Build passion for weaving and spinning!

In this video workshop, he teaches a new generation of spinners. Watch as Norman discusses and demonstrates

  • how (and why) to oil wool for carding;
  • how to use hand cards to prepare batts & rolls;
  • dressing a distaff and spinning from it;
  • creating Shetland-style lace yarn;
  • spinning with a spindle, great wheel, treadle wheel, and electric spinner.

Listen as Norman tells stories of how people supported themselves spinning, weaving, and knitting, and drops fascinating tidbits about the history of spinning and weaving. The workshop ends with a communal waulking of woven blankets, right down to the singing of traditional Gaelic waulking songs.

Meet Norman Kennedy

Norman Kennedy

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Norman Kennedy has traveled around the world in pursuit of traditional knowledge of fiber arts. He served as Master Weaver at Colonial Williamsburg and founded the Marshfield School of Weaving. An accomplished singer, he performed at the landmark 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The National Endowment for the Arts recognized Norman’s remarkable preservation of folk tradition, naming him a National Heritage Fellow in 2003. He lives in Vermont.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Course Overview

    • What You'll Learn

    • Video: Introduction

    • More Information about Norman Kennedy

    • Video: Spinning with Purpose

    • Technical Support

  • 2

    Sorting, Washing, Picking (and Sometimes Oiling)

    • Video Lesson: Sorting & Washing

    • Sorting & Washing a Fleece

    • Video Lesson: Cleaning & Picking Wool

    • Picking Wool

  • 3

    Batts & Rolls

    • Video Lesson: Carding Batts

    • Carding a Batt & Dressing a Distaff

    • Video Lesson: Carding Rolls

  • 4

    Wheels and Techniques

    • Video Lesson: The Treadle Wheel

    • Video Lesson: Spinning for Lace

    • Video Lesson: The Great Wheel

    • Video Lesson: Using an Electric Spinner

    • Video Lesson: Plying

  • 5

    Yarn into Cloth

    • Video Lesson: Weaving Blankets

    • Weaving Blankets

    • Video Lesson: Waulking

  • 6

    Wrapping Up

    • What You Learned

    • Course Survey