Spinning merino - no sweat!

I spun merino! On a drop spindle! And it wasn't even that bad.

Purple blue pink self striping noro handspun yarn

Okay, I'll back up so the non-spinners can understand. Different breeds of sheep can produce drastically different kinds of wool. Merino wool is a very fine wool, very soft (for some wool-sensitive people, it's the only kind of wool they can bear), and very short staple length - that means the individual hairs are very short.
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As a spinner, I had long regarded merino as something I'd spin "someday". Like, "someday" I'll knit a laceweight bedspread. "Someday" I'll knit an aran sweater. Something to do when I'm more experienced and better at spinning.

But the lovely, lovely wool tempted me, and I bought a merino sampler set from Alchemyfibrearts - small amounts of merino wool, about 2 oz in total, in a bunch of different shades of pink, blue, and purple. Lovely stuff. They've got lots of other sets of pinks and blues in their shop if you'd like to check it out.

Drop spindle with purple handspun merino wool roving

I tried spinning it on my 1-ounce spindle, and lo and behold, it wasn't that bad. I did notice that as my spindle was getting fuller, it got more difficult to spin and started breaking more often. So, I ended up with two skeins: 155 yards and 86 yards, making 241 yards total of sport weight yarn.

But really, I didn't find spinning merino wool particularly difficult. Easier than suri alpaca, certainly. Easier than silk. More difficult than a wool with a longer staple, sure, but not frustrating at all. Especially since it's so soft, it just feels really nice in your hands. That's a big pleasure in spinning for me - the texture.

Purple wool handspun spindle yarn
'Passion for Purple'

I spun it up with long, random stripes, which should turn out really cool when it's knit (or crocheted) up. Sort of like Noro yarn. There's 7 different colors that make up the skeins - mostly shades of purple, with royal blue and fuschia-magenta-pinkish.



  1. It looks beautiful! I'm glad you found success in something new:) My weaving professor used to talk about some woman she knew that spun her cat's hair. Thought about that? LOL.

  2. That's so pretty! Congrats it looks good.

    Nancy-I just saw a video about a woman who spun cat hair and then knit with it. You can view the video here:

  3. Beautiful!! I give you credit for using a drop spindle. Merino is definitely one of my favorites to spin.