Friday, September 27, 2013

Horses for Courses

Last night, our guild hosted a "free" come one, come all class on spinning cotton, taught by Stephenie Gaustad. There was a huge turn out, but Stephenie really is a master teacher, and a good time was had by all. She can look at a spinner, and instantly tell whether the problem is in the spinner's technique or in how their wheel is is set up.  And, she knows how to explain spinning.  She can instantly adapt to the spinner's needs, whether it is the basics or the fine points of a master class.

Anyway, her book on spinning cotton, flax and hemp is finished and will be out at the end of February, 2014.  Now, she again has some time for teaching. I suggest that everyone take advantage of this, and learn as much from her as possible.

Make up your list of questions, and take a class from her.  Soon.  She is not going to be out there teaching forever.

She had not seen me spin since Alden made the competition flier for me. Last night, her comment to me was, "You spin on a knife edge, with no room for error."  True.

I was spinning Irish tension, but while spinning DRS DD it had become my habit to hold my hands too close together.

The Master Teacher corrected a bad habit that I had acquired. Am I back to long draw on IT?  No, but I keep my hands farther apart and my drafting triangle is longer. There is still almost no visible motion in my hands.  Is this more ergonomic than long draw?  Not sure, but it is much faster.  I let the wheel do the work.  Why do I need to move the drafting triangle away from the wheel? To give me time to even out the yarn as it accumulates twist?  Why not just draft an even thread to start with?  What advantage is there to waving my arms around that I cannot achieve by proper wheel adjustment?

If I draft evenly, then I do not need to be waving my arms around, and keeping my drafting arm still helps me draft more evenly.

Here is what I think.  Long draw allows the storage of 100 to 200 twists to allow the twist to even out over a length of yarn. If you are spinning 1600 ypp singles, it takes 30" to 60"  inches to store that amount of  twist, and that requires long draw.  If you are spinning 40,000 ypp singles, then it only takes a few inches of yarn to store 200 twists, and long draw is not required.  However, these days nobody ever spends all their time spinning fines, and as they spin thicker threads, long draw becomes a habit, that carries over to when they are spinning fines.

If you disagree, meet me at the Lambtown Races.  I will be the guy spinning fines from Ann Harvey's Rambouillet. Buy me a couple of pints, promise to drive me home, and I will change my mind about long draw and twist.

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