Bobbin Leaders

I heard from a spinner recently about the problems she was having with her wheel. In this case, much of the problem was caused by her have bobbin leaders that slipped. So I was going to write and tell her how I did my bobbin leaders and the little light bulb came on and I realized that others might care too.

Traditionally, bobbin leads are made out of a length of (preferably hand spun) wool. You 'feather' the lead and incorporate the fibers you're spinning with it. For many newish spinners, this is a troublesome skill to learn. Plus, with time, you have to keep re-attaching new bobbin leaders.

If you normally spin wool or other protein-based fibers, then use cotton for your leader. It is less likely the fibers will get intermixed, and easier to disconnect the yarn from the leader. Years ago I purchased a good-sized cone of 20/2 cotton which I've been using for leas ties and bobbin leaders. I suspect that if I keep spinning into my 90's I will use this cone of yarn up. Short of using a real chunky yarn for your leaders, I don't think the size really matters.

Measure about 2.5 times the length of cotton that you want the end leader to be. You want the finished leader to be long enough that doubled, it will go twice around the bobbin core, over the hooks, through the orifice, and extend about seven inches. (I suspect that there's a take-off on the Christmas carol, Jingle Bells, in there somewhere.)

Take the two ends, and knot them together. Holding the knot end near the bobbin core, wind the bobbin lead loop once on the left of the knot and once on the right. pull the loop through the knot end and tighten it all down.

So, what does this give you? Well, it gives you a bobbin lead that won't unwind whether or not you plying or spinning your singles. Because the knot end is at the bobbin core, you are less likely to get the yarn incorporated with the leader. Take the leader over the hooks, and through the orifice, and you're ready to spin.

When you go to attach your fiber to the bobbin lead, open up the loop, thread the new fiber through and back about an inch. Then start spinning.

If you mainly spin cellulose fibers, using a wool leader will provide the same non-adhering benefit.

If you have comments, please send email to: Rosemary Brock.

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