Spin More Yarn: 4 Tips for Spinning Productivity

I want to start 2016 with a clean craft room. That means two things:

Fleeces and bobbins, ready for serious winter spinning! (One obstacle not addressed in Get More Spun is kitten-wrangling.)

Fleeces and bobbins, ready for serious winter spinning! (One obstacle not addressed in Get More Spun is kitten-wrangling.)

1. New Year’s Eve will find me in the basement, wrapped in wool clothes and sorting all my crafty goods into piles. (Spinning cotton here, quilting cotton there, weaving cotton in the corner . . .)

2. I need to do something with the four fleeces I’ve bought at various times over the last few years. Airing out the various bins and boxes is sure to remind me just how lovely (and voluminous) those are.

It’s not just the unspun fleeces that need to be tackled, either—it’s also the homespun yarn I’ve made from fleeces past. It’s easy to spend hours at the spinning wheel, mesmerized by the fiber slipping through my fingers (or the audiobook I happen to have on in the background!).

For quantities of yarn I’ve already spun, my best friends are Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book series, which let me turn some basic information about gauge and yardage into a custom design.

By preparing the fibers well and spinning some every day, you can really plow through a lot of fiber!

By preparing the fibers well and spinning some every day, you can really plow through a lot of fiber!

There is another way, though. As Abby Franquemont demonstrates in her video Get More Spun: Spinning to Knit Large Projects, the preparations needed to spin with a particular project in mind aren’t so arduous.

For consistency: Keep a reference sample of singles and two-ply. On a little card placed on your knee or side table, these two lengths of yarn are the key to a last skein that matches your first skein.

For speed: Prepare enough fiber for the length of time you plan to spin. Figure out how long it takes to spin a rolag, then card enough rolags to spin in 45 minutes.

For comfort: Spend a little time getting your chair and wheel set up well, and watch for repetitive strain injuries. (It may seem like you’ll spin more if you push through an ache, but you won’t be spinning much when you’re in physical therapy for tendinitis.)

For sanity: Take breaks. Be ambitious but realistic about how much time you’ll need to spin a large project.

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