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Review: A Collection of Spinning Videos

When Interweave Press had a sale a couple months ago, I splurged and bought some spinning DVDs I’d had my eye on, and thought I’d share my thoughts on them.

First, the facts:

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Title: Spinning for Lace: Tried and True Methods for Spinning Fine Yarns from Merino and More

Starring: Margaret Stove

Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

DVDs: One DVD, 85 minutes

Type: Spinning DVD


  • Introduction
  • Working with merino: handling and washing raw fleece
  • Spinning for fineness and elasticity
  • Plying merino alone and with other fibers
  • A side-note on wheel adjustment
  • Notes on some favorite projects
  • The In-Depth Look:
    This is a gem of a DVD, full of techniques I’d never heard of before. People who have been lucky enough to take a class from Margaret Stove come back with stories like Marco Polo returned with, full of wonder and magic. Seeing this video, I understand why. This is a totally unique and extremely informative.

    Blurb from the box:

    “Do you long to spin cobweb-fine threads that are both lively and durable? Margaret Stove is the expert. Her methods might seem counterintuitive, but they work! Beginning with a fine, crimpy fiber such as Merino wool, Margaret sorts, washes, spins, plies, and finishes wool and blended yarn for lace knitting that has won international acclaim. A great advocate of the fine Merinos in her native New Zealand, Margaret is also fearless in creating plied blends using silk, angora, qiviut, and more.”


    Title: How I Spin: A common-sense approach to great productivity and creative joy

    Starring: Rita Buchanan

    Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

    DVDs: Set of 2. First DVD 65 minutes; Second DVD 90 minutes

    Type: Spinning DVD


  • Why I Spin
  • Drafting
  • Super Fat to Super Fine
  • Measuring and Keeping Track
  • Twist
  • Sampling Different Fibers
  • No Twist, Too Much Twist–How it Affects Knitting
  • Why I Don’t Count Twists per Inch
  • A Multi-task Approach to Cotton Spinning

  • How I Ply Balanced Yarns
  • Skeining and Washing
  • Washing Fleece
  • Dyeing Fleece
  • Fixing Twist
  • Preparing Fiber–flicking, combing, carding
  • More Resources
  • The In-Depth Look:
    I really enjoyed this set. Her delivery, her mannerisms, and most of all her passion for spinning shine through. I thought that I loved yarn and spinning, but there is simply no comparison! Rita Buchanan lives and breathes spinning and she’s a delight. I loved these DVDs, if only to remind me what real passion looks like … and what a few small changes can do to make my spinning completely different.

    Blurb on the box:

    “What can you learn from someone who spins all day, every day (except during gardening season), and who produces her own handspun shirts, sweaters, blankets, rugs, table linens, bath towels, aprons, even gardening shorts? Short answer: A lot! Rita Buchanan has spent more thoughtful time preparing fiber, spinning yarn, and making fabrics from her handspun than perhaps anyone in the developed world. This is not just mindless handwork; Rita has a keen analytical mind that she applies consistently to testing, sampling, and record keeping, and she balances this against her pure joy in the process. The result is a body of knowledge and practice that sometimes defies convention, and always instructs and engages.”


    Title: In Praise of Simple Cloth: spinning for a purpose

    Starring: Rita Buchanan

    Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

    DVDs: Set of 2. First DVD 60 minutes; Second DVD 60 minutes

    Type: Spinning DVD

    DISC ONE: Exploring Possibilities

  • Weft-faced rugs
  • Hooking
  • More rugs
  • Warp from the wheel, weft from the garden
  • Everyday cloth for kitchen, bed, and bath
  • More everyday cloth, combining fibers
  • DISC TWO: Wearing Handspun Everyday

  • Weaving with knitting yarns: Why Not?
  • Knitting with handspun: small projects
  • The satisfaction of knitting samples
  • Knitted sweaters
  • The In-Depth Look:
    I’ll confess that I didn’t get as much out of this as Rita’s “How I Spin,” but that might primarily be because I don’t spin, or hook rugs … or just aren’t as outright adventurous and explorative as she is. These discs embrace all the wonderful things you could possibly do with your handspun yarn–not as a how-to, not as a series of patterns, but as inspiration to get you thinking about possibilities. While I loved seeing her show things she’s made and her enthusiasm is infectious, but it didn’t was too warm-and-fuzzy, isn’t-this-wonderful for me, when I was hoping for more technique.

    (Blurb from the box–the opening paragraph is exactly the same as the prior set.)

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