14 March, 2011

Long Draw

The weather warmed up enough for me to venture out to the bothy and use the new great wheel.

I was able to draft cotton into impossibly fine strands but unable to make them hold together.

After cotton and I re-affirmed our mutual antipathy, I delved into the depths of my stash and found a whiskery bit of wool someone destashed to me when I first learned to spin.  I managed to spin this:

I am much slower with a great wheel than I am with a spindle, unaccustomed as I am.  I gingerly turn the wheel, frequently check the yarn's twist, and generally feel like I am doing something completely foreign.

Before I could get the drafting results I wanted, I had to remind myself not to make the classic novice handspinner's mistake of keeping a death grip on the fibre.  I also had to predraft the roving to make it fluffy and loose, similar to the density of a rolag.  I probably should use rolags, but I'm not.

I draft fibre with a short draw when I use a drop spindle.  The great wheel requires me to spin with a long draw.

Switching from short draw to long draw is akin to switching between a stick shift and an automatic, or between a Mac and a PC.  The discombobulation is not as great as when trying to write with the non-dominant hand, fortunately, even though I am using my left hand to draft long draw whereas I use my right hand to draft short draw.  This is because short draw requires fine finger control.  Long draw needs long sweeps of the arm.

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