Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why you have to ply differently than you spin

Spinning: it's like life.  All about the balance.


(and yes, it's Wednesday, and you're not looking at finished socks!  after a crazy long run of photographing socks on my porch every Sunday afternoon, I am out of finished things to bore you with.)

So here's my story: I did make time this past weekend to ply the long-suffering, soon to be retired, Moxie-coloured fiber from Twisted Fiber Art.  First I weighed the four balls of singles to pair up similar weights - not a guarantee of matching length, but a start - and slipped two into the unappealing plastic bags that serve to keep the singles clean and tangle-free while I work.

Then it was time for plyfestings!

Yay, plied handspun.  I really, really love plying.  It's so simple, and so much faster than the original spinning, and at the end of it you have a lovely yarn that stands up to so much more than singles can.

Also: kind of magical how two singles ply into such a hugely bigger ball of yarn.

Even though it's just simple math really.

The only trouble with plying is that it's so amazingly fast and simple, it's easy to forget the one rule about it:

Ply in the direction opposite to that which you used to spin.

Because otherwise, this happens.

I got such a long way into both balls of singles before I noticed, too - halfway, at least.  It was just so nice sitting out on the porch, I wasn't paying attention to anything but the breeze and the blossoms and all the other nicenesses of Outside.

How to fix such a problem?  I don't know.  What I did in the end was

a/ wind all that I'd plied back onto the singles as though they were one lump and not two

b/ rejoin the end to the leader thread to start it back into the bobbin, and

c/ start spinning in the correct direction with my fingers carefully pinching off each section before I fed it back onto the bobbin.  That undid the wrongly-plied twist, and then retwisted it the way it was supposed to have gone in the first place.

It just didn't look nearly as pretty as it might have, if I'd hadn't messed up.

Still: handspun.  Never completely perfect, right?.

And one can always hope that any excess twisties in the second half of the ball will spread back into the sloppier first half, when I skein and block the yarn.

Which I'm sure I'll get around to eventually.

What about you?  You gonna get around to something you've been putting off, or start something new today?


Leslie said...

I'm glad you were able to salvage things...once when threading a set of towels on my big loom I had the great idea to move some of the stripes around...and ended up with the biggest tangle of yarns you've ever seen. I had to throw out that warp and start over. It was very difficult...

Mary Keenan said...

OW Leslie! That's a fear I have whenever I'm setting up the loom - what if I mess up and have to somehow start over? There pretty much is no start over ;^)