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Tips for Spinning Rolags

Here are a few tips if like me, you like the look and hand of handspun yarn spun from a rolag fibre preparation and a backward worsted spinning draft. Please note the following pointers are if you are spinning for a smooth, consistent yarn.

Sweet Georgia Yarns Tea Leaves Colourway

Fibre Preparation

  1. When creating rolags on the blending board, I reserve the blending brush for those very short fibres. When dealing with longer fibres using my hands alone to place the fibre on the board makes for a smoother fibre preparation.
  2. A fully loaded blending board, the way I load it, holds about 11-15 grams of fibre. Less is more. I find my spinning more consistent if after loading the blending board I doff four smaller rolags from the batt instead of one thicker rolag.
  3. When the board is loaded and ready for doffing, I give a short and light downward tug on the fibre in the fringe along the toe end of the board. This gently beds the fibre along the toe edge down into the teeth and minimizes lumps and bumps in that first rolag.
  4. I do not use every last bit of fibre on the board. I leave behind the shorter noily bits of fibre found at the heel end of the board. I prefer a nice even fibre prep devoid of lumps and bumps.


  1. Lightly pull a bit of fibre from one end of a rolag and take a closer look. A rolag is constructed with an S- or counter-clockwise twist. Why is this important? See #2 below.
  2. If I have a section of rolag that is not drafting as well as I would like, a slight turn of the wrist in a clockwise direction opens up that S-twist a bit. Please note, that I only use this action if needed.
  3. During spinning my forward hand is positioned in line with the orifice while my backhand is positioned slightly higher. Twist travels readily along a straight line. Having that slight angle between my front and back hands gives me a little more control over the twist because it cannot slip past my forward hand quite as easily all because of that slight angle.

Happy Spinning!

4 thoughts on “Tips for Spinning Rolags”

  1. Well, that was a revelation! An S instead of the usual Z spun rolag off the blending board drafts easily and doesn’t even need attenuation. Either I wasn’t listening, or I had never heard that before. Thank you so much! Does that work for rolags off carders as well?

    1. Hi Katherine, I want to make sure my post hasn’t muddied the waters. If you pull some fibre from the tip of a rolag you will see the fibres in the rolag have been rolled with an S-twist to them. When you spin the rolag with a Z twist, you are opening up that S-twisted rolag. This makes it easier to draft when you spin Z. If you spin a rolag with a S-twist you would be adding twist on twist and it wouldn’t draft quite as well.

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