Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…

Long Draw Trouble


Spinning Semi-Worsted Yarn

Learning to spin on your own can be quite frustrating at times. If the results are not what you had hoped, it’s not always easy to figure out what you are doing wrong. Ever since I started spinning with a long draw, I have been struggling with it, and I am now  really beginning to think I need to find a spinning consultant who does home visits to come and help me improve it. So what’s going wrong?

Learning to spin worsted with a short draw was painful for a couple of days, particularly as it was my first experience of spinning. But soon enough I got the hang of it. Spinning woolen yarn with a long draw on the other hand has been much more difficult and time consuming.

For the last few weeks I have been practising spinning combed top with a long draw, I suppose that makes it semi-worsted yarn.  Although I have been practising it on and off for several weeks now, I am still struggling to control the evenness of my yarn. The wool seems to be determined do its own thing, and I can’t figure out how to control it.

In particular, I have been struggling with some mystery lumps that always seem to occur in the same place in the drafting cycle – just in the beginning as I am starting to draw out the wool. At this point, the twist seems to jump over a bit of wool, leaving it thicker and less twisted. The twist moves further along the wool and no amount of drafting allows me to get back to that lump to make it thinner, it just stays there.

After a lot of detective work and analysis of what exactly it is that my hands are doing, I’ve concluded that it happens because I let too much twist travel too fast into the drafting circle. At the same time, perhaps my right hand is not drafting the wool evenly enough.  At least that’s my theory at the moment.

But as yet I haven’t got a clue how to fix my technique. I suppose I just need to keep on practising and eventually my hands just figure it out. And I am determined to master this, because it would be such a useful way of spinning. After all, a lot of pre-prepared fiber on the market is combed top, but I really do prefer the fluffiness and airiness of woolen yarn. That’s why I imagine this kind of hybrid technique would be so handy.

Another potential problem is that my gaps between spinning have been way too long – if I haven’t been doing any for a week or two, I almost have to start from scratch, because I have forgotten what I learned the last time.

So in the absence of a proper spinning mentor, my advice to myself is as follows: make sure you spin every day, even if it is only for a short while.


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

2 thoughts on “Long Draw Trouble

  1. Spinning long draw is easiest from rolags. Combed tops on the other hand draft easiest spun worsted. You can spin both ways, but as you’ve noticed it’s difficult to spin long fibers with a long draw. It has to do with the way the fibers are arranged in the prep and the way the long draw catches the fibers. I’m impressed with what you’ve done so far! Spinning is a never ending learning 🙂

    • Thank you Barbro for your helpful comment! I’m glad there’s a good explanation for it, so it’s not just me! 😉

      There’s certainly a lot to learn and many variables to experiment with – I never realised this before I started spinning. I used to just think that once you pick up “the one and only spinning technique” you just sit there and spin away. How wrong I was! 🙂

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