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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthess

Handspun Garden Twine

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

With Spring in the air, it's time for some hand-spun garden twine. Swaledale fleeces are what I use for this type of project. Swaledale has some incredibly long staples, usually around 12". I spin for this type of project straight from the fleece without previous carding or combing. The fleece needs to be fairly matt-free in order to achieve that and most fleeces have some matted areas, so obviously it's not going to work on every last little bit of the wool, but for the most part, straight from the fleece works best for me.

The fibres are sometimes more like hair than wool. It's fairly roughly spun up. And then I ply it 3 times for strength, and also to give the require thickness and evenness.

I don't own a jumbo flyer. I ought to I know but I don't. Yet my Kromski Symphony just wasn't up to this type of spinning. So what I have done is adapted the flyer with these B&Q L-shaped hooks. I unscrewed the original finer hooks, and replaced with these from the local hardware shop. However, a word of caution, if the new hook is thicker in diameter than the one you took out, PREDRILL the hole first. You certainly won't want that fatter hook splitting out your precious flyer.

These new hooks are a treat. The wool never snags up on them, and slips in easily and quickly. I also use them for finer wool with no problem. Another word of caution on this, I had originally intended to only change one side of the flyer and keep the finer hooks on the other side. But I quickly realised that wasn't possible because it was now unevenly balanced and it shuddered and jumped in it's sockets as I treadled, so I had to replace both sides and now it's fine. 

So here we are, and these are just a few of the colours. I dyed these in a rather unceremonious manner with Kemtex dye. It's really tough yarn as thick as my little finger, and weaves a good rug too.

Necessity was the Mother of invention one day whilst out in the garden tying up the plants, I tangled the thread and dropped the ball in the mud. So here we are in a nice clip top jar which keeps out the moths, allows me to leave it sitting in the garage all winter, keeps it all in order and I pull each ball from the middle.

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