How to Spin Yarn: Part I, Basic Principles | Ancestral Evolution | Skillshare

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How to Spin Yarn: Part I, Basic Principles

teacher avatar Ancestral Evolution, Traditional skills for the modern world

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project and Materials


    • 3.

      Twist and Staple Length


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      How to Spin


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Welcome to part 1 of How to Spin Yarn! In this class you'll learn the basic principles to get you started on your fiber journey! Over the course of this class, you will learn:

  • How to control twist
  • How to draft
  • How to ply
  • How to spin yarn
  • How to troubleshoot your yarn

At the end of this class, you will spin your own piece of yarn!

You only need a few simple and inexpensive materials:

  • Wool roving
  • A hook of some kind
  • A partner

Hope you join us!

Meet Your Teacher

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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!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey, my name is ELISA and I'm with ancestral evolution. Today I'm gonna be teaching you the basics about how to speak your very own piece of John. I've been spinning your instance. I was about eight years old, and about six years ago my husband and I got our first sheep. Since then, we built a flock of fiber animals. We have some blue faced Leicester and Border Leicester sheep. We have some Shetland sheep and also have a guard llama named Banjo. So we really enjoy working with our animals and working with their fiber. And today I spoke to teach you a little bit about how to get started on your fiber jerk. This class is part one of a several part series on spinning. This class is meant for the absolute beginner. You don't need to know anything about spinning or fiber. Really? No prerequisites are required, and the materials we're gonna be using are things that you probably already have sitting around your house. You don't need any special equipment or extensive equipment. This class is meant to be very accessible for the very beginning. So if you always wanted to learn how to spin or use been spending for a little while. But you want to review some of the basics. This class is for you. All right, let's get started. 2. Project and Materials: your product for this class. It's a spin, your very own piece of yarn. Please take a picture of it. And also tell me what kind of fiber used for your spinning practice just posted in the projects tab. And I'll take a look. So let's talk about the things we're gonna need for this class. First, you're going to need some fiber. I recommend starting out with some wool robing. I think this is the easiest to work with. You could either use commercially carded roving warn you could use part of a card it back that you carded or someone else carted. So either way, I think Wolf is gonna be the easiest fiber to start with next, you're gonna need a hook of some kind. So I have made my own hook out of a piece of coat hanger. It's just a long strip of coat hanger, and I just made a hook on one end. But you could use something even a simple as a paper clip. Really, anything that has a hook on end. You could also use a drop spindle that has a hook on it, so we just want something where we can hook some will on the end and something where we can twist with it. Last but not least, you're gonna need a friend. So one of you is gonna be twisting and the other one is going to be doing the drafting and the spinning part in this class, we're gonna be covering some of the basic principles of spinning. We're gonna be talking about twist and how to control Twist. We're gonna be talking about what it feels like to draft fiber and how to do it. We're going to be talking about applying. So why do we apply? And what are the basics of how to do it? Then I'm gonna be showing you how to do it on your own. Last, we're gonna be talking about how to troubleshoot your yard. All right, let's jump in 3. Twist and Staple Length: So first, let's talk about twist. So twist is the glue that holds our fibers together if we don't have twists than our yarn just simply falls apart. So if we look at some fiber here, here's this is some commercial roving and we look at the staple length. So we pull out a piece and we see how long the fibers that we've got our. So the rule of thumb is that for every stapling, which in this case is about three inches or so, you're gonna want about three twists. So if I were spinning this fiber, I would need about three twists per this length to get on my arm toe. Hold together. When you're actually spinning, you'll get a feel for this and how much twist your yard needs. But this gives you an idea. And when you're working with different fibers that have different staple lengths, they're gonna need different amounts of twist. For instance, if you had a fiber that was half this length, it's gonna need twice the amount of twists as this fiber is so, fibers with a longer staple length are going to need less twist and fibers