In the previous Tips And Tricks Thursday posts, I shared some great videos by others and info on how to get you started spinning. Starting with today’s post, I thought we would get a little bit more nitty gritty. Did you know that there are four different types/styles of spinning? I’m sure that there are actually more because each spinner has their own style, but MOST fall into four categories:
Over the next four Tips and Tricks Thursday post, we’ll be diving into these, starting today with worsted.
The definition of worsted spinning, according to Lee Juvan in her Knitty.com article “Worsted Yarns and Worsted Spinning”, is “a yarn spun from parallel fibers that have been combed (not carded) to remove shorter bits and spun with a short draw to keep the fibers in their parallel alignment.” Another key feature of this style of spinning as noted by Judith MacKenzie in “A Spinner’s Toolbox” is that the twist doesn’t enter the web. So as you are spinning, the twist never travels past your forward hand into the fiber. To be really technical, the twist never enters the drafting triangle or the fiber between your hands.
I found a really lovely video demonstration of worsted spinning by ruthmacgregor on youtube, which show these principles in action:
This is my favorite way of spinning or drafting technique because it is the first way that I learned so it is the method that I am most comfortable with. The key points to keep in mind are:
- use combed top for your fiber preparation
- use a short forward or backward drafting motions
- no twist should enter the fiber between your hands
Worsted spun (not to be confused with worsted weight) yarns tend to be very smooth and dense and show off the luster of the fiber. They are not especially stretchy or springy but they do tend to be harder wearing. This type of spinning is ideal if your are planning to knit socks from your handspun.
For anyone who enjoys reading, especially about history and textiles, I’ve found a very interesting book available for online reading titled “Principles of Worsted Spinning” by Howard Priestman. Written in 1906, this book explains the history of worsted spinning and the ins and outs of homespun and commercial spinning. It covers just about everything your might want to know about this type of spinning in its 354 pages.
So if this spinning method is new to you I encourage you to try it out!