« Knittin' and a grinnin' | Main | Puddles, parsley and pain »



I think I may have actually understood some of what you were saying. Imagine that!


It's a conundrum all right. Relax and it'll happen doesn't help...but somehow the more I try to control it the less it works. I seem to have decent success when I make my hands soft, hold lightly rather than grip, make myself a conduit rather than a director.

I have Fantom Farm envy.

The allium is gorgeous. Like little fireworks.


I let out a sigh of relief. To know that someone else has the same problem with drafting and the 'tornado' that I do helps me feel like I'm not alone in my ineptness. We'll get the hang of it soon, no? I have to think about the twist and pinch every time I move my fingers but every day there is improvement. If I think about that then my practice stays positive.


Indeed, its all about the back hand controlling the amount of twist that you let into the fiber supply. Play with it. It will come.



I've found that the more you practice/play, the more natural it becomes. Pretty soon you will be a conduit as Juno describes. Have fun!

Lee Ann

Need. More. Spindles. Can't afford wheel.

What a gorgeous colour of roving that is! Lucky you...

I find that spinning forces me to control my need for control. If that makes any sense. There is some degree of "letting it happen" that I'm so not used to allowing, but have to allow if I do not want tiny tornadoes.

Imagine that, self-improvement via spinning. Getting my husband to believe that story is a whole nother deal...


I've searched high and low for a good photo tutorial and no luck, though that certainly doesn't mean it's not out there. Here's the way I think of it: with short draw (which is what most new spinners do; it's easier to control) you draft out the fiber completely before you let the twist in. That means you're alternating which hand is pinching: front hand pinches--you pull back until the fiber is exactly the thickness you want, then back hand pinches BEHIND the drafted section and front hand releases--the twist runs into the drafted section. Front hand pinches again, back hand drafts, back hand pinches, front hand releases, and so on. It's also called inchworm, and the two hands are very close together. You alternate quickly because you're only drafting an inch or two at a time.

With long draw, which is what you do when you have a "tornado" like that, you actually let the twist into the fiber supply. People usually save that until they're more experienced, because it takes a certain amount of speed and rhythm. The trick is to keep the twist in just the right place in the fiber supply, and not let it travel up enough to get stuck. So you have to keep the fibers traveling through the drafting triangle, out into the yarn, at exactly the same rate as the twist is going in. When it works, it's a joy, but it takes practice.

So I hope that helps, plus it can never hurt to predraft your fiber. It makes everything easier and more enjoyable, and it will mean that when tornadoes do happen, you will usually be able to recover without stoppng because your fiber will not be compacted.


Oh, so there are videos at a site I recommend all the time. Duh. It's focused on spindle spinning, but hopefully it will show you the idea of what's happening between the hands.

Inchworm/short draw/worsted spinning: http://www.icanspin.com/inch.htm

Long draw: http://www.icanspin.com/thighroll.htm (okay, this one is less helpful, but I might as well include it).


Oh, and a third comment just to prove that I haven't completely missed the point here, grin, I think spinning is a wonderful cure for perfectionism. Handspun will never be "perfect"--it's too dynamic a process. And if it was, what's to stop you going out and buying a ball of yarn made by a well-calibrated machine? Some spinners *are* very technical, but for me it's all about the joy and the movement. Okay, shutting up now.


Wow, I'm bowled over by the way you are dissecting the spinning process. I haven't gotten there yet, but I envision myself being a much more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, intuition-based spinner, not knowing the how or the why and not really caring. You are more like my husband and my brother-in-law, who would most likely sit by my elbow and ask me those questions for which I would have absolutely NO answers.

That alium is killing me. KILLING.

Teresa C

Being a non-spinner, my head spins at this post. Makes me wonder if the perfectionist in me would be able to let go enough to let it happen, while at the same time controlling it enough to end up with any useful product. And then again, maybe I am overthinking it.

I keep putting in more and more Daylillies. I just love them and they are so easy!


Spinning: What Cate said. You need to relax and let it happen. It is a way to release perfectionism (ask me how I know) and learn acceptance. And remember that plying cures many sins and covers up many bumps. Take a really close look at my "perfect, even" handspun sometime.

Long draw described in words: Pre-draft your fiber like mad. Pull your back hand back just ahead of the twist. Let the twist run thrugh your forward hand. Pinch the back hand to prevent twist from getting into the fiber and treadle to allow more twist into the singles. Let the singles wind onto the bobbin. I use both hands to pull out slubs. This is much easier to show than to explain.

Spinning top from the fold is an excellent way to master long draw. See the picture tutorial at http://www.graftonfibers.com/fold.htm.

Daylilies: Come to Waltham Center sometime in the next couple of weeks. The city just put a whole bunch of daylilies in on the west side of the common and they are spectacular. I want to go out in the middle of the night with a shovel and some pots so I can divide them.


I think that rather than being an impatient perfectionist, you should let the wool teach you. I've found that spinning is one of the few things where the process is really all I care about. Enjoy it. It doesn't mean don't ask question, don't experiment, or don't learn. It just means have fun along the way.


I'm no help at all - just commenting to let you know I'm here for moral support. Me not having a wheel might work out okay - I think I'm learning more from your process then I would if I had a wheel of my own! (I'll be with steady internet next week and will really be able to "get" this; for now I'm just trying to catch up with everyone!)


That is such a lovely picture of the daylilies - it's now my computer wallpaper! Thank you for sharing it.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Moon Phases

    moon phases