with a shorter stem staple length are going to need a lot more twist. Princess cotton, which usually has a very, very short staple length, is going to need a lot of twists to get that toe hold together as your so starting out with something that is about three to foreign staple length, I think is great for beginners. Now, as you can see, I can take this piece of fibre and I can just twist it together. And this is kind of your basic little piece of yarn here. When I'm spinning, I am using one of my hands to control the twist, and basically, I'm just pinching the arm. I'm not letting the twist in. I'll show you what I mean. The same principle applies whether you use your using a spinning wheel or drop spindle, or you're just doing it with a hook. So in this case, I'm just using one of my hands. In this case, I'm just using my left hand to just pinch the yarn. And then I only let the twist in when I wanted to go in. So I haven't pinched and then I can release and let the twist in and then pinch again and then release unless the twist in and pinch again. And that's so again, pinch twisting pinch with the twist and pinch with the twist in. And that's how we control the twist now generating the twist. Obviously, on a spinning wheel, you've got a police system, which is generating twist for you. If you're working with the drop spindle, you have centrifugal force generating twist this way for our purposes. Today, you're going to be having a friend who's gonna generate some twist for you. So this is going to slow down how much twists were generating, and it's also going to take the pressure off you because you don't have to worry about the twisting part. 4. Drafting: next, let's talk a little bit about drafting. So drafting is the next thing that we need to learn how to dio. So if you take a piece of your robing and just hair strip off of it and you're just gonna take the end and you're just gonna pull a little bit not to fully pull it apart, but you're just gonna loosen up and then work your hands down. You're gonna pull a little bit and loosen the fibers up and you're going. Continue working your way down your strip and you're just kind of feeling how the fibers slide against each other and your strip. You're gonna find it's gonna get longer and longer. He's gonna pull a little bit a little bit. So just practice this for a little while. Get a feel for what it feels like to have the fibers kind of slide against each other. Like I said, you don't want to pull so hard that you fully take it off. But you just want to thin it out and see how long you can make your strip a fiber Here. Now, when we're actually spinning Okay said you're gonna be controlling your twist with one hand and then your other hand is going to be doing the drafting part, so just getting a feel for it before we actually start. Adding twist will help. The more you draft fiber out the thinner yarn you're gonna have, the less you drafted out the thicker yarn you're gonna have, how you choose to draft your fiber really has an influence on how thick your final yarn is gonna be. 5. Plying: next let's talk a little bit about applying. Supplying is when we take two or more singles and we twist them together. And so to you, demonstrate this. Let me show you with some tights here, so I'm just going to put twist into my tights. This is if I were spinning So this is like a single ply yarn right here. Now, if I were to double this over, you can see it gets all curly on me. If I were to double it over, I get a two ply. So this is what happens when we have a two ply yarn that the singles twist around each other. And the result is what we call a balanced the arm. So this yarn, if I were to get with it or we with it or something like that it's not energized. It's not going to twist up anymore on itself. All of the twist energy in this yarn is in the pli. Now, if I were to just try to knit with a yard that's a single like this, As you can see, it has energy in it. So it's going Teoh kind of be a little bit worked the fabric is not gonna be even. It's gonna pull. And so you're not going to end up with as nice of a looking piece of fabric. Now there are tricks to spinning balanced singles which will be covered in another class. But for now, we are talking about applying as a way Teoh get a balanced yarn out of singles. So let me show you what that looks like with So if I'm just spinning here and I'm spinning a single as you can see, if I just do this this yarn, this single has energy in it and I comply it just by doubling it over on itself and pulling . And this is a balanced piece of yarn right here. Of course, if you have a short piece of yarn, you can just double it over and apply it that way. If you have a large amount of yarn, the way that we apply it is we spin two singles together in the opposite way that we spun the singles. So, for instance, if we spun are singles clockwise, then we would apply are two singles together. By spinning them counterclockwise in some spinning books. You'll see this referred to S and Z twist. If you see the term the twist, that means that the yarn has been spun to the right or counterclockwise and the term