Teaching & Class Offerings

Contact Joan at SpinCotton@Yahoo.com

Joan on Taproot Video

Joan has partnered with TAPROOT VIDEO to make her popular spinning videos available to watch on-line.

They are available as either streaming video by itself or a combination DVD/streaming package. Joan's spinning books are available as E-books.

Hemp Spinning

Joan Spinning Hemp

Cotton Spinning Made Easy

Joan Spinning Cotton

Cotton Spinning on the Takli & Charka

DVD cover for Cottong Spinning on the Takli

Cotton Spinning on a Wheel E-book

Beginning Cotton Spinning on Wheel

Hand Spinning Cotton E-book

Hand Spinning Cottong book cover


Welcome to the World of Spinning Plant Fibers!

Joan Ruane

Hello Fiber Friends,

When I was first introduced to spinning in 1971, it was in New Zealand, and of course the fiber to spin was wool. However, after returning to the USA and having the opportunity of taking Persis Grayson’s class in Jacksonville, Florida where she introduced every fiber imaginable, I realized the sky was my limit of fibers. When she handed me a handful of cotton, I knew right then that this was the fiber I wanted to learn all about and be able to spin it with ease.

Cotton at that time had the reputation of being “hard to spin” but no wonder, wheels were designed at that time for long staple fibers and cotton was just about a inch, or if lucky, an inch and a half. The fiber was also hard to get as it grew only in the southern states and was not processed for spinners. Harry and Olive Linder from Phoenix, Arizona had purchased a bale of cotton (480 lbs.) from a local gin and began teaching how to process and spin the ginned cotton. A phone call to Linder’s shortly after returning from my workshop, changed my life for forever.

As I learned about cotton and was able to go out and teach spinners all over the world how to spin cotton and convince wheel makers to increase the ratio on their wheels, cotton began to become accepted by spinners. Having cotton properly prepared into “easy to spin” sliver for the spinners and having fiber shops, all over the world making it available, opened up a reborn fiber for hand spinners.

With the 2018 Farm Act removing hemp from the controlled substance act, I knew it was time to begin teaching spinners about this ancient fiber that can be so beneficial for the world. Why is it that it is so important to learn about hemp and how you can use it as part of your spinning? Like cotton, the fiber is new to many and it is in the “baby stages” again here in the USA.

Join me on this web site as we explore and learn about these two ancient fibers and how they are playing such an important role again in this new world of ours.

Happy Spinning!

Joan Ruane


Here are some new articles to check out, hope you enjoy them!

  1. “Spinning Hemp Fibre.” The Wheel, by Ashford Wheels & Looms (Issue #32| 2020-2021)
  2. “Solar Dyeing.” Spin Off, by Long Thread (Spring 2021)
  3. “Spinning Off the Point on My E-Spinner” PLY Magazine, by Jacey Boggs Faulkner (Summer 2021)


Recently I have begun doing some experiments with solar dyeing. Living in the Southwestern United States, there is ample opportunity to use the sun to help dye cotton fiber. Read more...

Solar Dyed Hemp


Joan's Cotton HarvestBack in the late 60’s and early 70’s when Harry and Olive Linder started teaching cotton spinning the only cotton available to them for their classes was a bale, 480 lbs., of ginned cotton from the local gin in Phoenix, AZ. They would take off wafers depending of how many where in their classes. At that time almost all spinning wheels only had one ratio and that was 6-1. Cotton carders where hard to come by and thus students had to use wool carders. All spinning instructional books said was “cotton is hard to spin”!

When Harry could no longer travel and they asked me to carry on the teaching of cotton spinning, I bought bales of Acala, Pima and Sea Island ginned cotton but soon learned that spinners wanted something already prepared for them to spin. I also learned that commercially cotton was carded and stretched to such an extent for electric commercial spinning gins, that it had no crimp left in it.

That meant I needed to find a place to have it just run through the carding machine. This I did and it was perfect and so I called the sliver “Easy to Spin”. For several years I sold it until my teaching demand made it impossible to do both, I convinced my good friends Jill and Lura to take over the distribution of this wonderful cotton sliver. They have done a marvelous job and has “Easy to Spin” cotton in shops all over the world. If you do not have a local shop carrying it, go to their web site: www.brookmoorecreations.com or e-mail them at cotton@brookmoorecreations.com


Singles Scarf

Weaving with handspun cotton singles presents its own challenges and rewards! Over the summer I wove up a scarf using handspun singles and wrote up a description of my project step by step as I worked it through.

I was able to create a completely handspun and handwoven cotton singles scarf that I'm very happy with! When it was finished, it was wonderful to see and FEEL this scarf in my hands and thought I would share my experiences. Here is a review of what I did. More...


The takli is a small support-style spindle that is easily carried from place to place. Because of the high whorl speed it can attain, it is the perfect tool for spinning cotton - you can spin a much finer diameter yarn on the takli than is possible to spin using a wheel. And don't let the small size fool you - you can spin a great deal of yarn in a short time. Joan used takli-spun yarn for the warp on the green blouse described in the article "My Green Blouse"! More...