Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How I spin

Jocelyn asked for a video of my spinning technique in the comments a few posts ago, so Branden and I took advantage of some rare sun last weekend to shoot a brief segment.

(I've had this whole post written and ready to go for a week, but we were having video compression issues. Sorry for the delay, but hopefully the problems are all sorted out now...)

Before I show it to you, I need to add the disclaimer that I am a new spinner, I don't have formal training, and I don't honestly know much about what I'm doing. I'm just playing with yarn, and doing what feels right to me. So, this isn't a tutorial...go to more experienced people for that!

video

After reading a little more about drafting techniques on Spinning Spider Jenny's blog, I think I am doing some kind of variation on an American supported longdraw.

When drafting, I just increase the length of my drafting zone at the same rate that I add twist, so that I have the same (low) twists per inch throughout the draw. When I finish the draw, I have to feed the yarn into the flyer slowly, because this is where I actually add the real twist. If I let it in too fast, I don't have a stable yarn. If I want more twist, I just let it in more slowly.

The video is shot from the front, by the flyer, which makes it seem like your attention should be on my left hand, but it's actually the right that's doing all the work. The left is just there to pull against for drafting, and to keep the yarn from rubbing on the orifice while I do a right-side draw. All of the thickness control is done by the right hand, by varying how hard I hold the fiber, and how far back I am on the staple.

If there's a dense spot in the top, I sometimes get a thick spot in my yarn, but there isn't much twist in the longdraw, so it's easy to pull thin again. This happens once about halfway through the video. To fix it, I just grab the two ends of the thick section, separated by about two staple lengths, and pull gently. If there's too much twist to move the fibers, then I roll the ends between my fingers to let some of it back out again, and continue pulling until it's the thickness I want.

So, that's how I spin. How about you?