Spinning wheels made in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales during the 20th century





This old British Pathe film on Youtube explains How Fibres are Spun into yarn and although it is an old film this is still a helpful introduction to the craft. It looks at both wool and cotton, and shows spinning on three different types of spindle, wool spinning with a spindle and distaff, hand carding wool and spinning on a spindle wheel (aka great wheel, muckle wheel, wool wheel or Welsh wheel) and spinning on a treadle wheel with double-drive. This is a good video for understand how twist holds wool together and how double-drive spinning wheels work.

For information about the different drive systems used on spinning wheels (double drive, single drive, scotch tension, etc) there is a helpful article published on the New Zealand Spinning Wheels Website Under Tension

Chris Jordan on her Spindizzy website has instructions for how to fit a drive band on a double-drive spinning wheel. Take a look also at her instructions for oiling your spinning wheel before use.

Sue Macniven has made a helpful video How the spinning wheel works. The spinning wheel featured uses scotch tension. (The name "scotch" is believed to have derived from the brake ban running over the bobbin which "scotches" the speed of the bobbin.)

Sue has made other videos for beginning handspinners including Beginning Spinning parts 1 and 2 and instruction for carding and combing wool as well as making a plied yarn and specific types of yarn. See this page of her website or search on Youtube for videos by chicksinrubber.

There are many videos on Youtube about how to spin, but one of the hardest techniques to learn by yourself is English longdraw from hand carded rolags, so here are some more links to help with that: Longdrawjames - Handcarding and English longdraw, Ruth Magregor Carding Wool - Making Rolags and Woollen Longdraw, Amanda Hannaford English Longdraw spinning.

For selecting fleece, sorting it in preparation for spinning and washing it Sarah Wroot with members of the Cumbrian Woolclip co-operative (organisers of the annual Woolfest event) have written three leaflets which can be downloaded free from either the Woolfest website or the YarnMaker website.

Around Britain there are various local groups of handspinners plus guilds belonging to the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. The Association lists local guilds on their website, they also have contact details in their publication The Journal. If you contact the guild nearest to you they will be able to help you find tuition in your local area. Other local spinning groups and many of the guilds are also listed in a directory published in YarnMaker magazine.

Website copyright 2013-2023 Dorothy Lumb. Contact me via the YarnMaker website.