How to Predraft for Spinning Worsted Yarn

Ever wonder what makes a good worsted yarn? Frequent Spin Off contributor Amy Tyler, author of the column “Ask a Spinning Teacher,” dispenses her fiber wisdom in a new video from Interweave, Spinning Worsted Yarn with Amy Tyler. Do you yearn to make yarns that are smooth, strong, and that will weave or knit into fabric with oodles of drape? Amy has the answers!

Whether you buy your fleece, roving, or top from a fiber festival or your local yarn shop, Amy Tyler demonstrates what a difference a few inches in staple length can make. To spin worsted, look for long lustrous locks from breeds such as Coopworth and Bluefaced Leicester.

A lovely long lock of about 6” is perfect for spinning worsted.

A lovely long lock of about 6” is perfect for spinning worsted.

Staple lengths measuring 3–6 inches produce smooth, firm, and dense yarns with plenty of sheen and drape.

Worsted yarns require drafting with no twist in the drafting triangle, usually with a variation of the short draw technique. However, to get the best worsted yarn results, Amy Tyler advocates predrafting. She is a devotee of predrafting not once but twice for an optimal worsted spinning experience. Uniform results will come with practice.

Amy’s process for perfectly predrafted fiber is as follows:
•    First, check your staple length. Check to see how long your fibers are before predrafting.

Check to see how long your fibers are before predrafting.

Check to see how long your fibers are before predrafting.

•    Then keep your hands more than a fiber’s length apart while you predraft your fiber source.

Keep hands more than a fibers length apart when predrafting.

Keep hands more than a fibers length apart when predrafting.

•    She recommends predrafting in two steps, making small pulls, and loosening the fiber source so you become familiar with the fiber’s qualities. Is it sticky? Are the fibers soft? This is especially helpful for compressed and dyed fibers.

Amy demonstrates predrafting fibers.

Amy demonstrates predrafting fibers.

•    Make one pass, and then a second so that the fiber thickness is easy for your hands to control But, be careful not to predraft so that the source becomes thick and thin; you want it even.

Now add some twist with your wheel and your favorite short draw method—forward, backward, or both!

The drafting triangle.

The drafting triangle.

Amy Tyler skillfully breaks down these techniques step-by-step so that you can really see what is happening when you spin worsted with a short draw. Your spinning experience will be smooth sailing with Amy’s tips on predrafting and spinning for worsted yarn.

Happy spinning!
Elizabeth

 

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