Spinning My Great White Bale – Status Update

I’ve been spinning constantly over the last couple of weeks. Slowly, I’ve twisted this large bag-full of carded Texel wool…

texel 1…into these five bobbins of long-draw-spun singles.

Texel singles

It’s amazing how much “smaller” all that wool seems to get, going from fleece to rolags, and rolags to singles.

I think the original fleece was only 3.9 lbs. Pretty small. Mom washed it up and then we split it. What I have here is a little over 1 lb of singles. That means that a goodly portion of the weight was:

  • Lanolin and dirt lost in the washing
  • Unsuitable wool that I tossed after trying to spin with it, realizing it was too tender or to tacky.
  • Not wool at all. It was vegetable matter that I had to painstakingly pluck out by hand. Grrr. Die VM, die!

Now, it’s time to ply. A simple two-ply, I think, so I can more easily monitor my twist. I’m told that long-draw singles need to be plied firmly. I don’t want my yarn to drift apart on me when I start to knit with it. What a depressing thing that would be.


  1. Loving this! Wonderful. It will be fun to learn the right amount of twist or spin to put into the yarn. I am new to the spinning and so find this all so very exciting.

    • I don’t know a great deal about this topic either. I’ve heard spinners talk about the degree of twist they put into their yarn. I’m not really sure what’s optimal for long-draw spun singles. I’m sure the answer, as for so many things is: it depends. My main goal is to create a yarn that holds together and is sturdy, without sacrificing loft and squooshiness. Something I could use for a comfy, warm sweater.

  2. I can SO relate!

    I posted, not long ago, about my mega stash of llama fiber. It is amazing how much gets discarded as it is processed. Carding is a never-ending task, even with a drum carder.

    But there is something so soothing about doing all the processing…makes it worth it.

  3. once again, your lace knitting and spinning are scrumptious and beautiful.
    I learned to spin with rolags. As far as the angle of twist, it always amazes me how much the difference between a 45 degree angle (a hard twist with lots of body and stiffness) to a 60-30 degree angle makes (a soft twist with lots of drape). Looking at a protractor, this is not much difference (45-30 =15 degrees) for the difference it makes in the yarn.

    When starting a new spinning project, I do (like swatching) often stop to fold back a short length of my single to test what the balanced ply will look like. It’s far easier to see the angle of twist this way. I have counted the number of treadles for a certain length to make sure I have the twist I want, holding it back before letting it wind onto the bobbin–this helps greatly. But I can’t count turns on my drop spindle, it’s all about the feel of it. So far my mittens are coming out with matching yarn (as I do not have my wheel set up presently).

    Your mention of drifting, makes me think this is a softly twisted single that will drape nicely in your sweater. I can’t wait to see what pattern you choose and see your final sweater all knitted up. It should be exceptionally warm, being spun woolen (vs. worsted).

    Isn’t it satisfying to see your spools fill up? (And now all plied)
    I love seeing this weather it’s my spinning or someone else’s.
    Great Job!

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