On Saturday I went to my guild for a lovely workshop with the Guild of Longdraw Spinners. Three lovely ladies, including the Chair, Pam, gave an interesting talk on how the guild formed, followed by a very informative workshop on longdraw spinning.
I've been using the longdraw method for quite a few years, mostly with very short fibres, silk noils, cotton, downland fleece, etc., where I prepared small tightish rolags before spinning. However, we were shown how to spin directly from fleece using the longdraw method, so this was something new to me. Pam was very passionate about longdraw and so was an excellent teacher and started by showing us how to twist a lock of fleece before drafting by hand without our wheel! This gave everyone the confidence to add the wheel into the "mix".
By the afternoon we were all spinning with the longdraw method and Pam and her collegues showed us how to us her "Tool Box" to improve our technique! By the time I left the workshop at 4pm I'd just about spun a whole bobbin of my lovely soft Portland fleece, now I've just got to knuckle down and finish spinning the rest of it! Using longdraw of course.
Two things Pam said was that longdraw was quicker than semi-worsted spinning because you get an arms length of fleece at a time which is quicker, but I would dispute that, as you have to ensure you have enought twist in the arms length before allowing the yarn to be pulled on to the bobbin. Her other note was that you should spin "in the grease" for best results. I'm afraid I'm not an advocate of that, I feel you get better results from washing as any dirt, etc., is not trapped in the yarn and is cleaner as a result. She did say, however, that each to there own and there is no right way or wrong way to spin and I do, whole heartedly, agree with that!
If you've always been a little afaid of longdraw spinning, do attend Pam's workshop, it will really give you confidence to have a good go at it.