Thursday, January 3, 2013

Intro to Spinning: Drafting the Fiber

Drafting is the main motion of spinning. It's a simple process really. You are stretching/thinning the fibers from each other length wise so that the ends can grab and twist, thus creating yarn. It's like pulling the fiber strands apart, but not all the way.

The following is an example of drafting off the wheel.  Please forgive the terrible drawings :)

Ok, imagine that this is a length of roving with the fibers all lined up length wise. On each strand of fiber are microscopic teeth or fiber "barbs" that hold the roving together like Velcro. Some wool has more "tooth" than others. This tooth is what makes some wool sweaters feel "picky". You're feeling the "tooth" on your skin.

To draft means to pull some of the fibers to away from each other. When spinning, you do this by pinching a small amount and drawing it away from the main bunch of roving. Some people draft the whole amount of working roving before starting to spin, but I like to do it as I go.

Here is it in real life.

A length of roving.

Starting the draft by pinching some of the fiber strands.

 Pulled apart almost in half, but notice that the fibers in the middle still overlap.

A bit more...

 Even more...

Now imagine that at the same time the fiber was being stretched, it was also being twisted. This is the basic concept behind making yarn.

In the next post I'll apply this concept to the spinning wheel.


Karen C. said...

What a great demonstration! I can't wait for the next one.

I met a lady a couple weekends ago who took up spinning. I would guess her in her 80's and she said she got so addicted to it that her husband threatened to get rid of her stuff! Ha ha! Of course he hasn't...but her face glowed when she told that story. I bet her knows better than to touch her wheel! :-)

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