Finishing yarn

Saturday was spent in good creative company, where I treadled and counted and plied up all of this:


The orange is spindle spun and is noticeably finer than the pink and purple which was spun longdraw on my Ashford traditional.  These yarns were from Shetland tops dyed by me using food colour.

I love the transformation process from fibre to finished yarn.  My singles had been sitting for a long time before being plied, which meant that the twist had “set”.  This means that the singles were not too active (uncontrollably twisty) when plying.  However, if you want to test the freshly plied yarn is balanced, then it’ll kink back on itself even if it’s perfect!

The trick is to either make a sample at the time of spinning the singles, or take a length of the set singles, fold it back, tie a knot then soak the sample in water to reset the twist.  Usually, however, I’m afraid I just look at the plying and guess.  If I’ve guessed incorrectly, I can always put the yarn through the wheel again, either adding or subtracting twist as necessary.

After winding the yarn into skeins and adding ties, the skeins scrunched up into an uncontrollable mess!  Fear not.  A soak in cool water to thoroughly wet the yarn, remove from the water and squeeze out the excess, and there you have it – a beautifully balanced skein (or three)!

For my fellow crafters, who saw my innovative Lazy Kate from knitting needles, for the spindle cobs:  In future I will be adding a wrap of paper round the spindle before I start spinning.  This will aid the sliding of yarn from the spindle to the knitting needle and prevent the catching of yarn on the wrong side of the needle which does make unwinding the wraps near the centre more tricky!