Learning (or relearning) the fundamentals


Sarah Anderson uses a length of felted roving to show how the amount of twist affects cabled yarn.

I often think about what makes a successful spinner. In my time at Spin-Off, I've seen firsthand many different approaches to spinning, and have learned that most are successful.

As a new spinner, the more I learned about spinning techniques, the more I became intimidated. How would I know if I was drafting the right amount of fiber, introducing the right amount of twist? I quickly realized that I needed to back off, give my spinning space to develop, and then come back to adding control into what I was doing.

While we all approach things differently, I wonder if my trajectory of spinning learning would have been different if I had had access to videos like Sarah Anderson's Building Blocks of Spinning. The video highlights Sarah's encyclopedic knowledge of the craft and her very clear no nonsense approach to teaching. This one video has everything a new spinner needs to know to go from the very basics of making yarn to creating usable novelty yarns in a very approachable format. Sarah's explanations are thorough with tons of information to capture the imagination of experienced spinners. She is good at being clear while not oversimplifying—so there is something for everyone.


Sarah demonstrates woolen spinning.

Personally, one of my favorite tools Sarah uses are large length of felted roving to show what is happening with twist when you spin, but on a large scale making it easier to see. In this video she demonstrates everything from S- and Z-twist and what happens to the twist when the yarn is plied to how too much or too little twist affects a cabled yarn. Another really helpful part of the video for me is when Sarah moves from the basics of twist, fiber prep, and drafting into making slub yarn. She cleverly uses this novelty yarn to demonstrate how to control the amount of fiber you draft. I think what makes this video so successful, beyond teaching a wide range of spinning skills, is that each new technique is used to illustrate the larger, fundamental building blocks of spinning.

Whether you are just starting to spin or are interested in gaining more control over your spinning, you are sure to find tons of tips and tricks in this video that will help you make better yarn.

Spin on,

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