Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Long Draw

I've been practicing my long draw.  It's a spinning technique to make woolen yarns, light, airy and suitable for knitting.  Since I generally spin for weaving, I use a lot more worsted and semi-worsted techniques.  The smoother, denser worsted threads can be much less elastic, less sticky and well suited for weaving.   However, this means that I periodically need to practice the long draw.

 As well, a true long draw is not the easiest of things to do.  There are all sorts of "longdraws"; supported, American,  traditional or English and the list goes on.  Over the past few years, I've been trying to teach myself the traditional or English long draw.  I've not found it the easiest of techniques and like many adults, the I haven't learned it even though I've  practiced it for 10 minutes, attitude sort of sets in.  I've persevered though and every once in a while I pick up my hand cards and go at it again.  Hand cards, because rolags are supposed to make the longdraw easier. 

I found a couple of videos on you tube, which have been really helpful.

Ruth MacGregor makes it look really easy! 

This lad's video however, takes the cake!  It's very well done. He explains the technique really well and lets face it, he's so young and confident that you realize it's just a bit more practice.

And practice I've done.    I carded up a bazillion rolags and filled the bobbins with the blue Merino.  I can tell  you exactly what muscles are involved with hand carding now, as every single one of those muscles screamed at me for two days.  I used a slightly supported long draw for  the blue.    Then I tried James technique, using a prepared off white coloured  roving.  It works well too.  I've been spinning on the Mazurka, using double drive.  However he suggests that Scotch tension works better for him.  So I spun one bobbin full on double drive and started the second using single drive with Scotch tension.  I'd have to say, so far I prefer the double drive for the long draw.  Guess it's just what your used to.   All this is for good use. The Master Spinner 3 course, requires 250 yards of handspun yarn for the dyeing project.  Better to get that done sooner than later!

I've been able to do a lot of this bobbin with the unsupported longdraw.  I'm still not proficient at it, but it's way better than it was!   I'm looking forward to seeing the two white bobbins plied!  Then, if I have enough for the course, I can go back to spinning the blue.


Leigh said...

What excellent videos. I finally taught myself longdraw but never realized there were so many types. I'm sure I'm sorely out of practice!

How interesting such a young man is so interested in spinning and has such expertise. Amazing.

Sharon said...

I was impressed by the young man and shared the video on Facebook - thanks!