Learning to Spin: Turning Wool into Yarn

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth
Funds awarded in 2010: $393.90
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Nelson Morlock
Seven Story Farm


  • Animals: sheep


  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop, youth education

    Proposal abstract:

    My mom is a farmer. We have grass–fed sheep and direct market the meat. We compost the wool or give it away to the shearer. I want to utilize the wool by spinning it into yarn. I already know how to knit so I could sell it and use it for my own projects. One summer we hosted an arts and agriculture camp on our farm. A local spinner demonstrated spinning. I tried it and enjoyed it. I would like to learn how to spin and teach others.

    I am living on my great-grandparents’ 67–acre farm. My great–grandpa was a dairy farmer and my great–grandma was a farm wife. They knew how to do many things. For example, my great–grandma was a knitter and a weaver. However, my mom did not learn many of those skills when she was a child. I do lots of farm work but I like craft projects better than weeding the garden or feeding the animals. We do not have television reception or internet access at home. These technologies take time away from doing things as a family. Learning to spin is something fun and useful my mom and I could do together.

    Our family lives in Belle Plaine Township which is located in a county close to Minneapolis. Most of my classmates and friends live in new housing developments or in town. I would like to show them the process of making yarn, of being able to do it yourself rather than buying it.

    We will host a farm field day in the fall and invite elementary school children from Jordan. First, we will show them the sheep rotationally grazing in the paddocks. My mom will talk about the benefits of raising ruminants on grass. As an introduction, we will read the book, Pelle’s New Suit, because it shows that young kids can do important jobs. Next, we will show them the fleece and how to prepare it for spinning. Using the hand carders, we will demonstrate carding and allow them to try it. They will also try the drop spindle after we show them how to use it. Finally, the wool will be spun into yarn on the spinning wheel. They will see the finished product along with all the other dyed yarn samples we made.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.