Lately, I have had the opportunity to watch a number of videos on spinning and weaving that I have obtained from Interweave. As of right now, these are all available on their website. I thought I'd review a few of my favorites for you. Just FYI, I have no affiliation with Interweave and receive no compensation from them for doing this.
Spin Art by Jacey Boggs - I got this one as a download for a very small price, thinking it would just be a small addition to my collection. Amazingly, this has become my favorite video on spinning and weaving ever. Jacey Boggs is so clear in explaining and showing how to make "art yarns," a term she uses with some misgivings as she explains in the video. She takes her viewers step by step, showing them how to make a great singles yarn, racing stripes as she calls them, how to add beads, how to do autowrapping, thick and thin, corespinning, plied yarns, spiral yarns, supercoils, stacks or beehives, multiplied yarns, cables, and boucle. One of the major strengths of her presentation is her insistence that it is best to plan ahead. For example, if you're planning to make a singles yarn, you don't want to put as much twist in it as you do if it's going to be one ply in a two-ply yarn or almost anything else for that matter. She shows a number of swatches that she knit from different handspun yarns, which is really helpful for seeing how the finished product will look from the different techniques that she uses. She talked also about how important it is to learn to spin with the right amount of twist so that it isn't necessary to try to fix the twist later. She has some strong words about this and shows an example of how setting the twist with weights is really a bit dishonest since the yarn or project won't look the same after it has been washed. This is my go-to video when I want to see how something is done. Also, I think the camera work in this video is better than most, which really makes it easier to see what she is doing.
How I Spin by Rita Buchanan - I love to watch and listen to Rita Buchanan. She's so full of joy and loves to spin and weave and knit (and garden too) so much that her joy is contagious. I had to laugh when at one point she said that she feels a little cheated when she makes a singles because that means she doesn't have the opportunity to ply the yarn--one fewer opportunity to handle and fondle it. She even says that if she didn't spin, she'd still enjoy making puff balls. She's definitely not focused on technical terms but prefers to call yarn fat and thin. She focuses on many of the same techniques as Jacey Boggs, but she talks a lot about checking your twist as you go (and shows how to do that), and she talks about counting treadles and hand motions together using the analogy of music to show how to get consistent results.
Spinning Silk by Sara Lamb - For this one, shortly after I started watching it, I realized I had better take notes because there was so much information that I'd never remember it all if I didn't. I ended up with several pages of notes about different kinds of silk and different silk preparations and which ones she prefers and why. She showed some beautiful examples of her own woven work, which is a treat in and of itself. One thing she talked about was how she spins silk with a lot more twist than wool, but it relaxes and shrinks when it is soaked. She also talked about how to dye silk and what she has found that goes a bit contrary to common wisdom in her own experience.
With each video, I have gained a little or a lot of knowledge and a lot of inspiration. Above all, though, they have confirmed my opinion that spinners are some of the nicest people in the world. I have to wonder if that's because spinning has some amazing effect on people or because they have the patience to take up such a slow and painstaking art or a little of both. It's probably the meditative quality of spinning (and all the fiber arts for that matter) in combination with the prerequisite of patience.
Whatever the case may be, happy spinning!