Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

2 and 3 ply yarns.
2 and 3 ply yarns, woolen spun.


How do you draft? My default draft is woolen. I used to never draft worsted, but I have learned to (almost) love it. The type of draft can change so many things about your yarn, you better believe I use drafting style to help create the yarn I want to knit with.

When I draft woolen I draft backwards, when I draft worsted I usually draft backwards too. Some spinners find that odd, I’ve even heard the word, wrong.

So tell me how do you draft and in which direction?





Spin those singles!
Spin those singles!

Have you seen Amy King’s new Craftsy class Spinning Stupendous Singles? Amy is my singles spinning hero and this class is great.

If you are new to spinning singles, need some reminders or practice, or want tips to make your singles better, grab your wheel and fiber and settle in for an informative and fun few hours.

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Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

4 thoughts on “Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

  1. sewsable

    I draft forward if doing worsted, I find I have better control, but when doing woolen I draft backwards. I need to practice my woolen more though

  2. Karrie

    I mostly spin worsted, rarely spin woolen but I do both forward. The curious part I’m right handed but draft with my left. I thread sewing needles with my left too.

  3. Andrea

    Oh, Jillian, I am so glad to read this. You have highlighted exactly why I have a pet peeve with draft names – it has *nothing* to do with direction (that I have been able to ascertain) and *everything* to do with how the fiber is *tensioned* as the twist enters it. Remember Allen Fannin’s book? He spun woolen drafting forward. It has nothing to do with direction. I think talking about the direction of a draft confuses spinners unnecessarily. Not that I’m out to rename all the drafts. But I will preach about drafting with and without twist to all the handspinners until the cows come home, in the hopes it will make their spinning more logical for them. 🙂

  4. Jane Nikkel

    I think of worsted as not letting the twist move in until you’re finished drafting. Two separate steps (and, yes, I do it forwards). Woolen is letting twist into while you are still drafting. And I do it backwards. Mostly.

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