Table of Contents

Handspinning

Brief History of Spinning

Handspinning - Why?

Wool and Other Fibres for Handspinners

Preparing Wool for Handspinning

Thoughts on Learning to Spin

Basic Rules for Spinning with a Flyer Wheel

Spinning Wheels

How Flyer Wheels Work

Choosing a Spinning Wheel

Buying a Spinning Wheel

Indian Book or Box Charkha

Handspindles

Introduction to Handspindles

Spindle Reviews

Tips and Tricks for Spindle Spinning

Building Your Own

Handspindle

Lazy Kate

Knitting Needles

Publications

Introduction

Videos

Books

Links - Handspinning on the Web

Gallery

Glossary

Life on the Farm

Sitemap

Address and legal information

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Glossary

Control Yarn
A piece of yarn that you let twist back on itself immediately after spinning. If you like it, break off a piece and wrap it around a file card. That way you will know how much twist you need for a balanced ply - even if you ply weeks later when the single's twist has set. The procedure is presented by Patsy Z. in her video Spinning Wool - Basics and Beyond.
Plying
Plying means letting two or more single threads twist together. You can easily try it out with a piece of yarn or string: Take one end in either hand and turn in such a way that the twist gets stronger. Then hold both ends in one hand and let the resulting loop twist together.
A two ply is a yarn consisting of two singles, a three-ply one of three singles, and so on. The more plies, the more regular the final yarn - probability is against all the thin or thick spots in your various singles coming together in the same place. But first you have to spin all those singles - and you need bobbins to store them on and to ply from.
Ratio:
On spinning wheels, ratio means the relationship between the drive wheel and the spindle or flyer. If on a charkha the spindle turns 80 times when you crank the drive wheel once the whole way round, the ratio is 1:80. If on a scotch-brake wheel the flyer turns 8 times when you treadle once (= one turn of the drive wheel), the wheel has a ratio of 1:8. You can either try the ratio out and count turns. Or you can measure the diameters of the whorls/drive wheels (IN the groove) and divide the bigger one through the smaller one. For the flyer to turn 8 times for each turn of the drive wheel, the flyer whorl must measure one eight of the drive wheel circumference.
In the case of a charkha, which is an accelerated wheel, things get more complicated: Let's say the big wheel has a circumference of 47 cm. The pulley on the accelerator wheel has a circumference of 6 cm. This gives a ratio of 1:7.8 between primary drive wheel and accelerator wheel. Then there's the circumference of the accelerator wheel: 28 cm. And the spindle pulley measures 2 cm. This gives a ratio of 1:14 between acclerator wheel and spindle. By multiplying the two ratios (14 times 7.8) you get the ratio you want, the one between primary drive wheel and spindle: 1:109 (by the way, these are the measurements of my box charkha).
Staple:
Refers to fibre length, as in long-stapled or short-stapled fibre. What is considered long or short depends on the fibre: long-stapled cotton measures under 2 inches, long-stapled wool measures 6 to 12 inches.
Take-up:
Take-up means that the yarn is pulled through the orifice in the flyer and wound onto the bobbin.
Whorl:
On a flyer wheel a whorl is a disk with a groove in its edge, so that a drive-band can run in it. The whorl can be on the bobbin, the flyer, or both.
On a handspindle the whorl is the weight (in form of a disk, cup, cross, bead, etc.) - often manufactured separately from the shaft and attached to it - which keeps the spindle spinning. It can be attached near the upper end of the shaft (hi-whorl or top-whorl spindle) or near the lower end (bottom-whorl spindle).

Page updated: 07 April 2007