Guest Author - Laun Dunn
Sometimes as we spin, we get some unintended results. How did they happen, more importantly, how can I fix them?
As we gain experience in spinning, we outgrow the obvious beginner difficulties and find a whole new set of challenges to conquer. Most often these can be solved with just a few tweaks.
Is your yarn doubling back on itself as it feeds onto the bobbin? Then it is over spun. This can usually be corrected by increasing the tension on the wheel to allow it to take up more readily. Prior to increasing the tension, be sure to examine the flyer for any stray strands that may have caught on the hooks. This can also prevent take-up and result in over spinning.
Over spinning can also be the result of having to fight with your fiber supply a bit more than you should. I find that I often over spin if there is too much vegetation in the fiber. In this case, it is best to stop spinning, get out the tweezers and lay the roving out on a table and pick out the vm (spinners lingo for vegetative matter). Begin by covering the table with a light colored sheet or cloth to make the vm more visible. This also makes it easy to move the roving in case you need to use the table for something else. I know it seems like an extra step, but one hour of frustration to pick a pound of fiber is far better than multiple hours of trying to pick it as you spin. To remove the vm without fraying the roving, place one hand on the roving so as to surround the offending hayseed, while using the tweezers to remove it. This will limit tearing up the roving. In the case of a really contaminated section, remove the entire section.
Lumpiness in your yarn is most often caused by having short fibers and second cuts in your spinning fiber. They can be removed fairly easily by flick carding the ends of the fiber if you are spinning from the lock. When they are incorporated into a roving or batt, they are very frustrating, but can be removed as they appear. Be sure when you are buying roving that you hold several lengths up in the light to see if there are seconds in the roving. They will be little dots that are far more opaque than the rest of the roving. While it is nearly impossible to remove all second cuts, an overabundance of them shows that the roving wasn’t created with the spinner of a smooth yarn in mind.
Lumps can also be caused by uneven drafting of the fiber. This is simply that a larger amount of fiber is included in that portion of the yarn than in the rest of it. An easy way to fix this is to grasp the yarn on either side of the thicker part, untwist it until you can gently pull the fibers until they match the rest of the yarn. When you release it again the twist will travel right into the newly evened section and you are right back in business. To prevent it from happening again, keep the fibers even by increasing the space between your hands. This will allow the fibers to slip past each other before the twist is added. If you are spinning single handedly, pre-drafting the fiber will help to correct the irregularity.