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Sep 25

How to Spin Lofty Yarns

This year marks five years since I began spinning. Over the years I have progressed (as most spinners do) from spinning chunky and uneven yarns to finer and more consistent yarns. Recently, I wanted to spin some bulky yarn for a wall hanging. I realized that I needed to retrain myself on how to spin this type of yarn.

This DVD from Maggie Casey helped jog my memory for this project:

Cover of DVD case for "Big and Lofty Yarns"

First, I needed to make sure that my wheel was set up properly. I chose my Matchless spinning wheel, but this technique can be done with the Sidekick, Ladybug, or Flatiron Spinning Wheels, too.

I used my bulky front maiden and flyer to be sure that my yarn would fit through the orifice. I also used an extra slow whorl to slow down my spinning, since I tend to treadle pretty fast. If you’re already a slow spinner, you may only need to use a medium whorl.

A Schacht Matchless spinning wheel equipped with bulky bobbin and bulky flyer

As you can see, my wheel is set up in double drive for this project. Both double drive or scotch tension can work in this situation, depending on your preference; the goal is to have the right amount of tension to pull yarn onto the bobbin, but not so much that it rips it out of your hands.

I chose a fiber full of crimp to ensure that my resulting yarn stayed lofty and fluffy, and spun it with a woolen drafting method to trap air between the fibers, making the yarn extra squishy.

A ball of dark brown bulky yarn

I spun two singles which I wound into a center pull ball, then plied it into a two-ply yarn using drop spindle since there wasn’t too much yardage to process. This gave me a more balanced yarn for my wall hanging, and I also felt like it gave me more control over the ply since my hands were on the yarn more than if they were winding onto the bobbin.

A drop spindle filled with bulky brown yarn

Check back next month for a wall hanging tutorial using this yarn and the brand new Lilli Loom!

Weaving on a Lilli Loom