Bradford Guild Of Handweavers, Spinners & Dyers

Hints and Tips


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Supported Spinning – My Journey to Laceweight Yarn     


Whilst waiting for some hints and tips from our wonderfully
talented Guild members I thought I’d try a spot of supported spinning.

I understand supported spindles come in all types, shapes
and sizes but I settled on 2.  I thought
I’d try a Russian spindle and a Tibetan spindle. I also purchased a matching
bowl all made by J.A.G Drake and available from Adelaide Walker in Addingham.


I’d heard starting off can be a pain but this was ok for
me.  I typically start my drop spindling
by hanging the hook on the fibre and twisting until I get a decent length to
secure around the spindle shaft.  I more
or less did the same thing with the supported spindles.


Keeping the spindle moving – tick

Drafting out fibre – tick

Keeping spindle moving whilst drafting out fibre – no tick!

Despite the above, my park and draft is getting a good workout
as this is all I can accomplish at this early stage of supported spinning. My
longdraw technique is also coming on BUT my yarn falls apart or breaks.  I am trying to think about my twist and my
light handling of the fibre supply keeping the spindle moving and there are
moments I feel like an expert as I spin and then butterfly my lovely fine yarn
around my fingers before making a neat cob on the spindle shaft. It is
shortlived! My spindle (as it can’t be me!) decides to remind me that it is a
sophisticated piece of equipment which needs attention and the fibre joins in
for company!! I need twist cries the fibre! I need smooth motion bellows the
spindle.  I need Prosecco weeps the

I have to say despite the above I persevere and in all
honesty am beginning to enjoy it.  I set
myself a challenge to spin 15g of fibre (mostly Shetland) and to try and spin
thinner each time. I also throw in a spot of natural dyeing using Avocado skin
and stone!  My samples started at the
equivalent of 360m/100g and my last sample (merino) was spun at the equivalent
of 800m/100g – YEAH!!! 

My tips are:

Practice spinning the spindle without fibre; use rolags
where possible; keep your rolags light and fluffy, have the lightest touch when
drafting back, be prepared for wastage; keep Prosecco chilled!



In addition, if anyone has any great spinning, weaving, dyeing tips - please again feel free to share

Thanks in advance

Webmaster - Bradford Guild



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