How to Spin on a Wheel

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Spinning on a wheel requires the same hand muscles used for hand spinning. If if you have already developed these, it should be easier when you add in the treadling movement with your foot. Before you begin spinning you might want to try some of these warm-up exercises:

These warm-ups and stretches transfer blood and warmth to the muscles and tendons, which makes them more flexible:

  1. Spread your fingers wide apart.

  2. Starting with the little finger, roll them down to your palm. Do not forget to roll in the thumb.

  3. Repeat ten times.

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  4. Put your fingers together.

  5. Slowly roll your fingers toward the palm. Make a fist.

  6. Slowly continue rolling toward the inside of your wrist.

  7. Repeat ten times.

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Use this stretch to keep the kinks out of your shoulder and neck, as well as to relieve tension in your arms and hands. You need a skein of yarn to perform this stretch.

  1. Take a skein of yarn and hold it over your shoulder with one hand.

  2. Reach behind your back with the other hand and catch the end of the skein.

  3. Give a good, steady pull with both hands.

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  4. Reverse your hands and repeat.

Use this stretch to help relieve tension or pressure in your wrist.

  1. Stand next to a wall with your body parallel to the wall. Raise your arm from your side to shoulder height and extend your arm to reach the wall.

  2. Place the flat of your palm against the wall, fingers pointing toward the floor.

  3. From your fingertips to your palm, gently press down until you have as much contact with the wall as you can.

  4. Slowly turn your head away from the wall until you feel pressure. Count to 60. Release.

  5. Reverse sides and repeat.

To begin spinning, you need a wheel, an empty bobbin, 20 inches of two-ply yarn, an orifice hook, and 1⁄2 pound of curded roving. Corriedale or a similar type of fleece is a good choice:

  1. Lay the leader over the fiber in your fiber hand. With your spinning hand, start the wheel to the right, and push down on the treadle.

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  2. Pinch the leader and the fiber with the fingers of your spinning hand and pull about 3 inches forward.

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    Try not to let the twist get into the fiber before you have stretched out the amount that you want.

  3. Slide your fingers back to the hand that is holding the fiber. Let the twist from the leader string transfer to the fiber.

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  4. Continue with the pinch-pull-and-slide rhythm. You should now be pulling out the fiber by itself, stretching it out, and guiding the twist back to the fiber hand. Remember to relax the fiber hand slightly so the fiber can be pulled out smoothly.

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    When you run out of fiber, add another piece of roving; use the same method that you used when you transferred the twist from the leader to the fiber. Lay a length of your spun yarn over the fiber and pull a bit of the fiber and the yarn out together. Allow the twist from the yarn to transfer to the fiber.

    Now you are spinning!


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