Plying My Homespun Yarn – Part 2

IMG_0796In the last week since I learned how to spin yarn, I have been spinning every day.  It is rather addictive.  I also rather like plying my yarn too.  I tend to over spin without treadling too quickly, but I have managed to find my way to plying a balanced yarn.  I wouldn’t even be able to explain it, but I do it by feel.   It might be a bit unconventional, but hey, that is how I like to roll.  As long as it works, does it really matter how you get there?  I have also been working on trying to spin thin yarn.  The more I spin, the thinner I have gotten.  It may not be consistent, but it is thin.  Considering that it has been just over a week since I learned how to spin yarn, I think I am doing ok.  Let me tell you about the yarns above.

A.    Corriedale or Shetland, I don’t know as it was unlabelled.  The first yarn I spun without a lesson, but plied with thread after my lesson.  I really like the twistiness of this yarn.  People actually make this on purpose as Art Yarn.

B. Corriedale (blue) plied with the gold mixed in a batt of mixed breed fibers from a rolag.  A chunky thick and thin.  

C. Blue Corriedale plied with the remaining gold mix and just gold (that my friend started to ply) that was left on the bobbin.  This one is a bit thinner than B.  

D. Blue Corriedale plied with the blue Corriedale and the mixed breed batt spun from rolags.

E.  I had some leftover single of the yarn spun from blue rolags and watched a video on how to ply a single into a 2-ply.  Have a look at Grace Shalom Hopkins on YouTube.  I have found her videos really helpful, especially the latest ones.  Spinning a single into a 2-ply is a great way of making small samples and finding a way to use up that small amount of leftover single ply.

F.  By this time I needed a bit of color.  I thought the green was Corriedale as I got it in a mixed bag of unmarked wool and it was a little rough, but it actually turned out to be 23 micron merino.  I found this difficult to ply to start with as it kept breaking off.  I was attempting to ply across the top of the roving as one would with a multi-colored roving.  In any event, I managed to get a groove and a method, and plied a thin yarn with no more mishaps.  I then added pink merino so I could ply the two together from one single.  I also made a small batt with the same colors and some bling fibers as I want to try spinning from a batt.

Downloads-001I am really happy with how this turned out.  I managed to get a balanced yarn the first time.  As this is merino, it is very soft.  I have been knitting up some squares of my samples which will ultimately be used in a blanket.

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This is from B and C.  For B I used a 10.5 US needle and 12 stitches to get a 4inch square and for C I used a 9US needle and 16 stitches to get 5 inches.  I still need to knit samples of the others.  

One of the things I really wanted to try spinning with is sari silk fibers.  I have so much of it as I use it as extra bling and texture for my scarves on top of viscose.  I have purchased sari silk yarn, but it can be really thick and a bit fuzzy.  I haven’t been overly impressed with my purchases of sari silk yarn and wanted to make my own, so that is what I did.  Firstly, I tried YouTube and found only one decent video on how to spin sari silk yarn.  However, I just decided to give it a go and see what happens.

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I purchase all of my sari silk fibers from World of Wool.  They have a great variety of colors and I have a few favorites.  This one is called Flamingo.  I have two 100g bags of it, so I had plenty to spare to spin a little bit.  It is a real challenge to spin a consistent single from sari silk fibers as there are lots of colored threads in the mix and the fibers don’t draught as easily as wool, so I got a bit of super thin, like thread, and a little bit thick.  Fortunately the thick bits are still very thin.  I thought the really thin bits would break, but silk is very strong.  I left the yarn on the bobbin overnight.  I had another look at the sari silk yarn I purchased and saw that they were all spun singles.  What to do?  My yarn was quite twisty, so I spun it in the other direction to take some of the twist out of it.  I spun it really quickly as I didn’t want to undo all of the twist.  It worked a treat and now I have a nice thin silk yarn to add as an embellishment to my scarves and hats.  

So, that is me with my spinning adventures.  Now that I feel I am getting the hang of spinning, I can get back to felting.  I still need to learn how to spin from batts and how to make 3-ply yarn.  I shall probably have a go at that soon.  I have been watching YouTube videos and they are starting to make sense to me.  So are the spinning books I purchased.  I am having to learn new terms for things, like worsted and woolen?  In the old days of knitting, I would just buy a pattern I liked and the yarn to go with it.  Now I will need to learn how to spin in different ways for knitting different things.  I have decided on one thing I will definitely not be doing.  I will not be buying a fleece for processing and spinning.  I thought it might be a nice idea at one time, but time isn’t something I have a lot of right now as I have too many interests.  One can’t do everything! 🙂