When the Urge Hits You

I don’t know about you, but my creative urges typically hit me late at night. Living in a small town, most stores close between 5 and 7 pm, except for good, ole Walmart which stays open till midnight. Of course, the nearest LYS is a half hour drive away. So, the chances of me obtaining a 2nd spindle at ten o’clock last night were nil.

My 1st spindle is hard at work spinning the brown roving from Serenity Sheep Woolens into yarn.

Yet, I had to ply my 1st handspun ball of wool together. I had to.

So, I drug out my kitchen scale and attempted to equally divide the ball of yarn. (Note to self: Buy a digital kitchen scale).

Then, holding the (inexact) middle point in my left hand, I drew out an equal length of yarn from my now 2 balls of yarn. The laws of Physics took over. The yarn fell back onto itself, naturally plying together until it was completely balanced. I repeated these steps twice over until I had a length of plyed yarn measuring approximately 3 yards.

Next, I wound up the plyed yarn into a small ball. Retrieving the rubber band from my hair, I wrapped it around the ball.

Again, I drew out an equal length of yarn from each of the two balls. I pinched the yarns together at the point where they met the two balls of single plyed yarn. Then, I stood on chair, holding my hands out in front of me, and let gravity do the rest.

You’ll forgive the lack of process pictures. I didn’t think the blogland needed to see a picture of me in my pajamas with my hair in shambles. A scary sight if ever there was one.

Instead, I will show you a picture of my handspun, two-plyed yarn cake. The yarn is bulky, measuring about 3 wpi (wraps per inch).

If you look closely at the separate length of yarn that was left over once I had plyed the balls together (a reminder that my kitchen scale lacks precision), you’ll notice that the yarn is not tightly plyed.

This is not a mark against my resourceful (a.k.a. cheap) method of plying. Rather it is a mark against the lack of tension I spun into the single plyed yarn.

As Merike Saarniit taught in her Spinning for Knitting class, “If you want it [the yarn] strong and tighter, you’ll need more twist on your singles – NOT more twist in your plying.” I highly recommend her class, assuming they are still offering it. I took Merike’s class at Stitches East in Baltimore, Maryland two years ago.

The only technique she didn’t discuss in her class was pre-drafting. I’ve found that the more you pre-draft the fiber, the easier it is to spin. Plus, it gives you a more consistent yarn. As Windyridge says, “Preparation is key. What you put in – you get out.”

As to what my plans are for this newly plyed wool, I’m not exactly sure. Last night I fell asleep with cabled pillows dancing in my head.