Guest Author - Laun Dunn
One of the most effortless looking spinning techniques is spinning from the fold. It can make the long staple fibers more manageable and make spinning a fine yarn much easier. This technique can be used on both plant and animal fibers and can help even a novice spinner create a smooth fine yarn.
It is essential to remember that all yarn spun from the fold will be smooth, so if you are looking for fluffy, try another technique. This is because the fibers are aligned and meld together.
To spin from the fold, begin with tufts of fiber. This is a great time to use a clean raw alpaca fleece or washed wool locks. Take a small handful of the locks and flick card the ends if they are clumpy at all. Lay them over your index finger of your fiber supply hand. Grasp the ends lightly between your ring finger and thumb. This creates a tunnel of fiber around your index finger. Pull a small amount of fiber over the tip of your index finger to create a drafting triangle. Place your leader over the top of the fiber supply on your finger and begin to draft. The fiber will slip neatly from your finger into the drafting zone.
The forward hand does not usually have much to do when spinning from the fold. It is mainly there to prevent any excess twist from entering the drafting zone. It can sometimes be used to forward draft if needed, but once you become accustomed to spinning from the fold, it is more of a backward drafting technique.
The backward draft length can also help in determining the fineness of the yarn. The longer the draw, the finer the yarn result. This can be a real advantage especially if you do not have whorls that can be changed out.
Line flax can also be spun from the fold. This eliminates the need for dressing the distaff and saves a great deal of time in the process. When spinning flax from the fold the forward hand does need to pinch more often and can also draft the fibers forward when needed.
Other long staple fibers can also be tamed with this technique. My personal favorites are any suri llama or alpaca fibers and combed tops of any variety.