s spun refers to spinning to the left or counterclockwise for the purposes of this class, it does not matter what way you're spinning your yarn, and in fact, it really doesn't matter. In general, you just want apply in the opposite direction. Then you spun your singles. So another thing I just wanted to talk quickly about is finishing yard. Now if we're just working with a short little piece of yarn, as you can see, art twist evened out pretty nicely. Um, but if we're working with a longer piece of yarn when we're applying it, sometimes you have areas that have more or less twist in it. So what we do to help with that is called finishing and blocking our yard. And at the very minimum, that just means getting your yarn wet and then letting it dry. And that just helps even out the twist and kind of Chris things up a bit. 6. How to Spin: All right. So this is my lovely assistant, Dave. He's gonna be helping me out today with the spinning part of our demonstration. So what you're gonna do is you're going to give your partner the hook. Now, partner, you were in charge of spinning this hook, and your job is to spin it continuously in one direction. Now, that's important. Do not speak in one direction, then go back the other direction because it's gonna get So you're gonna spend your partner is going to spin in one direction and keep spinning in that direction. And you're just gonna hook a little piece of your rule. I'm just gonna hook on a little bit of the world here. Just give me a little twist. All right? For that, Right? So, as you can see, we've got a little bit twisted here. I am just gonna pinch that twist with my left hand, and then I'm gonna draft out with my right. Okay? Keep twisting. And then when some twisted build up, I'm gonna let that twist in. I'm gonna pinch again and draft with my right and let go and pinch again. Draft with my right. Let go. Pinch and draft. Go pinch and draft. See how long you can make this piece, This single piece of yarn. You find that your piece of yarn is breaking. It needs more twist. All right, keep going. Keep spinning. Like I said, I like to use my left hand as the twist controller, the pincher and my right hand as the drafter. But if it works better for you to do it the opposite way. That's fine. All right, so let's do a little bit more here. McCall today. All right? Now your assistant is gonna hold up one finger like this, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna wrap the yarn that we just made around the finger and double it back to the beginning hook. Now we're going to take it off. This is our applying step. We're going to take it off and let it go and just give it a little snap here and there we go. Now you can take this off of the hook on your hook and just a little Not. And there you go, your very own piece of yarn. 7. Troubleshooting: Okay, so let's talk about some of the things that can go wrong when you're spinning. First thing is that you can generate too much twist. So if I am just twisting, twisting way and I'm not drafting things out and I'm just twisting, twisting, twisting, twisting, twisting, twisting, twisting, our yard gets over twisted. So we get these like, you know, if you can see this, but you get these kind of curly areas in the arm, and it is also very hard in that area. Um, and that's a sign that you're over twisting. So to fix this, you just kind of let some of the twist out. So the next thing that can happen is that you can not have enough twists, and that is what happens if your yarn is falling apart. So if you're spinning and you're drafting things out and your yarn breaks, that's a sign that you don't have enough twist for the fibre. So you just want to add a little bit more twist or draft a little bit more slowly, and that is going to give you the right around a twist for your yard. If your yarn breaks what you're just gonna do is you're going, Teoh, connect the fiber that you have in your hand with the piece of yarn that you already have going. And then get your partner Teoh, add some more twist here and hold them together. And the twist will glue them back together again. So, like I said, that the twist is like the glue that holds the fibers together keeps your yarn as one piece . Another thing that can happen is that when you go to apply it, you kind of get some weird arms that come out of your apply. And what you need to do is just kind of pull from the end and give it some, give its intention, and then it should apply back on itself nicely and give you one straight piece of yarn just like that 8. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You made it through to the end of this last. Now you know the basics about how to speak your own Your please close the picture of the yard and use fund in the Projects tab. And also tell me what kind of fiber hope you had Fun. If you have any questions, please post them and I'll get to them. It's because I can if you like this last stay tuned for the next class in this series, which is gonna be spinning on a drop spittle. Also, I'm gonna be doing one on spinning on a wheel, flying and finishing. So be sure to check those out. Thanks so much.