Tuesday 22 October 2013

Spinning Update

I realise that though I have been spinning like a mad thing lately I haven't really talked about it much on the blog.  I have found that spinning on my supported spindles keeps me sane.  The smooth even twirling on the spindle and the soft even drafting of beautiful fibre is hypnotic and meditative.

The last time I talked about spinning was to mention it when I was talking about the New To You SAL.  I have now spun my first complete skein of yarn on my Tibetan Spindle from IST Crafts and fallen head over heels in love with spindling.

I used the Fyberspates fibre I talked about in my previous post and it was lovely to spin with the merino and silk.  The fibre was blended really well, so there were no lumps for me to deal with.  The stellina felt strange at first but I quickly got used to it.  I spun all the fibre in one continuous single.  This spindle is incredibly fast and this leads to very fine spinning.  The nature of the fibre also meant that even though it was very fine, it also spun up incredibly quickly.

Every time the spindle got full I wound it onto a plying ball, which I started by needle felting a small lump of wool fibre into a ball about the size of a walnut.  I then wound the single off the spindle by hand, which helped even out the twist in the single as I went.


When it came time to join the single from the spindle to the end of the singles wrapped around the plying ball, I employed a technique shown on the Yarnraising Podcast.  I simply treated the end of the single on the plying ball as though it was fibre about to be spun onto the spindle and spun the two ends together.  I could then wind the singles on the spindle onto the plying ball and it would be one continuous strand.

When I got to the end of the spinning I decided I would try chain or Navajo plying.  The following video is the one I watched when finding out how this kind of plying was done.

I tried by starting off doing the chaining and the plying at the same time, and failed miserably.  Instead I did the chaining straight onto another plying ball, which meant that the big loopy chains were ready to be plied, without getting myself in knots.  I watched another video to see how that was done.  This video has weird interference for the first few seconds and then evens out.

Once the chained singles were finished, I spun them in the opposite direction from the singles, to ply those chains together to form yarn.  To spin in the opposite direction I spun using my left hand.  It was much easier than I thought it would be to spin in the opposite direction by changing hands, rather than changing direction with my right hand.  I like that it means you don't have to think about which way you are going to be flicking the spindle.

With this style of plying you can see the little bumps caused by the parts where the chain junctions are, but you do have to look closely. I like how it keeps the different sections of colour together.  Once I had my plied yarn spun, I wound each section onto a niddy noddy and tied it in several places with spare sock yarn.


The main problem with plying on a spindle is you do end up with several smaller skeins because of the limits of how much a spindle can hold.  To deal with this I simply tied the ends of the different sections of spun yarn together.  I will sort out the simple knots when I knit the yarn.

Once made into a hank, I soaked it in a tepid sink of water with some Euclan for a while, to make sure the yarn was properly soaked.  I then squeezed out the water and gave it a good thwack against the bathroom tiles to try and align all the strands and make them grip together.  I don't think this technique works with superwash or other non-scaled fibres.  I left the hank to dry before rewinding it round the niddy noddy to see how much yarn I had.  The finished fibre weighed 114g and measured approximately 210m/230yds.

Fyberspates Sparkle 04

The finished yarn is a light fingering weight or 3ply.  It is very dense because it is so tightly spun.  I think I will try and learn how to spin with less twist.

Fyberspates Sparkle 05

I love how the yarn turned out and it will definitely get used, when the right pattern crops up.  I won't be in a hurry to chain ply again, as it is an added complication, however I will probably use it when I want to keep blocks of colour together, as this an easy way to achieve that effect.

I'm really pleased that I joined in with the New To You SAL, it taught me a lot and resulted in an increased confidence in my spinning, and confirmed how much I love it.


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