Friday, 17 July 2009

Spinning worsted style - or the short draw method

The last few days I've been learning how to spin using two methods - the short draw and the long draw. Until I read a book on spinning a few months ago, I didn't know there was more than one way, I mean spinning is surely spinning right? Well, it all depends on your fleece and how it is prepared for spinning. Roving uses short draw, and carding tops into rolags uses the long draw method. After watching this video I found out I use the short draw method with rolags!!!! So I decided to set myself the challenge of trying them both out - properly:-)

The top video shows you how to spin using the short draw method. I tried this one first because it works with combed roving and I have some lovely dyed roving but can't use it til I get the hang of this.

Yes, my lovely roving from Fibreoptics and Needleworks pleasure respectively. And now I've been learning how to use it. Okay, not straight away with the good stuff though! I've been experimenting with some undyed merino - still very yummy - and I'll dye it when I've finished. I tried to spin this before with mixed results just before my wheel broke and I never got back to it. I was still feeling my way back into spinning - still am - so I resorted to using the method I knew I could do, working with tops and carding it into rolags.

But after watching this video I realised I had missed out a vital step of preparation - splitting. The whole idea of splitting is to take the roving and split it lengthwise all the way down. Now if you want a super chunky yarn you could spin it now but I definitely don't! So I split each length again - now 4 pieces. Still this is too thick for me, so again I split - 8 pieces, split again, 16 pieces. I stopped here and tried spinning this thickness but if its still too thick, split!

You have to even the thickness along each length you split so it will spin evenly. I found a really good video on You Tube that shows this method of splitting and preparing the fibres -

It has made my life a lot easier now I know what preparation I should be doing before spinning and I learn visually so this is great. And here is my work in progress....

I've done twice this amount now but it only weighs around 22 gms. This single yarn can be fixed as is or can now be plyed - two yarns together. As my first effort isn't as even all the way through and gets very thin in places I think I will ply this together to make it stronger. I don't know what with as yet. Maybe my undyed spun fleece straight from the sheep? But each fleece will take the dye differently so it could be a lovely contrast - or not!!! I could also spin it together with a thin manufactured yarn to eak out the roving as it's not very cheap to buy, or I could spin another bobbin of the roving and spin two equal thicknesses of yarn together. That is my preferred method and I will get a sturdier yarn.

So, still some short draw spinning to do then on to mastering the long draw! I think I'll save some of my dyed fleece for that experiment. 100gms on the nose and I didn't even weigh it! Onwards and upwards!


  1. Gosh aren't you clever! And what a brilliant tutorial :)

  2. Thank you, Karen. Spinning is a big learning curve for me! It must have been ahem, over 15 years since I had a spinning lesson, and to be honest I wish I'd paid more attention!! I'd be soaking it all in now!

    She was a lovely lady from the Isle of Iona who came over on the boat and down to Glasgow every week to give our class at college a spinning lesson on old cinderella-like spinning wheels.... I have so many questions I would like to ask her now!

    But what she did teach me must have stayed in there somewhere as my hands seem to know what they should be doing, even if my head doesn't:-))


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