Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tie One On

I'm not talking about a night full of drinking, but a much more tame evening focused on fiber.It's amazing how much our entertainment focus changes as we age! To play along at home, you'll need an empty bobbin, leftover yarn, and a pair of scissors. If you have a glass of wine or a beer sitting around, grab that too. It makes a nice addition to the project. I may be older, but I still do enjoy a nice drink now and again. So on to the fiber and spinning.

One of the first things I do when I sit down to spin is check the leader thread on my bobbin. To get started spinning using a spinning wheel, your bobbin needs to have a leader thread attached so you have a way to get the fiber to begin spinning up onto the bobbin. I have even seen leaders used on spindles; although I learned to use a spindle without a leader. If you are using a spindle and having problems getting started, try adding a leader. You don't have that option with a wheel, you need a leader thread.

My leader threads are usually made out of leftover sock yarn. If you don't have sock yarn, you could use any leftover yarn you have on hand. Although I find that I really like the weight of the sock yarn for a leader thread because it doesn't get in the way or take up much room on my bobbin especially when I'm spinning a fine thin singles. Another plus with the sock yarn is the amount of twist and overall strength of the yarn. The yarn leader does get it's fair share of abuse being wound and unwound around the bobbin. I've found my leaders made from sock yarn last the longest.

I cut a long piece of yarn to start, the longer the better for me. I'm guessing that I probably start with 2-3 feet. Tie one end of the leader onto the bobbin and then thread it through your flyer hooks or sliders and the orifice.I then create a loop at the end of my leader and I'm ready to get the fiber out. Some people actually tie their leader to the spinning fiber, but i use the loop and thread a small thin stretch of fiber through the loop and back onto itself to start.

I hold the fiber in my hand and and begin treadling to build up twist in my looped piece of fiber so it stays connected to the leader and will take up onto the bobbin. This is one reason why I like a long leader. It gives me a little time to get the twist from the leader into the spinning fiber and get my hands moving for the drafting. the loop also allows the fiber to separate from the leader in a clean way when you are plying of winding a skein of singles from the bobbin. The leader and loop is then ready for the next spinning project. I use this lead and loop method for spinning and plying. Occasionally when I have a lot of twist in a single or ply I have to cut or break the leader from the new yarn.that is the other reason for a nice long leader.

This is pretty a fairly basic step in spinning and I'm not sure it will be of use to anyone, but it is a place to start. I'm hoping to document more more spinning techniques that I use so we can compare and contrast the methods we all use. I know I still have a lot to learn. Anyway, now that you are all set to start, give the wheel a spin.

7 comments:

JennaKate said...

Thanks for sharing! I like your ideas about using sock yarn as a leader. I've been using some worsted-weight Bartlett's because its so wooly and sticky that the fiber grabs right on. It also breaks easily with a string tug, so I can break off the loop I've tied for n-plying and get a fresh end to work with. I might have to try sock yarn for my leader next time!

Bezzie said...

I'm lucky enough that my bobbins have built-in leaders!

turtlegirl76 said...

I appreciated this for sure! I like the loop method you use. Do you do the same for plying I imagine?

Telmah said...

My bobbins have leaders built in, but they are very short loops. I use whatever yarn's handy to make another loop through that loop to get a long enough leader... so the two are joined like a paper garland.

Zonda said...

:) As someone who personally was taught by you, I learned more from you then my class...

Julie said...

I use the loop method too.

Dawn said...

I'm curious about spinning (I have a friend who is just starting) and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed how clear this post was. I'm certainly looking forward to your future posts! :)