Thinking about learning to spin wool? It’s a rewarding hobby that has endless creative potential, I really enjoy spinning! As neat as spinning wool is, it’s not free, how much does it cost to spin wool?
It will cost $3.5-5 for two ounces of wool to spin a two ounce skein of yarn. This does not include the cost of the wheel, additional materials like dye or other fiber add ins, or your time.
There are tons of different wools to spin and other fibers, too, you can have a pretty bit range of options and costs to spin wool.
We’ll go over the basics to give you an idea of what you need to get started.
The Best Roving For Handspinning gives you tips on picking out the wool that will work best for your skill level and your project.
Cost to spin wool is $3.50-5.00 per 2 ounce skein
The cost to spin wool is based on the price you pay for your materials, any other work you do to the wool, like dyeing and the cost of your wheel.
You can also count your time and should if you are considering this as a possible side business, but I am figuring you are just looking to supply your own yarn for knitting or crochet, so it’s not really about time.
Cost of wool
The cost of wool will range quite wildly, depending upon what you are buying, so we’ll use a nice commonly spun wool like Merino as our base wool.
You can buy Merino roving or top for $28 per pound for 21.5 micron undyed top.
This is a great price and if you are happy with white, it’s a super buy at $1.75 per ounce or $3.50 for a 2 ounce skein and, of course, double that to $7.00 for a 4 ounce skein.
Merino is available in smaller amounts and more unusual colors that will cost more, but we’ll go with your basic Merino to start.
Another great option for spinning fiber is Corriedale, which is actually the easiest wool to start with if you are a beginner!
Corriedale is a bit more per ounce, $19 for 8.8 ounces, but is worth it for ease of spinning. This works out to $2.16 per ounce or $4.32 for the wool needed to make a 2 ounce skein.
Also, you may want to add other fibers into your wool, like synthetic fibers for sparkle or non wool fibers like bamboo or silk, depending upon what you think will work well together.
I have been buying a variety of combed top of different breeds from Etsy shops and my costs are more in the $5-10 per 4 ounces range, which would make two small skeins or one larger skein.
This is for more unusual breeds that I want to try out spinning and some interesting blends that I decided to try.
The most expensive thing I have purchased so far is hand dyed Rambouillet top that was $16.
At $16 per 4 ounces, the wool cost to spin with this top is $8 per smaller skein or the full $16 for a 4 ounce skein.
7 Places To Get Wool For Handspinning gives you some ideas on where you can source your fiber.
If you choose, you can really up the wool costs in for your spinning to get the more unusual fibers or colors.
We’ll keep the costs on the low side with using straight Merino, just know that you have other options, if you choose to get a bit more creative.
Cost of spinning wheel
If you already have a spinning wheel, you can skip on to the next section, but for anyone who has yet to buy a wheel, plan to spend anywhere from $450-950 depending upon what you want and need.
We’ll go with an average of $700 for your spinning wheel.
For me, the best way to figure out the cost of a wheel is to look at it like a car payment, where the cost of the wheel is divided up over 48 months rather than the first skein of yarn costing you over $700!
$700 paid over 48 months is $14.58 per month, so “charge” yourself $14.58 per month as a fee or just suck up the initial $700 cost, however you want to handle it.
Cost of preparation of the wool
You can, of course, happily spin white wool or naturally colored fleeces and never have to put in more money for dye or other fibers, like sparkle or silk.
If you are going to do anything to the wool other than spin it, you’ll have to add that in to the cost, as well.
Get started spinning for $728
When you add up the costs, so far, you can easily get started spinning your own yarn for $728 plus any additional wool you would need to buy.
If you consider each skein to be 2 ounces, 2-4 ounces is common but yours could be any weight/length you decide, you’ll have $3.50-7.00 in the wool for this yarn.
$28 per pound/16 ounces=$1.75go/ounce x 2=$3.50 or x 4 ounces (for bigger skein)=$7.00
For me and my “cool wool” combed top purchases, I would have between $2.50-5 in the yarn for breed specific wool and $8 of wool in the yarn when I spin the dyed Rambouillet for a 2 ounce finished yarn.
Cost to have a fleece processed at a fiber mill
Another wool option you may be considering is having an entire fleece processed at a fiber mill for you.
That will cost you about $20 per pound of finished roving or combed top, which is $1.25 per ounce and $2.50-5.00 per skein of yarn in processing costs only.
The reason the final price ends up at $20 per pound is that the wool loses quite a bit of weight in lanolin and I based the cost per pound of finished wool, not the pounds you send in, which is on the price sheet.
Of course, your actual processing costs will really depend on the condition of the fleece you send to be processed, what you want done and how much wool you are processing, but $20 is a good place to start.
If you purchased the fleece, you’ll have to add in that cost, as well.
For example, if you buy a fleece for $100 and you get back 4 pounds of processed wool, your ready to spin wool will cost you $45 per pound, which is $2.81 per ounce or $5.62-11.24 in wool costs per skein.
$20 for processing + $25 for fleece=$45 per pound/16=$2.81 per ounce x 2=$5.62 or x 4=$11.24/skein
Near zero discards when spinning with combed top
Something that most new spinners may not think of is the amount of wool you buy compared to the amount of spinnable fiber you have to use.
If you buy combed top, these two numbers will be nearly the same, I get little to no wasted bits when I spin with combed top that I purchased.
This means that if I bought 4 ounces of Corriedale combed top, I will end up with just shy of 4 ounces of yarn. I’m sure I’ll have a few mess ups that I toss away, but the vast majority of the fiber is in the yarn.
This was a big deal to me, up until now nearly all of my spinning has been raw or with washed but not processed fleeces, meaning I have a lot of discards on the floor as I work through the fleece.
I was shocked at how little, really nearly zero, mess I generated on the floor as I spun the combed top I purchased. Nice and tidy!
If you prep your own wool or work from a raw fleece (spin in the grease) you will have a noticeable amount of waste generated in spinning.
Little bits of short fibers or noils (tangles) that get pulled out and since it is our wool from our sheep, there’s usually some VM (vegetable matter).
Is it cheaper to spin your own wool?
So, is it cheaper to spin your own wool after all? Yes it is, even if you are buying the common types of yarn, just a nice 100% wool of a fairly common breed, you’ll be saving money.
The savings will be especially noticeable if you are buying the really neat yarns that are made with the more unusual fibers.
Of course this will up your fiber cost, but you’ll still be money ahead compared to buying the finished yarn spun by someone else.
Can you sell your spun yarn?
Sure you can sell your work, once you have the practice time in so that you are making a consistent yarn.
Tons of fiber artists have their yarn creations up for sale, both online and in person at shows.
Check out all of the fiber artists on Etsy, there is a huge interest in handspun yarns and handmade batts or roving.
You’ll have to do the math to see if this is right for you, but it is an option.
How To Get Started With Spinning is an article with quite a few embedded tutorial videos from The Woolery that are perfect for beginners.