Jenny Brandis' Handcrafts

Singles Spinning

 This gives a light airy yarn that uses less wool and less time, both of which are proving to be in demand more and more.

Singles gives a serviceable, light and airy yarn with less wool and less time involved than the traditional plied spinning. Most commercial novelty yarns uses singles as a base. It is very useful in the many forms of weaving, especially off loom, circular and dimensional weaving.

Spinning singles is quite easy for the loose spinner; if you are a tight spinner it will take longer to master, but master it you will.

The choice of fleece is important as the wool should be long and opened textured. Cross bred is most suitable for this. Merino can also be used but it is not recommended that you learn on it.


Attack your spinning wheel by adjusting your tensions. Tighten the tension that pulls the yarn it. The idea is to put less twist into the yarn (hence the quicker the yarn leaves your hand the less twist it has) and more air is in it. You may like to loosen the wheel tension at the same time if you have a castle or upright wheel.

To wash the wool before spinning is a personal choice.

Take a staple and flick your wool until light and airy - a comb is not good enough as a flicker adds the essential air. Prepare enough wool this way so that you can sit and practice without having to stop to prepare more wool. I suggest filling a 'banana' box with prepared wool.

Using an anti-clockwise twist, that is correct, an anti-clockwise twist take the wool from the side of the staple in a medium to long draw. To define that, your hand should come as far back as your hip or further. Hold the wool lightly and draft smoothly back while releasing the wool, then forward quickly to put the lightly spun yarn onto the bobbin without adding more twist.

That really is the secret to singles, brushed in air, a long draw and rapid return to the bobbin.

Practice this until you can produce a light and airy yarn that is consistent in thickness. Remember that as air is added you will need to allow less wool for the desired 'ply'.

Leave the yarn on the bobbin for a minimum of 24 hours to set the twist and then wash, dye etc.

To the seasoned spinners eye the yarn will look underspun.

When singles is knitted it should look the same as plied yet be so much lighter. If you find that the vertical tram lines pull to one side then there is too much twist, take heart as a wash will often cure that.



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