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There are not many videos on handspinning and I have most of them. I will present them in alphabetical order (by author):
84 minutes, DVD, (in winter 2006/2007 Eileen had some PAL video cassettes on special offer - if you are interested, contact her) Copyright 2003 by Eileen Hallman, at the back of the insert are a twist angle gauge and a wpi gauge that you can copy onto adhesive stock and cut out (the angle gauge fits on a CD).
From the back of the DVD case: "This comprehensive video on Spinning Cotton on the Charkha is presented in 2 sections: Basic Techniques and Charkha Proficiency. Part 1 covers assembling the Charkha, safety tips, basic spinning techniques, potential problems and their solutions, techniques for winding on, storing spindles in the middle of a project, setting up and using the charkha and skeiner. In section 2 you will learn how to start a new spindle without a leader, a variety of speed spinning techniques, ways to achieve consistency which include tools and techniques to measure yarn diameter, twist angle and yarn count. Eileen has developed a great angle gauge to help you get consistent results time after time and she also shows you how to make an efficient gauge to count wraps per inch. Ways to perform a qualitative check on yarn consistency and spinning using color control and separation are also included. Not for beginners only, this video demonstrates some innovative teaching techniques that many spinning teachers might find useful. Additionally, spinners who weave with their handspun singles will find the discussion of yarn energy helpful in creating resilient fabrics."
This video should be sold with every Indian book or box charkha. The section on setting up the charkha alone is worth the purchase price. The spinning techniques will be useful for all spindle wheels (banjo charkha, great wheel). Even users of flyer wheels can find some useful tips - but there's better videos for flyer wheels.
By the way, it doesn't matter that Eileen only spins cotton - you can use the same methods for spinning other short-stapled fibres.
96 minutes, DVD, no regional code
From the back of the DVD case: "In this course you will learn how to spin many exotic fibers including camel, llama, alpaca, cashmere, angora, dog, rabbit and quiviut from the Musk Ox. The workshop also incudes live footage of many of these animals so that you can become better acquainted. You will learn how to spin many types of novelty yarn including spiral, gimped, boucle, turkish knot and cocoon using a combination of fibers and spinning techniques which include frosting and encasement. Tips on buying these fibers and the best end use of the yarn are also included."
Judith MacKenzie is one of the most famous spinning teachers in the U.S. Still, I think this video is the most expendable of the general spinning videos. Exotic fibres aren't all that different to spin and the second part, on spinning designer yarns is much shorter - and therefore more difficult to follow - than Patsy Z's "Textured Yarns".
Still, you get some nice pictures of cute animals and useful tips. This video would probably make a good present for a person who already has the ones by Patsy Z. and Mabel Ross.
Video tape (NTSC), 143 minutes. This video is a sort of assembly instruction and user manual for Kromski spinning wheels (I bought it before the Sonata was out) - Mazurka, Minstrel, Symphony, Polonaise - and their table loom, the Harp.
All the wheels are briefly shown in action. Then all wheels and the loom are assembled. Finally there's a section on spinning (on the Symphony) and on weaving on the Harp.
Do NOT buy this video for the spinning instruction! Judging from the yarn he produces the man demonstrating the process is not a spinner (then, it might cheer you to see that others have problems as well). I bought the video in order to get a closer look at Kromski wheels and it fulfills that purpose. In the U.S. this video is included with every Kromski wheel/loom purchase to help buyers assemble the product.
112 minutes, DVD (no regional code), on the insert are "Correct Rates of Spinning Examples", "Twist-Angle Guide" and "Thickness Measuring Guide"
From the back of the DVD case: "You will learn how to prepare and spin different lengths of fibers to make worsted and woolen yarns for weaving or knitting, using shortdraw and traditional longdraw techniques. You will also learn how to make a plied yarn of any exact thickness with just the right amount of twist, for various purposes and how to repeat it exactly at any time. And besides, you will also learn to spin a wide range of yarns varying from very thick to soft spun knitting yarns to fine gossamer weight."
Mabel Ross starts with a presentation of the basics (3 types of flyer wheels, different kinds of wool, spindle spinning with "park and draft"). But that part is much shorter than in "Spinning Wool". That's probably why the video is recommended for advanced spinners. But I think that anybody who can produce any kind of yarn with a flyer wheel should be able to follow this video if they really want to.
