I've just completed two bobbins of singles yarn spun as I was shown at the workshop run by the Guild of Longdraw Spinners at the Derbyshire Guild a couple of Saturdays ago.
I spun part of a beautiful Portland fleece which has loads of crimp, which I hope you can see here. Being very fine and crimpy, I realised, as I was spinning, that I might just have a few problems with this method of spinning as it has a tendency to stretch the fibres and I felt that I might just have a problem with the crimp wanting to relax once plyed and off the bobbin.
You will see from this image just what I mean! I have seen worse, but there is a fair degree of relaxing of the crimp that causes the yarn to be rather unruly, to say the least!
Once I realised what was happening, and remembering how Margaret Stove described how she relaxed the crimp before allowing any twist into the drafted fibres, I began to modify my spinning technique. If you don't know this technique, Margarets book is "Merino - Handspining, Dyeing and Working with Merino and Superfine Wools", ISBN 0-7090-4711-8.
Although this isn't a good image, you will see that the plyed yarn, at the top, is not wanting to relax and crimp up again.
So what have I learnt! Well, this method of longdraw is not to be used with very fine, crimpy fleece. Rather, is should be spun using Margaret Stoves method, only allowing the twist into the drafted fibres once the crimp is relaxed. I will try a small sample using my usual longdraw technique, where I prepare the fibres into rolags first and see if that produces a smoother less unruly yarn. I'll let you know anon!