Monday, July 13, 2009

The Guild of Longdraw Spinners

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.


Dorothy said...

I'm sure that people who advocate spinning unwashed fleece have found cleaner fleeces than the ones I've bought! However, when I've washed a proper dirty fleece the locks are often not separate and intact, so not sure if I could use the longdraw method described, I'll have a go later on. Thanks for writing about the visit of the Longdraw spinners.

Willington Weaver said...

Hello Dorothy

I only ever use washed fleece and at the workshop I used a freshly washed Portland fleece, which I've continued to "longdraw" as shown at the workshop. I decided to continue in the name of consistency!

As you say the locks don't stay neat and intact, but I've managed my fleece very well, I think. The main point is that you present the side of lock to the yarn you are grafting to and if the lock in not intact, present the centre of a bunch of fibres, the theory being that at least some of the fibres will be from the side of the lock!

When I've managed a couple of bobbins of yarn and plyed them I'll post an image.


Caroline M said...

I have always wondered how it is faster because the limiting factor for me is getting enough twist in the single, if I get an arm's length at a time then I have to wait then to get enough twist in it before I let it wind on. If I had a silly fast wheel then it might be a different matter.

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