an 8-to-1 would be just fine. 5. How to Oil Your Wheel: Alright, let's talk a little bit about whaling your wheel. Before we actually sit down and start spinning, we need to make sure that our wheel is in good working order and that it has plenty of oil, so we don't have to fight with it while we're spinning. So let's talk about whale for a minute. The, your typical spinning oil that you're going to buy from Schacht say we're Ashford or something is actually like a third you wait, whale like a like a motor oil. So you can use pretty much any 30 weight oil. I like to use just a light machine oil. This is actually oil that I used on my sheep shears, on my clippers. And I find it works really well on the spinning wheel. Some people also like to use something like olive oil or vegetable oil. I've used almond oil before, but I find that those oils, they tend to get a little bit stickier and kinda rancid over time. So I prefer to use a machine oil. I've also heard people use sewing machine oil will also work on this. So if you have one of those Around, that'll work. So when we go to wail or spinning wheel, we want to oil basically all the parts that are moving. And those primarily are going to be where our flyer and are Bob and are spinning. So for instance, right here, I'm going to weigh a little bit of this and spin that around. I'm going to undo my break here and take my Bob and off and put a little bit of oil down on this climb here. And in the end where it attaches. And also on the bob in. I like to oil My we'll pretty much every time I sit down to span the rule of thumb is kind of applying more wale within every like eight hours of spinning that you do. But you just kinda get a feel for it. And if you feel like you're fighting your wheel or things are just not moving in an easy way. Just take a minute, recoil things and that may improve the situation. You can also wheeled down in the drive wheel. If it's been a long time since you've spun, I find that I don't need to wail these areas nearly as often. The main areas that we're going to need to be oiling on a frequent basis are where the flyer in the Bob and are spinning. Alright, let's get spinning. 6. Getting Started Spinning: Okay, so first let's attach our leader to our bobbing. So we've just got our length of cotton yarn here, about four or five feet. I'm just going to double it over and tie the two to loose ends together here. Then what we're gonna do is we're just going to kind of loop this around the bobbin and pull the not through the loop and pull it tight. Just like that. Now, we can hook these on the hooks on the right side. And then I'm going to just feed this piece of the leader through the orifice and the print and out the front. Some people use hooks or fancy ways to thread the bottom m. I just use my fingers and use whatever works for you. Alright, so our leader is attached, we are ready to spin. So we're gonna take a bit of our wool here. And like before we talked about kinda pre-drafting our fiber, I would suggest you do that to some extent. You just don't want your fiber to be to compacting. And you want it to be able to slide kinda smoothly while you're spinning. You don't wanna have to fight with your fiber when you're spinning. That just makes for an unpleasant experience. Sets looks pretty good. So because we're working on a wheel and we're not working on a dropped spindle. The way we're generating twist is through our foot pedal. So you're gonna get your wheel going. Now we talked a little bit in the first segment I did on the difference between S and Z twist. Z is usually spinning your drive wheel to the right. So z right away to spin to the right, z is right, is left. So to span are single Today we are going to be going in the z direction and we're going to the right or clockwise. Alright, so we're gonna get our wheel spinning in generating twist in our leader. And when we got some twist built up, we're just going to hold our will on there and let some of the twist travel. Now, we have twists in our leader and we're ready to start spinning are rubbing. Now the principles when we talked about are the same. We're going to be used in one hand, basically as a drafting hand. And we're going to be using the other hand to control the twist. And we're gonna be doing this with a pinch, me, pinching the Arne and controlling the twist with that page. In my case, I like to use my left hand to pinch in my right hand to draft. But if it works better, doing it the opposite way, do whatever works for you. Alright, so I'm gonna pinch and I'm gonna draft and let the twist travel and let it in. I'm just gonna kinda keep going. You can go and whenever speed is good for you. Now, as you may notice, I'm getting a little bit of kind of these curlicues in my arm, which means that my yarn is not taking up as much as I want it to. So I'm going to adjust my tension. One of them major differences. And the thing that you have to get used to is spinning on a wheel versus spinning on a dropped spindle or something like that, is adjusting your tension. And so my tension on here is right here. And like I said on my wheel, it is adjusting the tension on the flyer. Now when I tighten down my break or add more tension to my wheel, It's going to pull my yarn in faster and there's going to be less twist in my yard. So that's exactly what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna tighten it up, just a smidgen here. And we're gonna keep good. Now, if you found that it was pulling in too much, you would want to loosen it a little bit. So you would get more twist and less pull. That's a little bitter. 7. Drafting Methods: Alright, so let's talk about a couple of different ways that we can draft the yarn with our hands. Now, one of the first ways that is often taught is kinda the inchworm approach or a forward draft. And for that, we're going to basically take our pinching hand. In this case my left hand. I'm going to pinch and draw the fiber out of my drafting. And I'm gonna be doing a forward motion just like this. I'll show you what that looks like. And you're just doing kind of a couple inches at a time and then smoothing the artists you go. This gives you a lot of control when you first start out and your hands are pretty close together. So you have a less of a chance of your yarn breaking on you. So practice that for awhile. And when you feel like you've got it down, let's move on to our next drafting method. And that is the backward draft. So for our backward draft, our pinching hand, in this case, my left hand is going to stay pretty much in the same place. And instead of moving forward, I'm going to move backward with my right hand. My hands are going to be a little bit farther apart than they were with the inchworm or the forward draft approach. But I find that it is less stressful on my hands when I'm doing it for a longer period of time, as opposed to the four drafting method. Alright, let's give it a try. So I'm gonna pull backwards with my right hand. My left hand. Comeback to meet it. So I'm pulling backwards with my right hand. My left hand