Like so many spinners, I learned to spin on a wheel with a high uptake tension. This is also sometimes described as a “strong draw.” I was mystified by the more experienced spinners I encountered who would spin delicate, consistent yarns comfortably. "Comfortably" being the key word here . . . I learned to spin fine yarns consistently, but it caused pain in my hands. In my first class with Judith MacKenzie, she watched my white-knuckling as I spun my laceweight yarns and then showed me a trick I continue to use today: cross-lacing.
What is cross-lacing?
Cross-lacing is simply lengthening the circuitous route your handspun single makes when it leaves your hands and winds onto the bobbin. By lacing yarn back and forth across the wheel’s flyer so that the yarn moves from the hooks on one side of the bobbin to the other, it reduces the pull that you feel in your hands as you spin.
This is not only an important trick to have up your spinner’s sleeve for fine yarns, which need a delicate uptake, but also for slippery or short fibers. If you’ve ever felt like you were holding onto your fiber for dear life as your wheel pulled it away from you, cross-lacing is worth a try.
In Judith’s new online spinning course, Spinning Wild & Unusual Silk, she uses cross-lacing to comfortably spin luscious, slippery silk into fine, firm yarns. Give it a try!