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Longing for Longdraw

Longdraw or woolen spinning has long (ha!) been on my list of things a spinner should try but it’s just seemed too scary and difficult to do. Many a Tour I’d plan to teach myself longdraw and then never did. What actually pushed me over the edge of was, surprise surprise, pretty fiber.

It started out with this. I got 50 g of Finn sheep roving (like actual woolen prep roving) from the Tampere crafts fair last fall.

Then I went to a knitting retreat in April where we had a dye workshop. This is dyed with, would you believe it, Kool-Aid! Too bad I didn’t take a photo of it in the plastic bowl with three flavors of Kool-Aid sprinkled on top – it looked vile! And when dry, turned miraculously into this soft pastel braid. Now this I couldn’t resist!

I still find longdraw difficult and intimidating. It’s one thing to know how it works in theory and completely different when you’re trying it in practice. What was even more frustrating was that the three spinning books I looked up had three completely different methods for doing longdraw. I didn’t know what I was doing, the books weren’t very helpful and needless to say, there was a lot of wasted fiber. But I did manage to get something on the bobbin.

OK, I don’t know what happened here. I’d split the braid in two and weighed each half to get equal amount on both bobbins, even weighed the amount of waste and still got uneven bobbins. Whatevs.

Plying… wasn’t actually that bad. The singles held together surprisingly well. Of course there were some thin bits but nothing as bad as I’d feared, judging by how frustrating it was to spin the singles. I applied quite a lot of plying twist (more than on my worsted-spun yarns) and the skein was lightly twisty straight off the wheel.

But, washed and finished and thwacked, it looks quite lovely. Just enough to knit a pair of fingerless mitts.

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