How long it takes to hand spin yarn depends on a lot of factors. How fine is the yarn that you are spinning? Finer yarn takes longer to spin.
What type of fibre are you spinning? Some fibres are more difficult to spin and take longer. Has the fibre been cleaned and processed, or are you using raw fibre straight from the sheep? If you need to pull out bits of hay during spinning or card out lumps and bumps this will take longer.
Are you also plying the yarn? How energetic are you today? Is your foot pedalling fast or slow? Hand spinning is a physical activity, so how you are feeling affects the amount and type of yarn you can spin.
On a good day, I can spin a bobbin full of yarn in an hour – so about 100 grams. I also like to ply my yarns as it gives them a balanced and well finished look. Plying a bobbin takes about another half an hour.
An average sweater, depending on the size, uses approx 700 grams – 1000 grams of yarn. So to spin enough yarn to knit a sweater would take about 10-15 hours to spin, in the weight that I use for my handknits.
If the hand spun yarn is also dyed, this is done after the yarn has been spun. I use natural and organic dyes with my yarns so this can be a long dye process depending on the dye that is used. The dyebath often has to be made the day before. The yarn is then mordanted and put into the dyebath. The dye process can take several hours or days depending on the type of dye you are using.. The dyed yarn is then removed from the dyebath, rinsed and allowed to dry.
The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn
The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft
The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber
The Intentional Spinner
Last Updated on June 12, 2021 by Paivi Suomi