I am definitely more of a product knitter. I tend to scroll through the pattern pages on Ravelry, find the item I want to own, and then find / buy the yarn before casting the project. It’s not to say I am not a process knitter (because I like to think all knitters have a bit of process love in them, or else we would just be happy with buying store bought knitted items!), but I definitely count down the days till I have a finished item. Spinning is different, there are times I rush myself to finish spinning a braid to start another but there are moments when I just enjoy the movement of sitting there and not having to worry about following a pattern, getting the right tension, or focusing on the end product. I am a new spinner (only 7 months in) and so I am no where near good enough to purposely spin for a specific weight of yarn, so I just hope for the best and begin experimenting. There are technical spinners out there, but I am not one of them and that is what works for me. So this spin was my experiment without giving a care about the end result.
In Part 1 of this post, I had talked about the batt that ended up being spun on a wheel but what about the fibre that was already spun on my Jenkins Turkish spindle? No, those singles did not go to spinning fluff heaven but instead I decided to play around with plying. The singles were spun worsted using short forward draw (the bat was prepped by following only steps 1 – 3 from Part 1’s post and was not predrafted). The singles were close to lace weight and so I figured I would keep plying it until I ended up with a weight of yarn I was happy with. A chain plying ball was made (chain plied the singles while wrapping it around a small tennis ball) and plied using my Bosworth Midi drop spindle. Then I plied this yarn back on itself. To do this, I took the plied yarn, wound it into a center pull ball, and then took plied both ends (from the outside and from the center) together. I do not yet own a skein winder (on the wishlist!) so I used this tutorial to wind my chain plied yarn onto a pill bottle to form a center pull ball, which surprisingly worked quite well! To ensure I wouldn’t have to worry about the ball of yarn collapsing (which could lead to multiple tangles) as I was plying, I pulled both ends together and wrapped it around a small tennis ball again. Could you tell I am addicted to plying balls? This made it super easy to ply the yarn again on the drop spindle. In the end I ended up with a 6 ply skein that was 54 m in yardage (33 grams) and roughly sport weight! Surprisingly the yarn did not turn out to be over twisted, and all that plying really helped even out the singles. Individually, the strands have a braided appearance so it would be interesting to see how it looks knitted up.
One thing to keep in mind was I added a lot more twist when I was chain plying the singles (compared to the normal amount of twist I would usually do) since I knew energy would be lost once I plied it back on itself. This made sure my final yarn wasn’t too loosely plied, but then again I am a fan of tightly plied yarn. It was also important to remember which way I had to spin; the singles were spun clockwise (Z twist), chain plied counter-clockwise (S twist), and then plied clockwise again (Z twist).
Overall it was a fun way to thicken up singles that I knew I wouldn’t have used otherwise (I tend to knit more fingering weight to worsted yarns versus lace weight) but definitely would be a process if I wanted to do this for at least 4 ounces of fibre!
Now I am wondering how it would look like to chain ply a chain plied skein of yarn…
Do you ever try experiments with your knitting or spinning?