This was a recent poll over on Knitty's spinning forum. I chose, "Some. If it's nicely prepared to start with, I just loosen it up." which seems to be the majority consensus over not pre-drafting and pre-drafting down to spinning thickness.
Besides pre-drafting I'm known to split my roving or top lengthwise. Sorry if that makes anyone shudder -- I'm a dyed-in-the-wool woolen spinner, so it doesn't bother me if my top is muddled a little in the splitting process. And with really thick top, I want the color changes sooner than I'd get them if all I did was draft.
Janel Laidman recently discussed breaking roving/top lengthwise to play with the colors in her Spin-off article on fractal plying. This is really cool -- I did a small sample, and am now spinning up the first half of a second fractal plying experiment. These will both look terrific in socks!
The other thing I do that seems to run counter-culture to the spinners I spin with is break my roving up -- the piece I'm working with is usually a foot or less in length (less when I'm working with blends of different staple lengths). I find this helps keep the color changes cleaner, and with blends, makes sure the longest staple length doesn't push all the short stapled fibers to the end of the line. It also helps make sure my fiber doesn't get hand-felted ;-)
You can see me breaking up batts into these hand-sized pieces on How do you spin a batt? and Teyani talks about breaking pencil roving into foot-long lengths in her discussion on spinning Sock Hop yarn. I've taken her advice -- it works very nicely!
Okay -- so I know a picture's worth a thousand words. Tell me, which of the above would you like a picture of? I'll take it and add it to this post :-)
What about you? do you pre-draft before you spin? when/why/why not? Thanks!
Awesome tutorial! I'm a new spinner (drop spindle) and I pre-draft. I just ordered some batts of fiber, and had no idea how to spin them up (I learned with top). Thanks so much!
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