A New Spinning DVD is Born

Picture this: Spinning diva Abby Franquemont, a woodshop, a couple of aluminum ladders for props, two rowdy kittens. Add: three video cameras, a bunch of lights, a sound system, some camera guys. Result? Drafting: The Long and Short of It, an hour of intense focus on choosing fiber, drafting fiber, spinning yarn.  I learned a lot.

Interweave doesn't have an actual video studio, at least not yet. So we've been making do. In this case, the set was my husband's workshop with all the power tools shoved to one side and the sawdust swept up, mostly. Abby was a good sport about it. You want me to sit on this? Oh, okay.

Her focus was all on the subject at hand, which was how to choose fiber preparations and use different drafting techniques to achieve a wide range of excellent yarns.

Woolen, worsted, and in between

There are a lot of "shoulds" and "musts" associated with the classic woolen and worsted drafting techniques. In practice, though, there's a lot of in-between, and the "drafting fairy" will not come down and bop you on the head if you mix it up a little to get the yarn you want.

Abby starts with the classic short forward, or worsted, draw, using a proper combed top. But she also demos this draft using a silk and merino blended top, and shows how to keep the fibers behaving together.

Next, the long, or woolen draw. This technique represents a breakthrough for a lot of novice spinners, but Abby takes the mystique out by doing it with one hand. All the better to quaff a beer while creating yarn. Does that sound hard? Just look at this little video clip. Easy as pie. And forget sitting up straight to spin—she can do it in a semi-reclining position. Abby puts a whole new "spin" on the concept of "couch potato."

There's a lot in between. Long draw spun from the fold, short draw with longer fibers, plying, and so on. Good tricks for making good joins, too.

The feline element

So what about those cats? Well, they were really cute, and they really loved playing with the fuzz (who knew?), so we put them in there just for the fun of it. You'll have to get the video to see them, though—they are shy. Abby's a great teacher, but she really didn't teach those cats to spin. There just wasn't time.


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