The Fearless Challengers

So, 2 days of challenges aren’t enough for you??? :eyes: Well, then, welcome to “The Fearless Challengers” group! Maybe your craft room/house looks like the picture below and you want to knock out some serious spinning! Or maybe you’re just wanting to try something totally new for all or most of the time. Maybe you’re a spindle spinner and you want to learn to use a wheel, or vice versa, and want to really do some serious spinning to learn a new skill.

Whatever your challenge is, hop in and share what your goals are. We’ll be cheering you on and some of us will be crazy enough to join you!! (Again, feel free to join more than 1 group-- if you are a Rookie or a Regular and want to be challenged for more than just the 2 Challenge days, you are welcome to be in both groups.)


So I joined the Fearless Challengers for a couple of reasons. I have a goal to spin all or at least most of the Shetland fleece I have carded and dizzed into roving.

The other challenge is to learn the long draw technique. My issue is that I’m ending up with slubs. I’m aiming for a worsted to slightly bulky. Any suggestions? Tips? Favorite videos on the subject?
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I’m a novice long-draw spinner, so you can take this with a grain of salt. Are you doing supported long draw, pulling against your forward hand? Do the slubs draft out when you get on either side of them and untwist? (I would be doing this quite a lot, sort of pinching and pulling all along the way.) The yarn between the slubs looks super twisty so maybe going to a bigger whorl and/or treadling slower would help. I think you need a fairly strong take-up when spinning thicker so that yarn is sucked onto the bobbin before it has a chance to get over-twisted (that is, when you are ready to let it onto the bobbin). If the slubs are getting twist-locked before being drafted out, then I think twist is entering the newly forming yarn too fast. One technique involves actually letting out a huge blobby slub straight away, and then pulling it to the desired size. I think it’s a timing issue - wanting the fibers to be able to slide before locking them down. Here’s a video:

Another video, this one by Rachel Smith, that makes a lot of good points about long draw:

Thanks for these videos and insights–I’ll experiment with your suggestions. I also am using a 3-D printed bobbin I ordered off of Etsy and I’m wondering if it’s maybe not working quite the same as the wooden ones I have. I’m using the largest whorl I have and I seem to be going rather slow, I think. I’m sure it’s a matter of learning the technique, as I normally a worsted spinner, used to using the short forward draw and I spin usually more of a lace weight single.

I think my woolen spinning (or my version of it, anyway) is starting to get a bit more even, thanks to watching the videos recommended by @Carlota . The Rachel Smith one seemed to resonate with me the most. I’m thinking the yarn will lean more towards worsted weight than bulky weight, but I’m good with that. I plan to do a 2-ply.

I do think switching to the Akerworks bobbin I got yesterday in the mail is helping. I had purchased another 3-D bobbin on Ebay last year and it tends to slip and slide a bit and I think that’s affecting the spin. But this Akerworks bobbin runs like a wooden one and I really like it. I’ve looked at them for a long time and hated to spend that much on a bobbin, but I do like that it can be stored flat and I may invest in a couple more in the near future. Or I may also need to just empty some of my wooden ones and use them!
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That’s looking nice - glad your bobbin came. Your spinning looks good! Have you seen the Bobbins-Up storage bobbins from the Woolery for $5 each? They even have a little groove so you could put a brake band over them if plying. They come with an insert for a drill for winding. There was a speedy turnaround.

I am ordering 5 of them this evening! I had no idea there was something like this–thank you!

That’s great! I’m so pleased with mine and will like get a couple more. I hope I was clear that they are just for storage and not intended to be spun onto like your Akerworks. (When I said brake band I meant the brake band on the lazy Kate.)

Definitely, I understood that. They don’t look sturdy enough to be on spinning wheel, but perfect for extra storage. I have a battery drill that I bought for loading my weaving bobbins, so it will be handy to use for these.

Made some progress, but then again, progress sometimes is measured by what you’re learning more than how much you’ve accomplished, right?? I decided to re-watch the long-draw video by Rachel Smith, THIS time while actually at my wheel. I discovered what I had been doing was actually the short BACKWARD draw, not long draw, which made sense because I felt like I was actually just doing something very similar to the short forward draw, which is my default method. So I switched to what she actually demonstrated as the long draw (double-drafting method) and I was amazed at how different that was! It went smoother for the most part and also faster. So my biggest challenge now is getting back to making sure it’s even and not too thin. But I’m sure if I work at this every day, it will continue to improve. When I realize how much I’ve learned since Saturday, I’m confident this tour of SdF will help me get this down pat.

I’m posting Sunday’s picture and then yesterday’s picture to show the progress I’ve made. Slow but steady!! I got in probably about an hour (or maybe a little more) of spinning time. (or time sitting at the wheel watching part of Rachel’s video, so I’ll count that as part of my spinning time)
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It sounds like you are learning a lot.

That is awesome! I am so often amazed by re-watching or re-reading materials multiple times and feeling like I soak up so much more later. When there is a leap of progress it is so satisfying. It takes commitment to get better at something you can sort of already do well enough. It looks like you are on a roll!

Thanks! Yes, @FreedomLover - I feel like I am learning a lot on this. Right now it’s mostly head knowledge; I’m waiting for it to translate to muscle memory, and it becomes more natural and even.

@Carlota - I agree. Sometimes when you’re learning something new, you’re overwhelmed and don’t get it all the first time. I’m looking forward to tonight’s spin!

Time to update again!!It’s been far too long since I posted. Last week I took my wheel with me on a “girlfriend getaway” where we stayed at a cabin. I got in a couple good evenings of spinning. Since then, as of yesterday, I finally finished spinning all the Shetland fleece that I had carded. Some of it won’t work for this project since I used a picker and it just left all kinds of neps and noils, so I plan to try and just card that up and save it for another time where I can maybe work in some other silk bits or something and do a project where neps and noils are a good thing!

But now today I’ve started plying, so I should be able to have this all plied by tomorrow hopefully, or Friday at the latest. So I’m thrilled to have learned the hang of the long draw and to have actually processed a Shetland fleece from beginning to end!

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That’s looking beautiful - I love a bunch of full bobbins!

What a fun way to get some spinning done! Anxious to see it all done (and knitted up!)

This looks great, and that cabin looks like the perfect getaway.

This is nice. It looks kind of rustic. I would like to see what it looks like when you ply this. Good job.

Looking great! I love the natural browns.