I love to spin my own yarn for weaving and knitting. I like to spin textured yarn and also like to play with natural wool colours and dyed colours to create variegated yarns.
This is my very first spinning wheel. It was hand crafted from plantation pine by Ron Doley , South Australia. (One of his early models, his later ones are all made from turned wood).

If you are wondering what the 'gizmo' on the right of the flyer is, - it is a ball winder with it's own spindle, which I use to make small, firm, centre pull balls for weaving my tapestries. The winder is moved out of reach of the flyer along a slide and fastened there until needed. It is ready by replacing the flyer with the spindle and sliding the winder in, to connect to the drive belt.

The spinning wheel had a build in Lazy Kate, which I removed, because I get hung up on those things. I use a Lazy Kate on a stand. There is also a removable skein winder and the spinning wheel has a Jumbo flyer and really large bobbins for bulky wool.
I got my Ashford Joy Spinning wheel 3 years ago and took it to Melbourne when I was training with Karley (Seeing Eye Dog). Since I visited the Victorian Spinners + Weaver's Guild while I was there and discovered glorious random dyed silk top, I started spinning silk and realised the advantage of different ratio's. The Joy has a stretchy plastic drive belt and one just changes the belt from one ratio whorl to another, as needed - very easy!
I had used an Ashford Traveller for years before and liked it very much, but I never worried about using extra drive belts, to find out about the ratios. The Traveller is also not as easy to take around as the Joy.
I love taking the Joy everywhere. It is a real joy to work with this Spinning wheel.
The photo is "borrowed" from an older Ashford catalogue. The Joy wheel now comes only with double treadle, but I personally prefer the single treadle.

Apart from wool and silk I also love to spin Kid Mohair. I have a nice big stash of fleeces since I used to have my own little flock (quite a few years ago).
I prefer to spin one single of Mohair and ply it with a superfine merino single. That way I get a beautiful sooft yarn for weaving, which still shows the sheen of the mohair. Also I can leave it woven as spun, or brush it to bring out the halo, if required.
Angora-Mohair is especially nice to dye because it takes the colors easily and has a beautiful sheen when spun. For the Mohair and the Wool I use Earth Palette Dyes, made here in South Australia. They are colorfast and do not fade and are very easy to work with as they are cold water dyes.
See the Earth Pallette website

I also love to dye with natural dye stuff. I ensure that natural dyes are colorfast and not subject to fading with time. I usually dye in summer when it is hot, to the amusement of my neighbours who watch me working at my camping stove and cauldron in the garden. It is better to dye outside, where there is plenty of fresh air. Most natural dye stuff tends to have a strong smell when heated and good ventilation is necessary.


Text and Photos are copyright Vermiro, Vera L Hazelgrove 2005.
The spinning pages have been created on 01/02/2000, last updated 26/06/2006.