Learning the Craft Skill of Hand Spinning

spindleHand Spinning is an ancient craft that is enjoyed today as a satisfying and rewarding hobby. Most people feel that spinning is very therapeutic, and furthermore there is an end product to show for their endeavors. Earlier fibers were spun by hand using simple tools like spindle and distaff. The yarn was spun by hand for thousands of years using tools that were simple.

What is hand spinning?

Spinning involves the twisting together of fibers to form yarn. Hand spinning is an ancient form of twisting together fibers, fleece, flax, angora, silk or roving of wool to form yarn that can then be used to create clothing and other items. The thread is spun thin or thick, plied or un-plied and can be dyed or left unnatural. The hand spun yarn is used for knitting and weaving projects.

Hand spinning as a hobby

One can decide to go into this form of spinning as a hobby and create beautiful handmade pieces of materials. These materials depict one’s creativity as you need to show off your handy work. You will need a few materials to achieve success in this textile craft. The materials you need include;

  • A drop spindle
  • Wool or Silk
  • Cotton, Angora, Alpaca and Mohair fiber.

At the beginning stages of the spinning craft, you must decide where you are going to get your wool or cotton from. Today’s form of hand spinning involves learning the different techniques associated with the textile craft.

LEARN- How to use the Drop Spindle

The use of a spindle makes it a very inexpensive way to learn hand-spinning as a beginner. Spindles are cheap to purchase and quite easy to make. If you master the skill of spindle, then you will have ultimately learned all the steps needed to use the spinning wheel. The main steps include;

(i) Tying the leaderhand spinning

– To start the spinning process, you need to attach the leader to the spindle. You tie the yarn onto the shaft above the whorl.

– Take the yarn along the whorl side and loop it at the shaft underneath.

– Take the yarn back at the whorl side and secure the hook end.

(ii) Spinning

– Leave these fibers along the leader loose end.

– Let your spindle hang loose beneath your hand that the leader suspends.

– Take the spindle at your right-hand with the leader at your left, then spin drop spindle at the shaft-end in the clockwise direction.

– Repeat the spinning process the spindle along the same direction up to when the leader starts to take the twist.

(iii) Joining more fiber

– To add more wool, you need to overlap your wool some inches over the drafted fiber fluff to join and twist them into the leader.

– Let your twist run in the joined fiber and then add some more twists as you spin the spindle.

– Gently pull out some fibers from the fiber mass as you pull them back using your left hand and then allow the twist to run inside the drafted fibers.


In case the yarn gets pulled apart, you have to add some additional twist. Connecting the ends back, you need to untwist both ends and then loosen these fibers. You need to lay a side of the fiber on the topside of the other then twist the fibers like they were. In case the spindle goes away from you or the twist runs-up in the fiber-mass, its time you stop your spindle then untwist the fiber-mass, then start over the process of drafting