Handspun Yarn

I love spinning yarn, combining colors and textures, watching the wheel spin, feeling the fibers pull and slide, pull and slide.  It’s a rhythmic, meditative craft.  Fifteen minutes with my spinning wheel and all is right with the world again.

When I began to spin yarn, I didn’t know how to knit or crochet and so my yarns piled up! I started selling them in a local shop, at the London Upmarket from time to time, and on Etsy.  For years I sold and sent my yarns around the world, but one day I moved back to New York City and life got busy, and my yarns piled up again.  Here they are, along with some dyed fibers:

Like a box of chocolates, they’re a mix of many different ingredients.  Some have soy fiber, slightly golden, soft as silk. One of the brown yarns contains Manx Loaghtan fleece from sheep native to the Isle of Man which floats between Scotland and Ireland, and another has Black Welsh fleece from the mountains of Wales.  The curly, fluffy bits are from Wensleydale sheep.  There are faded blue yarns composed of scraps of denim leftover from blue jeans manufacturing.  One is made from Indian sari scraps, and the bright pink and cornflower blue skeins are actually made from sari scarves.  There are plant fibers: flax, nettles, and hemp.  Most contain merino fleece, the softest of all fleeces, and many have Blue-faced Leicester fleece, a close rival.  Some I have hand dyed.

And all of these point to the fact that spinning is an open, wide ranging craft.  Some people learn to spin because they want to create the perfect yarn to knit.  Others want to make a specific fiber to weave.  You don’t necessarily need a wheel to spin yarn as a spindle is what most of the world has always used – watch women spinning on spindles in Bolivia HERE.  The spinning wheel that we are familiar with appeared in Europe around 1500, but spinning wheels of a different style existed in India at least 500 years before that.  (Have a look at an Indian “charka” wheel HERE.)  Check out The Woolery to see a broad selection of wheels and spindles.

I have spindles for travelling and my wheel sits at home, waiting for me at the end of the day or if I have time on the weekend.


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