fibre preparation · handspun · process · spinning · yarn

CraftyJAKS: February 2019 // Rambouillet

Last month, we discussed being pushed outside our comfort zone with fibre. This month, we are going to discuss comfort-zone pushing when it comes to fibre preparation.

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How often do we tend to spin the same preparation because we love the finished yarn we achieve time and again? Do you always prep from raw fleece and comb to create a true worsted yarn? At fibre festivals, are you drawn to the braids of combed top that you are able to stripe down and spin short backwards draw? I have to admit, that’s my default. When I want a potato-chip spin, I go to a braid of medium to long wool, such as Corriedale or Romney, stripe it down and start spinning. No forethought or planning goes into those mindless, enjoyable and deeply meditative spins. I will often choose those spins when I feel there is something I need to work through in my life, a choice I am trying to make or a pivot that is imminent.

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I rarely spin from rolags and I rarely spin long draw anymore. While I used to use long draw a lot, I have tended toward worsted-drafts in the recent months due to the amount of sock spinning I’ve been doing. This spin pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to utilize a technique I hadn’t use in a while. Did I enjoy it?

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I sure did. I absolutely love long draw – it’s smooth and repetitive. I love the rhythm and motion. I love the feel of the single pulling onto the bobbin as it takes enough twist. I love drawing out the fibres prior to that gentle pull.

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While the resulting yarn is not as consistent as I had hoped, I realized halfway through this spin that practice, muscle memory and keeping skills current is really important. While I was able to sit down and spin these amazing rolags with little problem, the skill of consistent woolen spun yarn is practice and patience. And doing it often! It was an excellent reminder for a prolific spinner like myself.

If you’d like to see some video of me spinning this fibre, please head over to my Instagram account!

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