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Hey friends

Specifically [livejournal.com profile] much_ado and [livejournal.com profile] pundigrion, but anyone else with thoughts is also welcome to chime in.

A friend of mine in the UK is teaching himself to use a drop spindle. He has asked:

Friends that spin with the drop spindle method, I am trying to follow the videos but if I twist it tightly enough to form wool rather than a cloud of fibres then it knots up as soon as I take the weight off it. What am I doing wrong please?

Does anyone have any ideas?

Date: 2014-09-08 08:43 pm (UTC)
ext_46621: (summer tree)
From: [identity profile] much-ado.livejournal.com
A couple of things come to mind, chiefly that he is overspinning (winding too tightly) the yarn, ergo it plies back on itself as soon as there's no tension on it. Slow the spin or use a heavier spindle (or both), as a place to start. It may also be that the spindle itself is the wrong weight for the weight/thickness of the ply he's spinning. There's a science to choosing spindle weight for lighter-versus-heavier yarns, but I must confess I've never really figured that out and pretty much just wing it as I go :-P

Date: 2014-09-08 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pundigrion.livejournal.com
Ah, twist is getting into their drafting triangle. A common problem when you are learning and totally normal and fixable with practise.

So, he should be aware that there are a couple of really bad YouTube videos out there. Abby Franquemont has a really good one and also has a great book called Respect the Spindle and longer, better quality DVD which goes on sale somewhat frequently on Interweave (the digital downloads are nice since no shipping!) Here's some older ones she did for free:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUORvO-GZE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAVYmG9zeK8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drXid5cT0y8

Here's another good video: http://handspinner.co.uk/using_drop_spindle.html

I do not recommend pre-drafting the fibre! Repeat, don't pre-draft. There are a limited set of times this is useful, but think of it as an advanced topic. Videos that tell beginners to pre-draft are to be avoided.

He might see reference to something called park-and-draft. This is where you "park" the spindle between your knees while you draw out the fibre so it doesn't backspin. This basically breaks the spinning into more manageable steps and is a great tactic when you are starting. (And is often used by more advanced folks too for tough projects).

If your friend is on Ravelry, which I super recommend, this group is great: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/spindlers They have loads of links, tons of useful threads, plenty of advice, FAQs, and even a "stupid questions" thread.

Hmmm, forget what the word count is for comments, to be continued....

Date: 2014-09-08 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pundigrion.livejournal.com
Okay! And back!

What is happening there with the fibre getting all clumped up and gnarly is that the twist from the spindle is travelling up into the fibre. Pinch the top of the yarn to keep the twist from going all the way into the fibre.

If he's having trouble drafting, just relax breathe easy. Try not to death grip everything and move your hands further apart a bit. Different breeds of sheep have different lengths of hair. We call this the staple length. Long hair sheepies will have a longer staple and you need to have your hands a little further apart. To see what I mean, take a little bit of the fibre, now try tugging at it with your hands only an inch apart. Doesn't budge! Now move your hands about five inches apart and it should pull apart much better. A little trial and error will show you the best spacing for the fibre in your hands.

Again, don't grip the fibre supply itself too hard. Otherwise the individual hairs can't slide past each other easily and you'll have a sweaty wad of woe. (Note: this is annoying, but generally it is totally salvageable and happens to the best of us if we are too tense.)

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