And a question about drafting

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Kat12 wrote
on Dec 10, 2009 10:10 PM

Okay, so pertinent information is that my "fiber hand" is my right hand and my "drafting hand" (closest to the spindle) is my left hand.  I'm currently at the "park and draft/twist" point (that's another question for another time--I don't feel like the spindle spins long enough for me to do much twisting before it stops and goes the other way).


I have come to realize that I do not draft correctly.  That is, I do not keep back the twist with my left hand and pull my two hands apart, a la the instructions on the 'web.  But I'm not sure if my method is acceptable or not.

Pretty much what I do is sort of pre-draft instead of real draft.  Or rather, I mostly control the twist with my right hand and use the left to help guide the twist.  I'll pull the fiber between my two hands until about 4 inches above my right hand is the thickness I want (at this point the left hand is pinching off the twist and keeping the fiber taught while the spindle is between my knees), then take over the pinch with my right hand, spin the spindle with my left, park it, and then my right hand allows the twist to travel up, with additional guidance of the fiber from my left hand (I'm actually not sure why this is necessary, but it's just something I do for some reason).  Once I've gone through, or am close to going through, my "pre-drafted" fibers and am back to a bit that is thicker than I want to spin, I then transfer pinch back to my left hand and pre-draft some more...rinse and repeat.  I hope the description is clear enough for you to get the idea of what I'm doing.  Wish I could do a video, lol.

Is this terribly incorrect? It seems to work for me just fine, but I'm wondering if I should be working toward the other way, either because there's some reason to do it correctly (after all, that's the "right" way because it's worked over centuries, yes?) or because I don't want to look like a git who doesn't know what she's doing.  It just seems that if I try to do it the correct way, my drafting  area is too long for comfort (I'm currently working with Blue-faced Leicester, so I've got a pretty long fiber to need to draft out, and maybe that's my problem.  Currently my drafting "triangle" of choice is pretty short--about an inch.  That is just what I fell into as it seems comfortable).  It's possible that I could easily use the "proper" method with shorter fibers.  But this seems to give me better control and I feel less like I'm going to lose my grip or drop something (with practice this will no doubt be improved).

I plan to also ask the instructor I took my class from, but I probably will not be in the yarn shop for at least a week again, and I'd just like to know now (impatient I guess).

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Posts 43
destiknit wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 5:41 AM

Pressing the 'quick reply' button for a truly quick (not in depth) reply.

As a new spinner, your 'drafting' method is pretty common.  The focus in the beginning is developing your 'spinning hands'.  It will take some time (and lots of practice) before you find a rhythm in hand movement, to include drafting. 

Continue the 'park and draft' method, pinching only with your forefinger and thumb, ease up on your grip in your fiber hand, cradling the fibers with the rest of your hand.  Drafting fibers should not feel like a struggle. 

You are working with BFL and have (or should have) a long staple, which leaves a lot of time for you to get your hands 'right'.  If you feel this is too long a staple to work with, try Merino.  I taught a woman to spindle last year and she hated the BFL due to the long staple.  I gave her Merino and she seemed most comfortable with it in her 'park and draft' stage.  Corriedale is an excellent choice for a beginner as well.

Best wishes on your spindling!  From the looks of your avatar, you are doing great! ^_^

Which spindle do you have?

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Kat12 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 8:58 AM

Thanks, maybe I'll look into merino.  How long of a fiber does Corriedale have compared to BFL?

Luckily I don't find drafting a struggle...just feels a bit "unstable" when done the proper way, even though I'm probably not really going to drop anything.  And again, that might just be my fiber length.

For my next ball (to ply with the current one you see in my avatar), I'm thinking about trying out low whorling (I have a Schacht Hi-Lo).  Any idea whether I should avoid that?  I mean, do you know if people generally find that when starting out, their high-whorl and low-whorl yarn tends to look different, or is spinning just spinning and the two techniques aren't that different for new spinners?

I do like my spindle, and love that I don't need two spindles to be able to switch between high and low, but there are so many gorgeous ones out there!  I keep telling myself, "you only need one.  There is NO REASON you will ever need more than one."   (besides having spindles of significantly different weights, that is)  I mean, I could have ten, of course, but most would never get used...though it'd be nice to try out a bunch to figure out if this one is "the one" or if there's another I'd just fall in love with (hard to say if I like this spindle if I've never tried any others, after all)!  (I have this one because it's what the LYS where I took my class sells, and I do love the hi-lo design, but you never know, I might find another spindle that I think is wonderful that I could have the maker modify into a high-low design as well).  Do most people generally switch between high and low according to their mood, or do they pick a favorite and stick to it (I always wondered why more spindle makers don't offer a high/low option on their spindles, and aside from maybe a patent of the design by Schacht, though maybe this was why, that most folks don't need it)?

I dunno how great I'm doing, lol.  The current stuff looks okay--seems more consistent in thickness, though it's pretty thick for a single, but now I gotta keep up this size until I have enough to do something with!-- but so did the first spindle-full until I plyed it!  Here's a pic of my first pathetic little skein, done in class, and a close up to show the variation, lol...





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Posts 560
on Dec 21, 2009 10:40 AM

Kat 12,

I think you're doing pretty well. You don't have the luxury of having someone there to watch what you're doing. I see fairly consistent yarn. Your plying is a bit uneven here and there, but that comes with practice and holding both threads with even tension. If one gets a bit wonky, you can untwist (or unzip) and reply as you spin. Nothing is set in stone.

Is mine perfect? No. Do I try for perfection? Sometimes. I'd say I aim for consistency, just like you. When your yarn is in a finished product is when it truly comes alive as something fantastic. I've been doing this for over 20 years. I love the feeling of making something humanly beautiful, not perfect.

I use YouTube for ideas and inspiration. I give my favorite videos to my students to watch. I can't be with them always. They can watch the videos as many times as needed.


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