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.


9 thoughts on “When the Urge Hits You

  1. Awe… come on… share the photo’s! I won’t laugh, I promise ;) At least not loud enough for you to hear! LOL, well if there aren’t any photo’s the work imagery did wonders already, I am still grinning with the images of the event your words to describe it were able to conger up.

  2. That yarn looks lovely. The beauty of spinning is imagining the possibilities. You can spin with a project in mind…or not. Sometimes, months later the yarn will speak to you and you will know what you want to make with it.
    Our closest LYS is 40 minutes away! So I order mostly everything online.

  3. The yarn looks great! Your spindle is different than the ones I have – it’s cool that you have it wound into a nice little ball. Very convenient!

  4. Oh my gosh, I so hear you on the inspiration striking at awkward times, lol… I love your solution, excellent creative problem solving! :) And the yarn came out *very* nice… (Really need to give my drop spindle another try…)

  5. Good job, yes the spinning bug has really hit you!! In your pj’s no less. I’m getting my drop spindle out now…….and it will be your fault if my Visa card gets involved in this.

  6. What a hoot! I can’t count the times that I’ve been in bed, got an idea, tippytoed out of the bedroom, and been up for a few hours trying it out. I’ve sort of done your plying by laying the singles out on the floor.
    Good thinking, woman.

  7. Wow. I never knew you could have a spindle like that. Mine are very different from yours. I like the small ball you have made. Isn’t that funny how all good ideas come when you are trying to go to sleep. I think this says something about the human mind – maybe we should learn to ‘ponder’ or think more often – like in those old Jane Austin books… oh I wish I lived in an old English mansion and could just sew all the time!

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