Saturday, September 28, 2013

Long Draw

Long draw with driven spindles was one of the enabling technologies that made wool cloth less expensive, increased warmth for the masses, and made civilization in Europe possible.

Long draw with a great wheel is the traditional way to spin a lot of fine woolen yarn quickly.  See AA, The Big Blue Book, page 240.

However, with all due respect to AA and the big yellow strobe light that indicates the precise speed of all rotations at Dragonfly Farms, 20 years after AA wrote that, he made me flier/bobbin assemblies that do routinely spin at speeds between 2,400 and 3,600 rpm as indicated by my digital tachometer.

The great advantage of long draw is that it allows one handed drafting, while the other hand drives the spindle at great speed.

If I can drive a flier/bobbin assembly at a higher average speed, then my  flier/bobbin assembly can produce more yarn than the driven spindle.  And, since I use both hands to control fiber flow, I have more drafting options.  I can produce a pure worsted yarn.  Or, with a tiny change in hand position, a tiny change in how I pinch the yarn, and a change in fiber preparation,  I can allow twist to run into the fiber mass and produce a pure woolen yarn.  Since my flier/bobbin assembly is inserting twist as fast as a great wheel, I can produce pure woolen yarn as fast as I could using long draw and a great wheel.

On the other hand, long draw produces a more consistent, and higher quality yarn.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I do not really see a difference in fines or mediums. If there is an advantage, it would be with short fibers such as cotton.

The bottom line is that for a long time, I wanted a great wheel, but over the last year, that desire has gone away as I learned to produce similar threads at similar speeds on a  flier/bobbin assembly.  Since, I have both hands available to draft, the need for long draw has also gone away.

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