Spinning from the Fold: How to Spin Semiwoolen Yarn from Top
Want to spin a semiwoolen yarn from locks or top? Try using the long-draw drafting method paired with spinning from the fold. In the Fall 2017 issue of Spin Off, Maggie Casey shares her method for taking a staple length of wool, folding it over your finger, and drafting for a light and airy yarn.
If you want to use long draw on a combed, longer fiber, you can do it by spinning over the fold. Pull off a staple length of top or a washed lock and drape it over the index finger of your back hand. Hold the fiber in place by applying light pressure with your middle finger on one side and your thumb on the other. Place your leader on the thumb side of the fiber close to the top of the middle finger, treadle a couple of times, and watch the twist grab the fiber. Now it is time to spin long draw over the fold. Draft backward with your back hand and control how fast the twist runs into the yarn by pinching and releasing with your front hand. As you spin, try to keep the twist coming off the middle or tip of your finger. You want those fibers to be folded in half; if they aren’t, it will be harder to draft. This isn’t really a woolen yarn, but it might be just the right yarn for your project.
1. Fold a staple (either a lock or a piece of combed top) over one finger of your back hand, loosely grasping the two ends between your thumb and the rest of your fingers.
2. Hold the leader against the folded part of the yarn and begin to treadle, allowing the twist to pull a few fibers.
3. Keeping the staple folded (either over your finger or just grasped in your hand), draw back against the twist for a woolen-ish yarn.
Maggie Casey is co-owner of Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins in Boulder, Colorado. When she isn’t behind the counter at work, she is behind her wheel trying to spin up her stash. Some people have a wine cellar; she has a fleece basement. Her videos and her book, Start Spinning, are available from Interweave.
Download your copy of the Fall 2017 issue of Spin Off to read the rest of Maggie Casey’s article, “The Long-Draw Dance: Tips and Tricks to Master Woolen Drafting,” to get more great tips on spinning long draw. Plus, learn more about spinning woolen, worsted, or semi-something yarns in our free eBook A Guide to Handspun Yarn.
Featured Image: Maggie Casey demonstrates spinning from the fold. Photos by George Boe