Spinning for Speed and Softness


Lookie what one of Santa's elves delivered the other day.


Belated has never been so fantastic. Great googily moogily, I've been pining after this book for a while. It's no small feat to track this little gem down and to get a signed copy to boot, just makes me all the more lucky.

In the simplest terms, the method described has you configure your wheel and position your hand and fiber in a certain way so that the tension and twist coming from the wheel, simply pulls the fiber from your hand. The resulting yarn has just enough twist to hold together. This offers the most softness and works best done very quickly. Speed and Softness!

Of course, reading about it and executing it are two entirely different things. To start with, you are encouraged to find a good, medium length fiber with impeccable preparation. After learning the fundamental one can respond to other types and preparations of fiber with additional techniques, but first, I needed to unlearn what I've been doing.

I started by predrafting some Cotswold. I bought my fiber from Nistock Farms, who send lovely lofty batts of beautifully dyed fiber. After about 20 minutes, I had this.

skein in hand.jpg

Soft? Yes. Speedy? Si. Well spun? Non.
But not too bad for a first attempt. This is about 30 yards of two ply thick and thin yarn. I really had to ply this yarn because parts of the singles are so under spun, they couldn't possibly hold up on their own, to any sort of knitting or crocheting.

For attempt number two, I decided to try a bit of my Almost Solid Sampler. I used some wool blend, in colorway, Merigold.

not so successful 3.jpg

This time, things didn't go so well. The singles were so underspun, they wouldn't even hold up to being worked into an Andean plying bracelet. It was fast and very soft, but definitely not successful.

After talking with the elf a bit, she mentioned my hand carders. At her suggestion, I carded up some rolags with another wool blend from my sampler.


The colorway is Azalea, and it's a pretty purpily mauve shade. Working with carded fiber made the process loads easier.

first 2 skeins 2.jpg

The resulting 68 yard skein is more even, a bit finer and just as soft.

I still have a long way to go with this technique, but I'm happily drinking the kool-aid, here. I can see how this would be a great method to master.

In other news, two pups can fit in one wee little bed, if they put their mind to it.



Looks like you've done a great job catching on to Paula's terchnique. I'm still working on it, but I have found the most important thing is perfect fiber-prep, which you seem to have gotten down cold.

I think what you've done works wonderful. And kudos for you in trying out a new technique. I think we as knitters/spinners get stuck with our current method of doing something and don't try something new very often.

omg how sweet the two dogs together!@! I have that book, I haven't tried it yet but good on you for drinkin the cool aid!! Wish I lived near ya for some inspiration haha.. I don't live near anyone who spins! I don't get my wheel out nearly enough.. keep at it, I'm very impressed by the progression!

Your first attempt sure looks a lot better than MY first attempt did! In fact, I haven't tried since.... (grin)

Looks like great fun. Your yarn even looks soft! I would love to be able to spin low twist singles but so far I stink at it. Maybe some day!

That picture is so cute it should be criminal.

Mum loves both pink and rusted pink colourways of the yarns! We have cuddle cups too, only that I prefer my own whilst Wiggley likes to share.

Yay! I am one happy elf! This way you can teach me next time we hang out. In the meantime I'll save up for carders (and a tensioned lazy kate, and more bobbins, and maybe a woolee winder....). I'm so psyched that Paula signed it, too. I asked her if she would in a note if it wouldn't be too much trouble, because I thought that would make it extra special - yay Paula! I think your attempts look great. It could be a wonderful way to spin some really special, soft pygora. (I have quite a bit - some from my own elf!)
xox, J

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on January 25, 2008 8:07 AM.

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