How to Spin Yarn on a Spinning Wheel

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How to Spin Yarn on a Spinning Wheel

I’ve been just bursting to show this tutorial to you for ages now. I actually recorded this last summer and am just now getting it edited and put up for you. Can you believe it?

Why spin yarn?

Spinning yarn is sort of like… heaven. It’s soothing. It’s relaxing. It’s meditative. It’s centering. It helps you to focus on the now. Helps you forget yesterday and tomorrow and even today. You just zone out.

Spin spin spin

Zone out

Spin spin spin

It’s really cool to put on some headphones so you’re not distracted and listen to soothing, ambient music while you spin.

The hum of the wheel. The steady rise and fall of the treadles. The whirring of the bobbin. I’d say it’s nigh unto hypnotic in a REALLY cool, safe, wonderful way.


Without further ado, here is the video… have a watch and then keep reading below.


The purpose of a wheel

So the main purpose of a wheel is to introduce twist in the wool (or other fiber) and then draw that newly made yarn onto your bobbin.

Once you finish with that, you can unwind the yarn from the bobbin onto a niddy noddy ( a funny looking wooden device for creating skeins of yarn) or an empty toilet paper roll.  Ideally you’ll want to wind the yarn into a skein if possible (the back of a chair works great) and tie a few figure-8 strands of yarn around the skein so it doesn’t get tangled and then wash it and whack it. Literally. Whack it onto a table or the wall to set the fibers. Allow to dry.


I don’t get into plying in the video, but if you want to have a multiple-ply yarn, you just create several bobbins full of single ply yarn and then sit them on a lazy kate (a device for holding bobbins) and then you just twist the single ply strands in the opposite direction that you spun them. So if you spin all of your singles clockwise, you’ll want to ply them with the wheel going counterclockwise. Again, skein, wash and whack.


Your spinning wheel has obviously, the wheel.

The pedals are called treadles.

The posts driving the treadles (behind the wheel on mine) are called footmen.

The little thing holding the yarn is called the bobbin.

The bobbin sits in the thing with the hooks, which is the flyer.

The flyer setup has an orifice, which is the hole the yarn comes through.

The flyer setup sits between the two maidens, which sit on top of the horizontal bar, called the Mother of All. That felt like it should be capitalized. Not sure why. Seemed important.

The whorl attaches to the flyer.

The driveband is the cord that drives the wheel/bobbin/whorl.

And the tension knob adjusts the tension.

Types of wheels

My wheel is a 28″ Lendrum Saxony, double treadle, cherry wood. I stained it black walnut.

It is set up so that the flyer is on the left side. This works for me, as I’m right-handed.

There are many types of wheels. You’ll want to try some out if you can at your local yarn store.

I chose the lendrum as I felt it was my dream wheel. I’ve used 2 other wheels in my  life and this one trumps them, even though one of the others was more expensive.

This spins like butter. Like cream. Like heaven. Like a dream.

There used to be a long (several year) wait time for these. I posted I wanted one in a forum on Ravelry.com and a lady contacted me 2 months later, saying she had one available.

I stained it. Sanded it. Oiled it. Sanded it. Oiled it. Sanded it. Oiled it. Waxed it.

This lil’ baby moved 4,000 miles with me to Alaska and each night, I made my brother and nephew carry in all the carefully wrapped parts, so my baby wouldn’t get cold out in the bleak, January, -40F trek through Canada.


You can use many different types of fibers. I’m using BFL; blue-faced leicester wool. It has a nice long staple length, which is great for beginner spinners.

To see my current roving offerings, you can have a click on over here and take a gander!


I hope you enjoyed this video! Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below!

What’s your favorite thing about spinning? If you haven’t tried it yet, what’s holding you back?

Have a good one!




By | 2017-09-04T14:05:09+00:00 April 17th, 2013|Hand-Spun Yarn, Inspiration, Roving and Fiber, Video Tutorials|21 Comments


  1. Cris Lamont April 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I just watched your video while on lunch at work, looks very relaxing and I can’t wait to spin my Unicorn Poo, after some practice of course. Thank you for sharing, now if I could find some sunshine and a lake to learn on 🙂

  2. Megan April 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    LOVE your video! So many helpful hints! And your surroundings are positively idyllic!!