Following everything is just a bit harder than with Patsy Z.: Mabel is probably in her seventies in this film and talks very softly. (I've heard (from Americans) that her Scottish accent makes her hard to understand, but I can assure you that Mabel Ross does NOT have a thick Scottish accent! She simply talks British English.) Sometimes what she does and what she says don't fit together a hundred percent.
But I was extremely impressed to see how Mabel Ross spins from a very thin to a very thick thread without changing the wheel's ratio! That alone was worth buying the video. The other question is whether you really want to spin while constantly counting - Mabel spins for a certain, pre-defined twist-per-inch number.
90 minutes, DVD (no regional code)
From the back of the DVD case: "This comprehensive spinning workshop is designed for the beginning to intermediate level spinner. It begins with a thorough explanation of a spinning wheel and how it works and continues with a detailed explanation of single drive band, double drive band and bobbin lead spinning wheels. If you haven't purchased a wheel yet, this will help you select just the right one for your needs. You will learn about wheel set-up, fiber preparation and how to spin various fiber preparations. You will also learn about pre-drafting, the importance of understanding the purpose of wraps per inch, how to use a control yarn, plus step-by-step instructions for spinning various wool fiber preparations. All of this plus methods for plying will make your handspun yarn successful and beautiful." (Sorry, got to butt in here: The video won't make your yarn beautiful - only your practice will do that!")
Table of contents (from the insert)
Patsy Z. is my favorite spinning teacher. She has the best voice (the one's that's least likely to put you to sleep). And she makes everything look so easy! The video explains the basics clearly and in detail - there are absolutely no pre-requisites. But it also contains tips that I haven't found in any of my books - like Patsy's "control yarn".
Another great feature is that Patsy uses schematic drawings to illustrate certain points and always says exactly what she is doing - you are not limited to your observational skills. The only thing missing in this video is counting - for information on twist per inch you need to turn to Mabel Ross.
111 minutes, DVD (no regional code), copyright 1992
From the back of the DVD case: "Cotton, silk, and flax are three of the finest spinning fibres. Today each fiber is available for the handspinner in its own unique forms. Each fiber will be dealt with separately during the video, with information on choosing and preparing fibers as well as spinning techniques. Different drafting and finishing techniques which affect the resulting yarns are also explained, along with tips on adjusting wheels and record keeping. In the cotton section Patsy will work with unginned bolls, ginned and carded lint, punis and combed sliver. The silk section includes techniques for degummed cocoons, semi carded batts, bells, noil roving, brick and combed sliver. In the flax section, Patsy will work with combed flax top, line linen and carded tow."
Table of contents (from the insert)
If you want to spin either cotton, silk or flax on the flyer wheel, this is the video to get. Patsy Z. is great as always and as you can see from the table of contents, most questions regarding these three fibres will be answered. Even silk reeling is briefly shown!
112 minutes, DVD (no regional code)
From the back of the DVD case: "This video will teach you how to make many textured yarns. Patsy provides detailed information on fiber characteristics that work (or don't work) with each of seven recipes she provides for making diferent types of yarns. The seven recipes - cabled, knotted, soft twist singles, spirals from different singles, 3-pass boucles, core-spun boucles, and mixed twist illegal spirals - provide the foundation for spinning texture variations. By combining these recipes with the nine design factors (size, plying, twist compared to size, preparations and drafting style, fiber crimp, mixing fiber plies, garnetting, fiber body and irregular twist construction) you will be able to create an endless supply of unusual and beautiful one-of-a-kind textured yarns."
"You will learn about the importance of control yarns and a quick way to skein and set the twist. The section on twist analysis will help you figure out how much plying each type of yarn needs. You'll also learn how to combine many different fibers together, even sewing thread, to spin these unique textured yarns. Patsy's thread-in-a-bag trick will make the process of using sewing thread seem efortless."
"And, if you have some yarn on the shelf that you want to repeat or spin from scratch, the unraveling and decoding segment will help you figure out how it was spun. This video provides all the ingredients you need for successful yarn design. Just stir them up to create spinning magic! "
Table of contents (from the insert)
If you want to spin unusual yarns and don't have a teacher at hand, this video is indispensable. It covers a similar topic as Diane Varney's book "Spinning Designer Yarns", but has the advantage of SHOWING all the steps. I therefore find it easier to follow.
Patsy's hair has turned grey since the other two videos, but she's still the instructor who comes across the best. She describes in detail what you need to do and where you need to pay special attention. The video is just great!
Page updated: 07 April 2007