Wow! That is PINK!

So the last week or so several folks have been having great spinning discussions on Shell’s blog. I have to say I have enjoyed reading the comments and replies over there. I decided to chime in on how I do my fiber prep for spinning.

(Disclaimer:  I consider myself a newb to spinning. I have been spinning for about 1.5 years, the first year on a drop spindle and the last half year on my wheel. I’m sure there are many ways to do things, but I think it is important to try several before you settle on one.)

Most of the fiber I have spun with so far has come in something called a “Braid”. This is typically a long piece of roving  commercial top that has been chained together for easy mailing/dyeing/storing.

Edited to add:

In the comments Kara makes an excellent point. I am using the wrong terms for things, but in my defense when you look up the definition for roving vs top (via Abby’s Yarns) it doesn’t really help the confusion. I would have considered what comes in a braid a roving based on the definition of roving which is a long cord about wrist thick. It wasn’t until I found this photo from a 2007 Spinning Daily article that I really “got it” after reading Kara’s comment.  Types of FiberThe commerical top is the green in the top center and the roving right below it. The difference between the two is really evident from that photo, but not so much from the definitions themselves if you are not a person that does things like carding, etc to fiber.










Back to your regurally scheduled blog post!


This is some lovely fiber from TheFirstDraft on Etsy. SW BFL if you are interested.

Most  of my spinning has been traditional 2-ply.  This means I split the fiber in half and spin each half onto one bobbin and then ply those 2 bobbins together. So for a 2-ply I take the braid and undo it leaving me a long piece of fiber. I fold it in half and pull it apart into 2 pieces.

One half will get set aside and I will work with the first half.  I take the first piece and I split it into smaller strips lengthwise (the full length of the piece). These strips are about 2 fingers wide.  Each strip is then fluffed out a bit. I do this by pulling the fiber away from itself like you do to draft. (I don’t have a photo of this because it is hard to photograph by myself!) It’s not completely drafted out, but just lightly.

Usually I get about 4-5 strips like this out of 20z (half of 40z) of fiber. They are then rolled into “bird’s nests”. 


This is a bird’s nest after it has been fluffed out. You can see that the fiber is fluffed out a bit. 

I find the fluffing to really help me with drafting while I’m spinning. It helps me maintain consistency in my singles.


Another shot of a bird’s nest.  They are easily portable and give me a good stopping point while spinning too!


So that is a short explanation of how I get ready to spin some fiber. Hope that helps someone out there!

I started spinning this last night because I was battling casting on another knitting project. I can’t belive how PINK this fiber is! It’s a good mix of grey and pink. Definitely not my colors, but I think I already have a home for this once it is finished. I’m really enjoying the superwash BFL which is a new fiber to me. I have spun non-superwash BFL before but not SW. The super wash is spinning up finer and is less grippy than the regular BFL. It will still be very lofty and light when spun up like regular BFL.

How do you prep for spinning? Do you prep all your fiber at once, or just sit down and start spinning?

Until next time..


10 thoughts on “Wow! That is PINK!

  1. I am glad you’ve been enjoying the discussions. I have too! I love learning how people do things. Love that color, it is bright but my guess is once plied it will tone down a ton.

    And now I am going to be your friendly neighborhood know it all and hopefully you won’t hate me forever. Because I know you are learning terms, and well, after 6 yrs of spinning, so am I!

    Roving, while often used for braids, is actually a term for a very specific fiber prep. What you have, and what most braids are, is “Wool Top.” Many Etsy sellers who are dyers but not spinners don’t know the difference and just refer to everything as roving. Same with many newer spinners. But I know you like technical stuff too, so I am giving you the correct term. I can tell you this, changing this terminology is a long term project for me, I often slip up.

    Also, what you are describing would fall under predrafing rather than fiber prep I believe. Fiber prep would be stuff like combing fiber, blending, drum carding, flick carding, hand carding, color blending on a blending board, etc. Predrafting is what you are doing to already prepped fiber before spinning it. I would say even my “fauxlags” would fall under predrafting. As well as any separating of fluffing or pulling on the fiber that you do right before you spin it.

    And seriously, I can’t stop looking at that bobbin. It is pink, but there’s a ton of purple on there too!

    • Thanks for the clarification. I have updated the post above to change some things. The photo isn’t doing the spinning justice. It’s not purple. It’s a really lovely grey that keeps turning out purple in the photos!

      • Grey is SUCH a funny color to capture. Hope I get to see it in person soon!

  2. That photo is AWESOME! What a great representation of the differences for anyone (like me) who struggles to understand it all without being able to see and get her hands on it! Nice find!

  3. I have spun 3 times, haha. I have tried not doing a single thing, predrafting and birds nesting, and not doing a single thing.

    I found once I figured out drafting that I did not need to predraft as much. I am looking forward to breaking into my 4th braid.

    Molly : )

  4. I guess I never actually answered your question. I tend to not do much in the way of predrafting. I don’t like to, and I like the way commercial top spins without it. If I want to do a fractal spun yarn, then I do some dividing, usually all at once. If I am spinning from batts, I usually just pull a chunk lengthwise off the batt to spin. I guess it tends to depend on what I want to achieve, but I lean toward no predrafting at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s