Useful Tips

Making handmade yarn (dog wool, sheep wool)


A. Saponenko U. Saponenko

Turning wool into yarn consists of the following operations: washing, drying, combing, spinning, twisting.

Initially, the sheep’s wool must be washed, since a lot of dirt accumulates in it during the time spent by the animal on grazing and in the stable.

It is not forbidden to wash the wool after shearing, but it is better to wash the unshorn sheep with soap (in this case it will be easier to process the wool in the future). Wash the sheep with warm water in a bathtub or tub. Soaps do not spare. If the coat is very dirty, change the water several times. Finish bathing by rinsing. This procedure is carried out on a warm sunny day so that the sheep does not catch a cold. After the animal is thoroughly wiped and allowed to dry. Then proceed to the haircut. If the sheep were not bathed in front of her, the wool should be washed with laundry soap at the end of work, preferably soaked beforehand. In the washing process, water has to be changed often, so wool may “leak” along with the drained liquid. To prevent this from happening, “discard” the wool on a sieve or in a willow basket. Rinse the wool at the end, let it drain and dry.

It is necessary to dry the coat well. In summer, this is done in the sun, and in winter on a stove or steam heating batteries.


Combing is necessary so that the hair becomes homogeneous, without shreds, then the spinning will be easier and the yarn will become better, moreover, it is scratched immediately after drying, since the wool absorbs moisture well.

For combing, two baskets are used, each of which is a plank equipped with a handle and metal teeth bent towards the handle. They take wool (about a handful), evenly distribute it over the entire serrated surface of the brush and comb it while sitting, putting the basket with wool on the knee with its teeth up, moving the other brush as shown in Fig. 2. Remove the wool from the brushes as follows. The brushes are rotated so that their handles are one above the other and “comb” the wool with the upper brush from the bottom.

Spinning is the formation of a thread of wool. They do this with the help of a spindle, a self-spinning wheel with a foot drive or electric spinning wheels.

The spindle method of spinning is the most difficult to perform. And it’s good if, in addition to the spindle, the grandmother’s house also has a leg comb (for yarn). Wool is attached to the crest at the level of the head of a seated person. A spindle is taken in the right hand, they begin to rotate it clockwise between the thumb and forefinger, at the same time pinching and feeding the spindle, which at the same time will be twisted into a thread

Fig. 4. Spindle for spinning wool

Fig. 5. Spindle for twisting (twisting) threads

For convenience, it is allowed to hang the spindle on a thread with a length of 20. 30 cm. The thickness of the thread depends on the number of pinched wool - the more you pinch, the thicker the thread will be. For greater strength, the bobbin thread is let into the yarn, twisting the wool on it.

When spinning on a self-spinning wheel, the job is to uniformly feed the wool into the hole in the flyer.

Twisting (twisting) - the interweaving of several threads. This operation is performed again using a spindle or a self-spinning wheel. Moreover, the spindle is necessary special and rotate it counterclockwise, holding in his right hand, and holding the thread with his left. On a self-spinning wheel, learning is much easier to perform: they connect two threads, fasten them on a spool and "start" the self-spinning wheel to work.

First of all, cut hair should be sorted into clean (without burdock, extraneous debris and pollution), clogged and contaminated. Wool that needs to be cleaned is disassembled by removing impurities, dumps and other "non-standard" by hand.

Sheared wool from a sheep is washed in an enameled basin in warm water 30. 35 ° C (without soap, otherwise it will dry out), and washed in several waters. The wool is not rubbed, but only wrung out by hands, slowly sorting layer by layer. No detergent chemicals can be used! It is most convenient to squeeze the wool out at the final rinse in the centrifuge of the washing machine. Dry it in the room, spreading a thin layer on a cloth, tarpaulin.

Washed and dried wool is plucked and combed on a long-tooth metal comb.

It is good to comb the wool with the same basket brushes that are used in wool spinning mills to clean the rollers and drums of the carding machines. The brush is a small rectangular plaque (block) with a pen.

A rubberized fabric with wire hooks is stuffed on the board.

Electric spinning wheel assembly:

1 - "spinning" drive, 4 - starting unit, 3 - intermediate rheostat,

2 - main drive, 5 - engine

When spinning, combed wool is collected in tows and tied to a convenient stand, where it is easy to pluck the wool with the necessary portion and let it into the thread.

In the suburbs 10 years ago, it was possible to purchase electric spinning wheels in Svet stores. But these spinning wheels, to the shame of the designers, were only suitable for joining and twisting yarn, as well as for decorating store windows.

Therefore, for spinning sheep’s wool, rabbit and dog fluff, I had to invent my own electric spinning wheel, which I offer readers.

The spinning wheel consists of a base of 10 mm plywood, on which an electric motor (from a sewing machine), an intermediate and main drive, and a spinning unit (spindle with a flyer and reel) are mounted. The engine is connected to the network through a rheostat, which makes it possible to smoothly control the rotational speed of the spinning unit. Between the engine and the intermediate drive, as between the intermediate and the main drives, the rotation is transmitted by V-belts, and from the main drive to the spool and spindle by a belt of twisted linen thread. A kapron thread is also suitable, but it often breaks. The thread is pulled with a cross for spinning, and for twisting the threads - by crossing the threads in a horizontal plane. The belt is tensioned by shifting the spindle. When making spindles, flyers and coils, adhere to the dimensions indicated in fig. 2.

Sometimes dry hair does not spin well, then it needs to be combed again, slightly lubricating with oil for sewing machines. (Oil is applied with a feather.)

Before dyeing, in order to get an even shiny tone, the yarn is thoroughly washed - otherwise the dye will lie unevenly. But first, the yarn intended for dyeing is twisted into threads of the thickness that will be required for further knitting work. Then the resulting threads are wound (100 g each, no more), like a lasso, which in four to six places around the circle is not tightly tied with woolen threads.

To wash 1 kg of yarn, one piece of laundry soap is required. It is better not to use washing powder. For some reason, it changes the structure of the coat and it becomes brittle. Finely chopped or planed soap is diluted in warm water to foam. All pieces of it should dissolve. The threads are washed, slightly squeezing and mixing, but not twisting. It is not worth rubbing sharply, squeezing it out strongly and twisting it - the threads will flatten and lose their fluffiness. Water in the process of "washing" is changed several times, dissolving new portions of soap.

If the threads, even after washing, retain a grayish tint, then they are bleached before dyeing, otherwise the acquired color will not be clean, bright. For this, skeins of 20. 30 minutes are slightly boiled in a solution of baby soap, and make sure that the water completely covers the yarn. After washing and boiling, the rinses are rinsed in warm water so that the soap comes off completely. Wash and dye the threads in an enameled container.