Controlling the Grist of Your Yarn

Sometimes after someone has been spinning for a while, they drift to spinning very fine yarns and are flummoxed as to how to create a thicker yarn. First, there is nothing wrong with continuing to spin fine if a fine yarn is what makes your heart sing. You can stick to those fine singles and just increase the number of plies in your yarn to get a thicker yarn. However, if you do want to be able to spin a thicker or thinner yarn as you choose, here are a few tips to help you control the grist of your yarn. Try one tip at a time and see which tip, or combination of tips, helps you to achieve those thicker singles.

It is easier to spin a fine yarn if you:

  • Spin at a higher ratio (smaller whorl).
  • Spin from a thin strip of fibre that has been pre-drafted quite well; giving you a fibre prep that is light and airy.
  • Spin further from your wheel’s orifice.
  • Decrease the tension on your brake band.
  • Look at your pinching fingers. For a fine yarn, you should pinch at the apex of your drafting triangle.

To achieve a thicker yarn:

  • Spin at a lower ratio (bigger whorl).
  • Spin from a thicker strip of fibre that has not been attenuated (pre-drafted) or that has only been lightly pre-drafted.
  • Spin closer to your wheel’s orifice.
  • Increase the tension on your brake band.
  • Your pinching fingers should come a little deeper into your drafting triangle.


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