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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MG: uninspired

once upon a time, there was a little footlet. it was an innocent little red footlet. some stressed perfectionist came along and ruthlessly frogged said footlet despite nice comments and kind testimonies of lovely people on its behalf.

but then little red footlet re-emerged, phoenix-like, out of crumpled, frogged yarn to henceforth be known as fawkes. (as you can see, evil mastermind--clawed paws and all--approve)

this is my third sock in contiguous projects. i'm restless for something big, but knitting ennui has seized me. feeling uninspired. fawkes stalled; i swatched linen for a warm-weather cardigan, and the swatch lingers unwashed and unmeasured...

spinning continues unabated, thanks in part to lovely new fibers to play with.

books who improved my cotton longdraw: The Ashford Book of Spinning (scroll down). a nice book of basic terminology, materials, and techniques. wools, carding, wheel parts, fine versus bulky, wpi, twist angles, plying, dyeing. includes photos for short backward draft; short forward draft; medium draft (what Simmons calls point-of-contact?); and long draft.

Paula Simmons' Spinning and Weaving with Wool. a lovely book with abundant information. carder porn, wheel porn, spindle spinning, wheel spinning, Great Wheel spinning, weaving, even building your own wheel and loom. sections on fine spinning, heavy spinning, overtwists, consistency, and speed. includes photos for short draw; long draw (found this one a little vague); unsupported long draw; and point-of-contact long draw.

some things i learned:
a) over-the-fold is not so much a drafting mechanism as a fiber position in contrast with spinning from the tips. over-the-fold is often done longdraw, but spinners also spin shortdraw from the fold. other fun things in this category are rolags and punis.
b) i'm usually an over-the-fold, point-of-contact, longdraw spinner.
c) shortdraw can be done backwards (fiber-supply hand drafts) as well as forwards (front hand drafts, i.e. inchworm).
d) there are many many variations on the longdraw.
e) Simmons' point-of-contact hand position was particularly helpful. i realized--for me--longdraw from the tips works best with the back of my hand (towards the pinky) as the pulling force, while the thumb and index finger (and sometimes middle finger) press gently on the fiber supply. the opposite is true for over-the-fold.

i now know the wherefores of Lendrum quill heads. i covet one, for cotton spinning... and maybe plying. i've also been spinning shetland (mmm... shetland). made a sample card this time; it really helps!

larger version here

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