Saturday, June 06, 2009

My plying ball

I have been doing a lot more spinning lately rather than knitting. I don’t know which to start first! I have many projects that I need to do, but don’t have the yarn, or am not in the mood for something like that. So I fall back to spinning, since it’s always here, and I can do it while watching a movie, or anything else.

But now it’s time to do some plying! I have a lot of these cops lying around, with the singles. I put all my singles on a quill (described previously) so they are ready to be used on the lazy kate (also described previously).

But one thing I like to do is a 3-ply yarn. I just like the roundness of it, gives it nice definition, and looks so much better when knit. Yes, it takes a little longer to spin, but I have lots of time! LOL

However, when I use high-twist yarn, it takes all my attention to keep the threads taut and even (without those little doubled-back twists sticking out). I can't watch how much twist I'm adding at the same time. Having three strands to keep even tension on is so much harder. So I break it into two steps.

I will wind the 3 strands of singles (or even two strands) around a felt ball, or a tennis ball will work just as well. The felt ball is because I can't start winding around two fingers or the ball of yarn will collapse as soon as I take my fingers out. So I wrap around something larger. I use felt because that's what I read about somewhere, but it makes sense - it's sticky enough that any yarn won't slide off it.

I wind the 3 strands evenly and with constant tension to take out any of those kinks. I try to wind in various patterns around the ball, but that is just me. It is not necessary to the success of the plying. I will place this rather large ball (since I will do a couple spindles worth at one time) into a large bowl, or even a plastic bag to keep it from rolling around all over the floor. It will roll around in the bowl or bag and release just what I need.

There are some kinks in it if you release the tension, but they are all in the same place, and you can then simply concentrate on the plying. Again, I can do this while watching ANOTHER movie! When my spindle is full, I then will wind into a skein, and put it away until I have enough to soak in the hot soapy bath.

Another alternative is to ply the strands onto my wheel with minimal twist. I just join them together and treadle them onto the bobbin in the plying direction, watching the tension very carefully. Some twist is added, but it's not much. Then I take that bobbin and put it on the lazy kate, and treadle it right back onto the wheel again, this time watching how much twist I add. It depends on how much yarn I'm making - whether it's easier to wind onto a ball or onto a wheel bobbin. It also depends on whether my wheel is with me!

This may or may not be of any assistance to anyone else, but I have found that it has saved my sanity a few times. Getting kinks in your singles while plying is frustrating, to say the least. I have my hands full and can’t easily stop and take out the kinks… so I dislike the whole operation. But using this plying ball is very “sane”, and it only takes a few moments – far less time than it does to try and untangle singles with one hand! It may not please everyone, but it does me!