  3. Lori J. Thorne April 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Chandi!

    Thanks so much for getting this video uploaded! You make spinning look simple and very relaxing! I plan on getting a wheel sometime in the near future and I know that I will be referring back to your video exclusively! 🙂

    Thanks again for posting the video! 🙂

    Lori J. Thorne

  4. Danielle Wiginton April 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    That is totally awesome, now I am even more excited about my spinning 101 class!

    Thanks so much Chandi for sharing

  5. Joni Black April 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Your video was fantastic. It was great to watch someone spinning. Now for me to get going with one. What;s holding me back is access to one. Have not found anywhere here where I can try some out.. Going to have to do more research but in the meantime I bought a drop spindle. Nice if you could show us how to use one of those! thanks again – love your wools..Joni

  6. Diane Dern April 18, 2013 at 4:44 am - Reply

    Been spinning since 1974 and since absolutely love it! And I still use my Ashford, which I purchased direct from New Zealand for $50. I use a Louet Traveler too.

  7. Mandy Poje April 18, 2013 at 4:47 am - Reply

    LOL you are so funny 🙂 Great video , thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Diane April 18, 2013 at 5:26 am - Reply

    You make it look so easy. It took me a while to get the hang of it, now my spinning flows. Love your yarn, it’s time to try out some of the roving. Do you ever have cotton hand dyed? Keep creating the amazing colours 🙂

  9. Amy April 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Loved this! You make this look so easy!

  10. Teresa Lowe April 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Just watched your video. Great job!! I love how excited you get talking about spinning, and knitting and crochet.

  11. Nan April 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Beautiful video – very clear demo – however, the auto captions did not work too well. This would be a beautiful and very useful video if it was captioned for those who cannot hear.

  12. Lucinda Tomaszewski April 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Tried spinning once and still have the small ball of yarn that I made. Will probably keep it forever! Never invested in a wheel as I became totally engrossed in decorative painting. Just now getting back into fiber activities. Have ordered some of your wool and silk. Love it all. Thanks again.

  13. Maggie Henry April 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Aren’t you just adorable! I need to learn this!

  14. NadineV April 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Now I must save my bucks faster to get a wheel. Very helpful as I was confused on how the feet operated each pedal. The drop spindle is ok but takes sooo. Long. Thanks for making this spinning craft look so easy.

  15. Beth April 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Chandi, I enjoyed your video demonstrating spinning on a wheel…. unfortunately, I don’t have access to one myself. I would love to learn how to use a drop spindle and I’m sure I could make one or find one to purchase. Please make a video for those of us that would like to learn that process. Your yarns are sooo beautiful, I am yearning to try spinning with some of it. Thanks!!

  16. Sharon Keller April 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much Chandi for the awesome spinning tutorial. I enjoyed it so much. This is something I have wanted to do my entire life!! I hope to be able to learn this soon. You have inspired me to look into this further and make my dream come true.

  17. You April 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Chandi, what a lovely video! That looks like an awesome place to spin yarn! You have a very soothing and encouraging voice. Please keep up the good work.

  18. carol milender April 23, 2013 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Hello Chandi! I am a beginning knitter. I bought my wheel 3 yrs ago and tried to spin. And yes, i got the bumps and all that. It frustrated me so I put the wheel outta my sight! My neighbor found out about my frustrations and tried to help. I still didn’t have any luck. So I went to youtube, watched some videos, brought my wheel back out, (5 days ago) and told my self I would sit for 20 mins at a time. I am getting the hang of it finally. I found ur website, then the video, and I must say, ur voice is very calming as well as the music. I especially liked the part about beginning and getting the bumps and not to worry about it. That is going to be my mantra! Thanks so much. Hopefully there will be a video on how to dye yarn. I love the colors you choose. Thanks again! 🙂

  19. carol milender April 23, 2013 at 1:32 am - Reply

    I meant to say I am a beginning “spinner”!

  20. Teresa stroebel November 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    i understand this wheel. Like sheep. Sharon theard.

  21. Ann Miller April 7, 2016 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Hello ! Tell Marion that I want to use my Ettrick, will it hurt my back, I have a little wool . Can I buy the video from you or can I get it any where. .
    Love Chandra’ clothes.

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