Sheep breeds and wool types: An introduction (6 hours)

Are you tired of spinning the same old Merino and BFL? Are you intrigued by sheep breeds you've heard about, but never spun? Do you wonder about the best uses for the wool of particular breeds or types of sheep? 

In this class, I'll introduce you to each of the major types of sheep and the wool they produce. Then you'll prepare and spin one or two representative fleece samples from each type. In each case, I'll talk about the qualities of the breed and of the particular fleece we're spinning. I'll encourage you to experiment with different methods of preparing the wool (carding, combing, flicking) and to make lots of samples.

If you've only spun commercially-prepared fiber thus far, no worries! I'll be demonstrating how to use different prep tools as we go along, and I'll also offer tips on how to make your samples and keep them organized. 

You'll leave the class with a solid grasp of the different types of wool and their uses, lists of easy-to-find breeds of each type, and hands-on experience with some amazing wools!

From raw fleece to finished yarn (6 hours)

Are you in search of a spinning adventure? Do you want to feel more closely connected to the animals that grow the wool you spin? Are you a little bit bored with the predictability of spinning commercially-prepared fibers? Are you curious about buying and spinning fleeces, but have no idea how to select a good one? Or do you have a good one, but need help with the next steps—the washing, preparing, and actual spinning?

This class will teach you how to evaluate a fleece and choose one that suits your spinning style and desired yarn. Then, using samples from several different breeds, you'll learn exactly how to "scour" (wash) raw wool—without felting it! Next, you'll learn about different methods of preparing wool—hand-carding, drum carding, combing, and flicking—as well as how to match a preparation method with a particular fleece. You'll have the opportunity to sample lots of different tools. Finally, you'll spin some of the fiber you've prepared in order to learn about how prep impacts your yarn. 

You'll leave this class with the knowledge—and the confidence—to buy, scour, prepare, and spin your first fleece!

From woolen to worsted (6 hours)

Do you feel stuck in a spinning rut, making the same yarn, the same way, over and over? Do you wish you had more control over the yarns you make? Do you want to spin yarn for a particular purpose, but don't know how to adjust your spinning to ensure that your handspun will make the fabric you envision? 

This class is an introduction to the two broad methods of spinning: woolen and worsted. We'll start by exploring how woolen and worsted yarns behave by looking at lots of samples and swatches. We'll talk about when one might opt for a woolen yarn and when a worsted yarn might be the better choice. Then, in the hands-on portion of the class, you'll learn: 

  • the specific drafting methods associated with woolen and worsted yarns
  • the crucial role fiber preparation plays in producing each type, using both commercially-prepared wool and clean fleece
  • how to best to wash each type of yarn

Finally, you'll begin to experiment with yarns that fall between the woolen and worsted ends of the spectrum. 

You'll leave this class with both a more precise vocabulary to describe different yarns and the practical know-how to make the yarns you envision.