The Spinning Process

Yarn for this project was spun on 19th and 20th century machinery at Coldharbour Mill, a working wool museum in Devon. This was a lengthy process undergone over four weeks at Coldharbour Mill, after careful planning of colour combinations and quantities of wool needed.


Firstly, different colours were blended together through the Gill Box, where up to ten different wool tops can be blended together. Colours were also blended together at later stages of the spinning process. With 16 different colour combinations to blend and with wool that was not necessarily compatible with the machinery, this stage alone took a whole week.


Next, the wool was put through the first stage of spinning - the Draw Box - where it was stretched to 8 times its original length and lightly twisted to give it strength. This was then put through a further 3 machines, each one stretching the wool by 7 times and lightly twisting. This was a lengthy process, with the final stage alone taking 2 days to complete. Once the wool had undergone all stages of spinning, it was plied together. Here it can be plied either 2-fold, 3-fold or 4-fold in order to produce 3-ply, 4-ply or DK yarn. After 4 weeks, the yarn could then be wound off into hanks or onto cones for knitting.


See video of the whole process at the bottom of this page.

©  2019 by Heather Firby