Last Friday, I was talking about setting goals for improving your spinning and Sandy commented, asking about my “bucket list” of 80 things to do with spinning. Here’s my starter list. I’ve broken the items up into four categories: Knowledge (background/general info), Skills (ability to do these things), Control (ability to do these things with greater control), and Experience (developing the depth and breadth by experiencing variety).

Many of these same topics can be found in programs like Old’s Master Spinner program. I picked through the program syllabus for ideas and then added more items to do with dyeing and colour work in spinning. There’s only 80, so I encourage you to suggest or add more! Maybe go through the list and check off what you know and then what you feel confident about. Then look at the holes in your list and see if they are areas that you want to dive into?

1. Knowledge

  1. Describe the characteristics and quality of wool
  2. Describe the history of sheep, wool and spinning
  3. Describe the production and harvesting of wool
  4. Describe fineness classification of wool and types of wool
  5. Describe the procedures to wash, dry and store wool
  6. Describe tools and methods to prepare wool for spinning
  7. Identify characteristics of fibres that influence fibre preparation
  8. Describe how spinning wheels work
  9. Describe the differences between different spinning wheels
  10. Describe the principles of spinning
  11. Describe vocabulary for spinning and wool
  12. Build a spinning library
  1. Describe the difference between types of dyes (acid, natural, etc.)
  2. Identify the source and availability of natural dyes
  3. Describe the differences between mordants used in natural dyeing
  4. Describe how indigo dyeing works
  5. Describe basic colour theory
  6. Understand the difference between optical vs colour mixing

2. Skills

  1. Spin on a spinning wheel
  2. Spin on a drop spindle
  3. Spin on a supported spindle
  4. Spin on a charkha
  5. Spin using long draw drafting technique
  6. Spin “over the fold” drafting technique
  7. Spin a woolen yarn
  8. Spin a worsted yarn
  9. Spin a novelty yarn
  10. Spin a plied yarn
  11. Spin a Navajo-plied yarn
  12. Wind a skein of yarn using a niddy noddy
  13. Measure handspun yarn by twist angle, wraps per inch
  14. Calculate the amount of fibre needed for a sweater or project
Fibre Preparation
  1. Learn to hand card fibres
  2. Learn to blend fibres smoothly using a drum carder
  3. Learn to make a mixed (crazy) batt
  4. Learn to use mini-combs
  5. Wash and prepare a wool fleece
  6. Prepare a fibre blend suitable for sock yarn
  7. Prepare a fibre blend suitable for a specific purpose
  1. Calculate and mix dye stock solutions
  2. Calculate dye required for immersion dyeing
  3. Dye wool/protein yarn and fibre by immersion
  4. Dye wool/protein yarn and fibre by hand painting
  5. Dye wool/protein yarn and fibre using natural dyes
  6. Dye cellulose yarn and fibre by immersion
  7. Dye cellulose yarn and fibre by hand painting
  8. Dye cellulose yarn and fibre using natural dyes
  9. Prepare an indigo vat
  10. Dye yarn and fibre using indigo

3. Control

  1. Spin low-twist singles yarn
  2. Spin a true worsted yarn
  3. Spin a true woolen yarn
  4. Learn techniques for controlling the size and texture of handspun
  5. Spin gossamer weight yarn
  6. Spin a bulky, lofty yarn
  7. Reproduce a commercial yarn
  8. Spin yarn for a specific end use
  9. Spin yarn to suit fibre characteristics
  10. Spin yarn specifically for knitting and crocheting
  11. Spin yarn specifically for weaving (warp vs weft requirements)
  12. Spin yarn with a specific twist per inch

4. Experience

  1. Spin from a wool fleece
  2. Spin alpaca
  3. Spin llama
  4. Spin cotton
  5. Spin mohair (kid and adult)
  6. Spin pure silk (bombyx and tussah)
  7. Spin bison fibre
  8. Spin camel
  9. Spin cashmere
  10. Spin hemp
  11. Spin angora
  12. Spin flax
  13. Use synthetic fibre in wool blend for spinning
Working with colour
  1. Spin a 2-ply fractal yarn
  2. Spin a 3-ply fractal yarn
  3. Spin a self-striping sock yarn
  4. Spin a marled/barber pole yarn
  5. Blend 2 or more colourways using combination drafting
  6. Blend 2 or more colourways by plying together

So, what’s on your list?