Visit My Etsy Shop

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Long Draw Tips

If you're having trouble mastering the long draw, here are a few things to try.

1. Use hand-carded rolags. These fluffy cigars of wool are your Long Draw Best Friends. If you can't bring yourself to card by hand, spin from a piece of sliver from a carded batt. Avoid combed top.
2. Try switching hands. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially if you've been spinning one way for a long time, but try it!
3. Use undyed, medium coarse, medium length wool (3-4 inches) Shorter Romney works well, Dorset and the longer Downs breeds are also good choices. Breed really makes a difference when learning - find a farmer who will sell you washed locks or carded wool, but avoid combed top.
4. Did I say avoid combed top? Commercially prepared wool is usually combed - you can see the comb lines in the roving. All the fibers are parallel, the short stuff has been removed. It's niiiiiiiice and smooth. It is also quite compacted, and will make you crazy while you're trying to learn. Set it aside for now. Get your hands on the rougher, messier stuff.
5. Buy some practice wool. Dedicate a couple of pounds of wool to learning the technique. Plan to throw the yarn away when you're done. (You don't have to, of course, but it takes the pressure off.) There is nothing more frustrating or counter-productive than trying to learn a technique on wool we want to use for a project. Let the skill-building be the project.
6. Practice every day. It will take longer than a couple of hours to get comfortable with the long draw. You will have starts and stops, clumps and breaks, slubs and twits. That's why the next tip is so important.
7. Be patient with yourself! Set yourself a reasonable goal. "I am going to learn the long draw over the next six months." It won't take that long, but giving yourself permission to work on the skill may be the key to success.

There are some great videos on YouTube - find one you like and watch it several times, then buckle down and DO IT, one little rolag at a time. Soon you'll be stretching the wool like it was chewing gum.

Happy Spinning!

No comments:

Post a Comment