Wool Spinning in Donegal

When I spun today instead of watching Scandal or something on Netflix (how is season two of Daredevil?) I watched this 30 minute film from 1978 about spinning in Donegal Ireland. Have you seen it? There’s a bit about sheep, a chunk about prepping wool and spinning on a great wheel and a bit about natural dyeing, particularly with lichen.

It is fascinating and I’m surprised how much is packed into a half an hour. I will never whine about wanting the newest, shiniest spinning tools again, these women got it all done with tools their mother’s used and just the basic tools at that.

Give it a watch and tell me what was interesting to you!

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Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

10 thoughts on “Wool Spinning in Donegal

  1. Quinn

    Thank you so much for posting this – much of interest. I’m glad spinning did not die out completely in Ireland, as the narrator anticipated.
    Watching these spinners reminded me of watching Clara Sherman spinning on a Navajo spindle. Fascinating and hypnotic!

  2. Paula

    Brilliant, can’t wait to share this! Reinforces my belief that this is a craft that must be kept alive, and spinning while I teach my 6th graders is okay!

  3. JoannaCos

    I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the treadles on my spinning wheel more than I do right now! Beautiful and fascinating video, thanks for sharing!

  4. Jeanie

    That was fascinating! Thank you so much–I was struck by the ladies washing the fleece before they had picked it, and also the way the rolag was rolled on the back of the hand carder. Among many other things!

  5. Louise

    Goodness!! I was glued to this. 1. It’s high summer and the kids are wearing shorts and sweaters. 2. The wheels! So low-tech. 3. Mrs. Carr knits like my mom. I knit English. 4. Sheep, yeah? Can’t say enough about it.

  6. Debra

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I was fascinated by the way the sheep are sheared, the carding of the wool and the hand spinning. The process is completely magical to go from sheep to sweater.

  7. Cate

    I love this! I thought regreasing the Wool was interesting, and I loved the card box box lazy Kate. But the lichen harvest…I was cringing! Different times, different places.

  8. Distant Knitter

    Thanks for this video! Most interesting! And I was happy to see that their yarn wasn’t the perfectly even I always thought I would have to achieve when spinning…
    I loved to see how their wheels worked!

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