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AD6UY Handspinning

Why Spin Yarn?

Why in the world would anyone want to chase sheep around a pasture, help catch and shear them, cope with a fleece and make yarn out of it. What a lot of work just to get ... a raw material. You *could* wear a skein of yarn, but that would look awfully darned silly. Here are some of the tools you'll need.

So why spin? To make yarn! Whatever kind of yarn you want. The ideal yarn for a project is not always found at the local yarn shop. Sometimes it starts with a fleece right off the sheep. Washing a fleece is a major undertaking, you have to get it clean without making it into felt. After wool is washed it still must be processed some way before it can be spun.

Sometimes you just want a blend of fibers that is not available at the local yarn shop.

Picking wool opens the locks, blends them and prepares them for carding. Carding arranges the wool fibers so they can be spun into a lofty warm yarn. This is a woolen preparation.

Wool can be combed; the result is a more compact less lofty yarn. This preparation is known as worsted. These are often stronger and less insulating than woolen-spun yarns but can be incredibly hard wearing.

Neither preparation is better in an absolute sense. For some projects a carded prepration is best, sometimes combed wool is best. A cap or scarf will be warmer if the wool is carded; socks wear better if the wool is combed.

If you do spin sock yarn you can spin a more woolen yarn for the cuffs, a tough worsted for the heel and toe. You can add a little nylon to the heel and toe yarn for durability.

So... Why spin yarn? So you can have exactly the yarn you need for whatever you are making. Here are some of the tools you'll need.

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