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Topic: Am I meant to split this up before spinning?  (Read 1282 times)
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« on: November 19, 2010 03:20:33 AM »

I have some of this:


and here:

I have tried to spin it by putting a leader yarn on and doing my best, but still get a very thick yarn that is pretty much a dreadlock. Is it 'ok' to split it up into thinner strands (say, fingernail width), join them and then spin? Or am I doing it wrong?

« Last Edit: November 19, 2010 03:20:58 AM by melissanorth » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010 03:57:22 AM »

Of course it's ok!  Grin A friend of mine actually used to pull her rovings into strips about half the width of a pencil, then spin them up, while using a drop spindle. It just made it easier for her.

The neat thing about spinning is that there's only two rules - spin in the same direction, or it will untwist. Ply in the opposite direction or it won't stick.

It's actually recommended that you pull your fibers in half to make "matching" yarn if you're doing up something for socks or gloves or something similar. Especially if it's a variegated/multicolored roving.

« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010 05:17:45 AM »

Ah, all the photos I've seen have very thin yarn coming out a big floofy wool ball, so I thought I was doing it wrong.

« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010 06:27:22 AM »

That's the result of drafting. For drafting, you take ahold of the end, then with  your other hand pinch off the fibers a few inches (between about 4 and 6, depending on the roving), and pull. It will thin out and get longer as you pull on it, which will make a thinner yarn. When there's enough twist in what's pinched off, or when you get close to your hand, slide back the hand that is pinching off the thick part of the roving and pull at the same time (to thin it out). It takes a few tries, and is really easier using a spinning wheel than on a drop spindle, but that's how they do that.

Here is a short video to give you a basic idea.

« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010 01:59:25 AM »

I have found that splitting the roving to about the width of my index finger, then predrafting (gently and very slowly pulling the fibres longer) to about half the width of my pinkie, before spinning, allows for the smallest singles I can spin. It takes a LOT of time, but it can be helpful. HOWEVER! I have used a roving the thickness of my wrist, and created from it a single the width of a mechanical pencil lead. It all depends on how carefully and slowly you draft while spinning. If you rush it your singles will be bigger. If you take your time, and work slowly and methodically, you will be able to create much smaller singles. Work slowly, and pay attention, and eventually you will gain speed and proficiency. Dexterity is not a talent, it is a skill, and it takes HUGE amounts of effort! Keep it up! No one is naturally awesome at this, it takes work and dedication. You can be awesome at this if you are dedicated and determined. Never feel constrained by what is "right" or "correct" in spinning. It is an ART. Like all art, spinning is an expression of the soul of the artist. Once you are comfortable with the medium with which you work, the beauty will flow. Just take your time and understand that it will be frustrating and "imperfect" (meaning, not exactly what YOU want, but not exactly undesirable to all) at first. I wish someone had explained this to me when I was fresh and new to the craft. It would have made a HUGE difference to my perception of the craft. Regardless of your own perception of "perfect" or "right," as long as you are creating, you are creating beauty. :-)
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010 04:23:25 AM »

You can split them, but you don't have to. When you have a big fluffy ball and make super thin yarn, you're drafting - for help in that, check these two videos:


Drafting can be tough at first, but don't panic! Just practice for a few minutes at a time and you'll get it, it took me about 3 months to make thin and even yarn. You might make some thick-and-thin yarn while you're learning, but that's OK too Smiley it looks really nice knitted up. I'm too lazy to pre-draft unless the fibre is really sticky and matted so it's hard to draft, which is why I taught myself to draft.

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