Recent spinning progress.


More recent spinning.

I spun two lots of singles then wound them both together into a plying ball. Guess what? When I reached the end of one of my spindles I only had a foot and a half left on the other spindle!!! I just guessed the spindles had about the same amount on by holding them in my hands and I was THAT CLOSE!!! Ok, a coincidence, as I’m not that good, but impressive! Right? Not something that happens every day, anyway.


I then plyed on my medieval spindle but using it as a drop spindle. The fast spin spins longer when you stand up and quickly drop your heights worth of thread for it to spin from. Sometimes I didn’t get a good spin but most times due to the tapered ends of my spindle stick I did.

Here is my spindle full.


I was worried that I was putting too much spin into my ply so for each length I plyed (a length being my eyes to the floor when standing) I twisted the spindle once and when it started to slow I walked the spindle up the thread and wound on.

Here is my spinning on the niddy noddy.

DSC_9142 DSC_9144 DSC_9146

Here is the yarn straight off the niddy noddy before washing.


I thought this would have a lot more active twist than it does! This yarn at the moment has a nice feel to it. Soft and tactile. Not too hard but not without any movement either. Springy without being twisty. Of course, I don’t actually know what I’m aiming for, but I like the feel of it. When I start using my yarn up I’ll be able to look at the finished results and refer back to my notes of how it felt so I’ll know what to aim for in the future. It’s quite possible I’ll need more twist than this if I’m looking to use it for warp thread. I’ve washed it and it’s hanging to dry (unweighted) right now so I’ll see how it looks in the morning.


Talking about too much twist, remember how I said my first wool yarn had way too much twist in it and I washed it again and dried it on the niddy noddy? Well, out of curiosity I washed it again and didn’t put it on the niddy noddy to dry. This is what it did.


Yes, that’s a whole skein! It relaxed a bit after I stretched it out a bit (it was really fun to play with!) but now I wonder if it can be used. Ive heard there’s no thread to tight or too twisted to be used for weaving, but, really?


I mean, if I wove with this what would happen the moment the fabric got wet? Would it all shrivel up?

Well, I guess I could find out!  New experementation is looming… 😉



12 responses

  1. Your double-ply on the niddy-noddy is beautiful work, Well done! Not certain what would happen if you wove with the “boucle” overtwist, unless you were able to stretch it out again for weaving purposes. You can obtain rippled cloth with beautiful textures including pleats, ribs, folds and even bobbles by the judicious use of energized singles in either/both warp & weft followed by a hot-water soak after removing from the loom.

    • Thank you! It’s my best so far, really proud of it 😀
      Yeah I can stretch it out again, I don’t think it would be the best for any 15th century weaving but I could always try something more modern with it if I had enough to do anything with and the inclination to do it! lol

  2. Lovely spinning!
    With overtwisted yarn (single or plied) part of the twist can leave when you unwind it during use (especially if you wind it into a ball or cake), so it can relax a bit more. I purposely overtwist my yarn a bit for that reason.

  3. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for creating this fantastic blog. It is such a resource!

    I had put aside spinning as a re-enactment hobby as, like you, I had major problems with how spinning is usually done in re-enactment. Unlike you, I didn’t put in the research and I couldn’t work it out. Now I think I’ll try spinning again.

    I’m super-impressed at how fine and even your thread is. How much practice did it take to get to that sort of quality? (Also, do you think it helps that you tried flax too?)

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment!
      I’m glad my blog has helped you! If you do try spinning again then please let me know how you go. I find it is quite relaxing to sit and spin 🙂
      I think it might have helped that I started with flax first because you have to pay attention to how much fibre goes into your thread. Wool is easier because you can adjust the thickness somewhat when it is partly spun. The super kinky wool in this post is my wool yarn so the only practice I’d done prior to that was flax. I spent a few weeks figuring out technique with flax then I spent a little bit of time spinning flax. It’s hard to say how much practice I’ve put into it but because of the technique I’m using you can go as slow as you want so you can take the time to get the quality of thread and then pick up more spead. So I’d say you get quality thread with less practice than you might think!

      • Do you think starting with flax helped you learn?

        I’ve never tried flax. I just got my wheel out for a bit of a play after quite a while … but everything I spun was so over-spun that when I went to ply it I couldn’t. Very annoying. It seems I am not very good at spinning.

        • I think it did, because even though my linen thread wasn’t good, when I went to wool I found it easy because I could fix the mistakes I couldn’t with flax, but I had learnt to be careful (watching the amount of fibre going in to be spin closley) too.
          I’ve never tried a spinning wheel but I hear people often overspin at first because their feet treadle faster than their hands can work so the thread gets spun faster than they can draft it. Thus it gets overspun. There isn’t that problem with this had spinning method as when you learn it’s easier not to suspend the spindle at all, just spin it in your hand and it’s EASY to draft to keep up with that speed. Most people aren’t good at things the first few times they try it, so don’t say you’re not good at spinning yet! I can’t sew straight on a sewing machine but that doesn’t stop me making beautiful clothes and costumes! (I just handsew instead, lol)

    • Yes, I always us a distaff with wool. It’s what is depicted in the images and what I see throughout European history. I think using one changed your drafting technique slightly, because with this method you only have one hand to hold the wool and draft it so the distaff helps you out by holding the wool for you and also giving you something to pull against.
      My distaffis just a stick but my dad is helping me make something a little more fancy.
      Good luck with the distaff! I think it makes things much easier, let me know how you go! 😀

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