How to Spin Semi-Woolen – a really close look

Spinning Semi-Woolen and Loving it

To spin semi-woolen is one of my favorite ways to make yarn. Its very forgiving. Any fiber that does well woolen, can be spun semi-woolen and any that can be spun worsted can be spun semi-woolen too! Its like a great catch all!

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

Woolen and Worsted are spinning terms that have nothing to do with “wool” fiber and “worsted” thickness. A worsted spun yarn is made with all the fibers held inline to the direction of spinning. A woolen spun yarn is made with all the fibers held sideways to the direction of spinning.

There is a bit more to it and it involves how fiber is prepared. I have an entire (geeky) post on the worsted versus woolen subject. This is not that post.


This is about how to spin semi-woolen. I like to take fiber that has been prepped for worsted spinning and spin it woolen style! I’m such a (geeky) rebel. The draft is easy and its easy to control. Once you get the trick of it, you can put on some speed. Semi-woolen is how I’m doing my Spinzilla 2015 spinning. While I was at it last night I decided to turn on the camera and demonstrate how to spin semi-woolen for my fellow (geeky) spinners.

If you’re an experienced spinner then you probably don’t need that video. But if you have just taken up spinning, give this method a try! As a spinning instructor I usually have a beginning spinner make their first yarn using whatever drafting method they can work out. I try not to get in the way of their experimentation and their learning. I only expect “yarn” for the first session. In the second session, I ask a spinner to try semi-woolen. It builds control. Its easier to get a high(er) twist single which in turn makes for a high(er) twist plied yarn.

Meanwhile, I’ll be like this:

Grandma's Spinning Wheel by Stephen James Ferris (1867)
Grandma’s Spinning Wheel by Stephen James Ferris (1867)

I just love that painting. I love how the Grandma is reading at her wheel. I can manage that when the spinning is easy, like when I spin semi-woolen. 🙂

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9 Comments on "How to Spin Semi-Woolen – a really close look"

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Thank you for that explanation. I’ll give it a try.


Actually, that comment above is only part of my original one. I had trouble getting my name and email address just right to post a comment. Now that I have it figured out, I’ll finish my first comment. Could you increase the volume of your video output? I have the volume up all the way on my computer and can barely hear you. I’ve noticed that some videos on YouTube are too loud and some are not loud enough.


Even though I have never taken up spinning, your spinning videos intrigue me. I always enjoy them. I have always loved that picture. Is it a coiencidence that most “yarn crafters” real or fictional are portrayed with our feline companions in the scene? Felines and fiber must somehow attract each other


That sounds fun. I may have to try it soon.


you make it look easy