Sorta OT - Q for spinners

I was just curious about this and I can’t find the answer anywhere - what is the ratio of raw fiber to yarn? I’m sure it varies greatly depending on the thickness of yarn you spin and whatnot, but does 1lb of fiber equal 1lb of spun out yarn, or is there some waste?

i asked this same question and was told that it was impossible to answer! but she did tell me that 4oz of roving will make a pari of socks :shock: if that helps any. but you can spin it thin or thick. but then if you want slobs thats a whole different story! 1lb of roving is a lot!

Do you mean unwashed, unprocessed wool? I’ve been told that a fleece will lose about half its weight after washing. Of course that will vary depending on the amount of lanolin, VM and dirt in it.

If you’re talking about unspun (but clean) roving, there should be very little waste.

I’ve been told that 2 lb. of roving is a good rule of thumb for a man’s sweater.


I’m talking about roving, not raw fleece. I was looking at prices for roving and trying to make some comparisons to prices of yarn, but I didn’t know weight-wise what the equivalent might be.

I had someone offer me a free and almost brand new, but potentially broken, spinning wheel. (She said it looks fine but “just doesn’t work right”) I’m trying to decide if I should take it, get it repaired and learn to spin. But first I wanted to know if spinning my own yarn would end up being even more expensive than buying it.

i don’t think spinning your own yarn will be more expensive… maybe someone else will know more.

Spinning your own yarn is addictive. You will have lots of roving, fiber, raw fleece and yarn, and still want to buy more… just like you do with yarn. Trust me. :smiley:

If you’re buying ready to spin roving, it’s not necessarially cheaper than buying yarn, but not really more expensive either. However, if you want to wash, card, spin and dye your own yarn from raw fleece (read: picking out sheep poo, grass, hay, dealing with the smell, washing the grease out of it and spending hours flicking and carding it) it is generally cheaper than buying yarn… way cheaper for the quality of yarn you can end up with.
But it’s a lot of work. I spin just to spin, not to save money, and certainly not time.

Oh, and never say no to a free spinning wheel. A good wheel is EXPENSIVE. If that one is decent, and you can get it fixed for even up to $200, it’s a steal. And even if it can’t be fixed, you’ll have a wonderful display piece for a knitter’s home.

Spinning your own yarn can be cheaper. Sometimes retail roving is very pretty, but very pricey. I’m always amazed at the prices some people pay, but the colorways are beautiful. Also, if you want a blend of fibers already prepared into roving, the cost goes up.

Two ways I’m trying to overcome the costs: One, I’m in a yarn co-op group on yahoo groups and we just did a co-op for Henry’s Attic. I’m getting 5lb. of undyed superwash roving for $9.50 a pound. Really cheap. HA also sells regular wool roving and merino. We’ll be doing more co-ops for HA.

The other is to buy fleece from a local farm - but that means I’ll have to clean it and then dye it if I want color. Cleaning is a job, but I’m looking forward to it. I may or may not dye it, and I may or may not card it. It was $6/lb, so I guess after cleaning, it’ll end up at a cost of about $12/lb.

A free spinning wheel? I’d say go for it, especially if you have someone/somewhere that can fix it. If you get it fixed, try spinning and don’t like it, the wheel should sell well. Do you know what kind it is? Wheels are expensive.


I don’t know anything about the wheel…I am a total spinning virgin and I didn’t even really know what to ask her when she brought it up. I have been researching and she is supposed to give me a call sometime this week, so hopefully I will have more info soon.