The photos are of some softly spun spiral plied yarn that bloomed by 40%, the cardboard bobbins show fine tightly spun 3 ply that bloomed by 7.5%


So what is blooming? When you have spun your hand spun yarn, it needs finishing (washing, thwacking or steaming ). The fibre fluff up and the yarn becomes thicker and shorter. This effect is rarely mentioned in books though Ann Field takes it into account to some extent when describing spinning to the crimp “Spinning wool : beyond the basics”. 2010

I am really interested in seeing if we can predict blooming so reduce the trial and error in spinning. I am looking for people to help to understand more.

The following factors seem to affect blooming 

  • Crimp and bounce in the fibre 
  • How fibre is prepared – carded or combed
  • Spinning technique Woollen vs worsted 
  • Amount of twist  
  • Number of plies
  • How it is finished
  • Possibly other factors I haven’t thought of

What can you do to help? 

No need to spin anything specially, just take some measurements on your current spin

  • Measure the wraps of your yarn when you take it off the wheel and 
  • Measure the wraps of your yarn after washing.
  • If it doesn’t bloom at all I am still interested  

the following would be useful if you have time 

  • What the fibre is, 
  • How it is prepared 
  • How you have spun it,  short draw, long draw etc,  
  • How much twist it has – soft, medium, firm (or the twists per inch/cm or twist angle – if you measure these – or your draft length and wheel setting 
  • Take photograph of the skein and the wraps 

If you are really keen, I am also interested in how much the skeins shrink in length on washing.

If you can measure its length and weight before washing and after washing that would be brilliant

To measure a skein – count the number of times round niddy-noddy and measure length of the skein x 2

The results will be fascinating.

If you would like to know more, talk it through or have any comments please contact me

Cath on (+44) 7850 716602


1 thought on “Blooming”

  1. Hi Cath. Hope this gets to you. I have a new tablet and don’t really know what I am doing 😂. I have attached 6 photos but not sure if they will all get to you, we will see 🤞Pen xxxSample 1. Thick yarn spinning from study group Weds 20th May 2020Fibre – 50% Jacob / 50% Castlemilk MooritSingle = 10 WPI2 ply unwashed 7 WPI2 ply washed 6 WPISpin ratio 1:6Single 2 twists per inchUnwashed yarn length = 910 inchesWashed yarn length 756 inchesSample 2100% merino topSingle 30WPI  – Spin ratio 1: 12.5Ply unwashed 20WPI – ply ratio 1:6.5Ply washed 16 WPIUnwashed length 4,422 inchesWashed length 4,288 inchesSent from Samsung tablet.


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