Guest Post: Spinning Art Yarn with Jill Nickolene Sanders

On today’s guest post with Jill Nickolene Sanders of Saori Santa Cruz, you’ll learn how you can turn your scotch tension S95 Victoria wheel into a Irish tension wheel using the Victoria Art Yarn Head This makes it easy to spin both art yarns and bulky-weight yarns on your Victoria.


I get a lot of emails from my Etsy shop asking about the conversion of the Victoria scotch tension wheel into new art head Irish tension wheel. The instructions that come with the head are very clear and easy to follow, but here is a sequential photo showing how I switch over my Victoria to give folks a better understanding:

How to switch your Louet S95 Victoria Wheel over to Irish Tension using the Art Yarn Head for Victoria.

The wonderful design of the Victoria Art yarn head allows for easy and quick removal so that your Victoria wheel is still very portable – plus, there are no holes to drill to mar your wheel! At first, you will need to oil the flyer rod often to break it in; after a few weeks, you can oil it less frequently. The lazy kate that comes with the Victoria wheel will not fit the Irish tension bobbins, as they are too thick. I use my Louet tensioned lazy kate, which I absolutely love because I can use if with all of my Louet wheels!

Another plus is that any of the Louet Irish Tension wheel accessories such as flyers, bobbins, and lace high speed bobbins will also work on the Victoria Art yarn head. While some will only use the the art yarn flyer and bulky bobbins to ply their yarns from scotch tension spinning, others will embrace the freedom to create new and exciting yarns with it. I have included a few “get your feet wet “ art yarn ideas for beginners using my Louet Victoria art yarn flyer.

One of my favorite projects uses Louet’s Northern Lights wool top with Louet’s 8/2 organic cotton as a ply. Of course you can use any roving and thread or finer crochet cottons, but the the Northern Lights is so much fun and easy to use!

First, spin a single from the entire roving with a Z-twist; you will be spinning it “as-is” from the bag, no need to predraft or split the roving vertically before you spin. Then, put your 8/2 cotton cone or spool of black thread onto your lazy kate and ply it with the Northern Lights singles with an S-twist. That’s all there is to it!

Combine singles of Northern Lights with cotton yarn or thread to create a colorful art yarn!

To spin elastic art yarns, buy a tube or spool of elastic sewing thread. Spin a bobbin of singles from your chosen fiber. You will then use the elastic thread to ply with your singles; I tension the elastic so that when the yarn is taken off of the bobbin, it relaxes into a lovely, textured skein! You can use this to knit, weave or crochet – the resulting yarn has great recovery and will not stretch out.

Here is one more fun idea to try which uses hand carders or a drum carder: first, cut up snips of yarns into 1” pieces – this is great for those eyelash or other novelty yarns you do not know what to do with that have been lurking in your stash! Sprinkle onto your prepared fiber or batt – it’s not necessary to card them in, though you can try that if you so desire. I prefer to fold over my batt and spin it like a burrito – I use it to spin a bobbin full of singles which I then ply with a fun metallic or solid-colored yarn.

There are so many interesting techniques for spinning art yarns – YouTube, books, and workshops can assist you, or you can get creative and dream up your own techniques! Below are a few more yarns that I have spun using my Victoria Art Yarn Head to inspire you.

Coiled Yarn:
Coiled Yarn Spun with the Victoria Art Yarn Head.
Lovely Locks:
Art Yarn Spun with Locks on the Louet Victoria Art Yarn Head.
Lumpy bumpy singles plied with metallic threads:
Lumpy bumpy singles plied with metallic thread with the Louet Victoria Art Yarn Head.

Now you have the best of both worlds: a portable 6-pound scotch tension wheel and a quick conversion head to turn it into a portable Irish tension wheel capable of spinning art yarns, bulky weight yarns and other creative project whenever you want!

Jill’s studio is located in the Californa redwoods, where she teaches and stocks fibers, yarns, weaving equipment and the fantastic Louet spinning wheels. You can find her on Ravelry as Nickolena and on Instagram as saorisantacruz. Her Etsy shop is saorisantacruz, and you can read her blog here.