just kind of smooths over as it goes. But I don't have a strong, I don't have a real strong pinch in my left hand is basically just kind of loosely controlling twist and smoothing the yarn as you go. Practice that for a little bit and get a feel for it. Pause the video if you need to. Finally, let's talk about another one of the main ways of drafting, and that is called a long draft. And in this method, my right hand is going to draft and draft and draft and draft until you can't see it off the screen anymore. And then I'm going to let it all in at one time. And then I'm gonna do it again. Now my left hand is not really going to do a whole lot of much. And I can use it a little bit to kind of guide if I need to pull against something with my right hand. But most of the work is going to be done with my right hand. And I'll show you kind of how that looks. Beyond that, you're going to get using a backward long draft method is you're gonna get kind of a fluffy or yarn and yarn that has more air in it. And this is kind of what's called a woolen yarn. Now we haven't gotten really into the difference between woolen and worst ID. That's a subject for a different class. But I'm just trying to introduce kinda drafting method to you today. So let's give it a try and get our real going here. And like I said, I'm just going to keep drafting that my right hand until it's as far and I can reach pretty much and then let it all in at once. And again, like I said in this method, my left hand is really not controlling twist at all. My left hand is just giving my right-hand something to pull against mostly so that I don't pull the yarn. This is one of my favorite ways to spin just because it is very fast and it doesn't hurt. My hands. Could do this all day. Alright, so give that one a try. Stop the video if you need to and see what you think of the long draft method. 8. Troubleshooting: Alright, so let's talk about some of the things that can go wrong when we're spinning on a spinning wheel. Probably the thing that happens most often in we need to be able to figure out how to fix is if our yarn breaks and we have to join them together. Now similarly to what we talked about and the drop spindle video, the twist is the glue that holds the Aren't together. Remember? So what we're gonna do is we've got two ends of yarn. And it is important to make sure that both ends are kind of fluffy as they can be. If you have one end that is very slick and not very fluffy, you're gonna have a harder time making a join. And what you're gonna do is you're just going to kind of create some overlap here where both ends are. And we're going to generate some twist and let some twists buildup. And then we're gonna just gonna let the twist traveled down. And both ends are going to twist together and create a single piece. So our yarns are now joined. And sometimes when it does happen, you're going to have a piece of yarn that ends up completely coming undone and it's at your bobbin. That's okay. Just pull it out and restring it through your hooks and through the orifice and out the front, just like we did with the leader in the beginning and join it with the twist. The next thing that can happen is that your attention knob is not adjusted correctly. So for instance, if my tension is, if I'm getting too much pull in with my fiber, the yarn is pulling too much and I might be having a lot of trouble with the yarn breaking, but it's just, it's pulling too much, I'm having to fight it. That's a sign that the tension knob is too tight and you want to loosen it a little bit. So just give it a little teeny tiny adjustments. A small adjustment goes a long way when it comes to tension knobs. So just loosen it up to where it kind of feels like it's it's not pulling too much. It's letting your hands do what they need to do. And then conversely, if you're finding that you're getting, at least in this way, I'll see if you're spinning along and you're finding that it's not taking up. You're getting a lot of yarn out here and it's getting, it's getting Curley on you and it's not pulling in the way you want it to. That's a sign that your attention is too loose and you need to tighten it down a little bit. Again, small adjustments usually work pretty well with attention. Not the biggest thing I think with a spinning wheel, that is a little bit tricky for beginners to get a hang of, is adjusting tension and knowing when you need to adjust tension. And when you're good, it's spinning, it's easy. That's a sign that your attention knob is perfect. If it's not, try playing with it and seeing if you can make things a little bit easier on yourself. No matter what kind of tension system you have, be it Irish tensions, scotch tension, or double Dr. tightening down your attention is going to increase uptake and loosening it up is going to increase your twists and decrease uptake. So that is the same no matter what kind of a system you're using. Another thing that can happen sometimes when you're first getting used to the foot pedal is that you start pedaling backwards. You get a feel for sort of how much momentum you need to keep the wheel traveling in the right direction. And it also depends whether you have 100 foot to foot pedals. Coordination can take a little bit of getting used to just kinda like patting your head and rubbing your belly. So but it, it shouldn't take too long and before you know it, you'll be on your way and you'll be spending your very own yarn. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you made it through to the end of this class. You even survive a short discussion on physics. So, yay for you. I hope you enjoyed this class. If you have any questions, feel free to post it and I will take a look and today cancer to the best of my ability. Also, don't forget to take a picture of your yarn that you spun and put it in the Projects tab. I really look forward to seeing the yarn that use fun. Don't forget to oil you're, We'll, before you get started spinning, it was seriously make your experience a lot more pleasant. Also. One other note I wanted to make is as your bobbin fills up with yarn and gets heavier, you may need to adjust your attention a little bit and that's totally fine. Just know that as you span, you may need to make just some little small adjustments with your attention. Now, over the course of this class, we've talked about two main parts of the wheel. We've talked about the physics of the wheel and the basic reason that the wheel works. You've talked about the different kinds of tensions, assistance that wheels can have, the Irish tension, scotch tension in double. Dr. we've talked about ratios and what ratios mean between the drive wheel and our world on or Bob in or on our flyer. We've talked about how to attach our leader had a whaler, we'll send different ways of drafting our fiber as we're spinning. And finally, we talked about some things that can go wrong and how to fix them if they do. I hope this class was helpful to you as you begin your spinning journey. And I hope you learn to love spinning as much as I do. Happy spin.