Tips for Teaching Spinning

Good reference books for new and new-ish spinners

There is something about the summer, maybe it’s because I spin out of my house more, or because of the abundance of fiber shows, but I get more brand new people asking me to teach them to spin in the summer than any other time. I bet it happens to you too. Here are some of my tips for teaching a newbie.


  1. Let your new spinner spin slowly

    Give them the ability to start and stop easily. Use the park and draft method on a spindle, and if you use a wheel make sure it’s one that is very responsive to stopping and going with just the treadles, and will spin smoothly with the drive wheel going slowly.

New spinners should feel comfortable stopping when they feel the twist is ready to draft or getting over twisty.  They really don’t want to take their hands off of their fiber except for drafting, having to nudge-start a wheel with their hand or foot is just one more thing to think about. The wheel I use most often for teaching is my Lendrum DT


Into the Whirled Shetland, color: Selene



2. Use beautiful fiber. Use fiber that makes your student light up, you know that look. Use a medium-ish wool, Corriedale, Falkland, Shetland, in a beautiful color.

Something that is friendly to uneven drafting and treadling. Even if they ask for it, I won’t start a new spinner with Merino.





Good reference books for new and new-ish spinners

3 .Give them references. New spinners will want something to refer to when you aren’t around, mentioning online classes, websites and books they can delve into will boost their confidence.

My go to new spinner book is Maggie Casey’s Start Spinning, and once they can make yarn and start asking the why and how questions I recommend my book, Yarnitecture.

Bonus things: music, a relaxing beverage, and your time, sitting quietly side by side spinning.

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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