FO Friday–I Made Yarn!

I have no knitted FOs to report today, but I do have some finished handspun yarn to share with you.

First of all, I have finished plying (and washing) the lovely Falkland singles I spun from fiber I purchased from Unwind Yarn Company in the Flirt color way, which I featured as a WIP on Wednesday. Although I had originally intended to make a 3-ply yarn, I ended up doing a 2 ply.

Falkland 2-ply handspun 

 

The yarn is surprisingly round for a 2 ply, and I think it is destined to become socks in the not-too-distant future. I have 440 yards from the 4.2 oz of fiber I started with, so that is plenty to make a pair of socks. Yay!

Remember that lovely blue and green Merino and mohair blend I spun up a few weeks ago? I was originally going to make it a true 3-ply because I’m just not very good at chain-plying on my wheel. But because I had so much of this fiber–I started with 4.5 ounces–I realized that I had plenty to play with. This seemed to me to be a good opportunity to practice chain-plying on my spinning wheel, and I even ended up doing a little experimenting, too. All with mixed results, I should add.

Here’s the finished yarn I ended up with, about 564 yards in all.

Wolf Creek Wools Merino-mohair yarn, all spun and plied

The small skein at the top of the picture resulted from an experiment. The other three skeins are chain-plied yarn done on my Ladybug. When I first tried chain plying on my wheel, I had a lot of trouble because I couldn’t get the singles to unwind smoothly off the bobbin. I was using the built-in lazy kate that I added to my Ladybug, and it tensions the bobbins using stretchy plastic bands that go around the pulley on the end of the bobbin and the little black pulley on the kate. There seemed to be too much tension because the yarn was difficult to pull off the bobbin smoothly. If I tugged too hard, the single would snap. But if I removed the tensioning band, the yarn came off too quickly and I couldn’t keep it straightened out. After giving it some thought, I decided I could simply use a piece of string (#10 crochet cotton) to devise a brake for the bobbin. I simply made a loop in one end of the string and slipped it on the kate rod below the bobbin. Then I draped the string over the pulley on the bobbin, and wrapped the end around the kate rod to secure it. I could easily adjust the tension by pulling the string tighter or looser before securing the end to the kate rod below the bobbin.

Makeshift tensioning string

This method worked pretty well for the first bobbin, but when I started the second bobbin, I decided to use the regular tensioning system just to see how it would work. Guess what? It worked great! I don’t know why I had so much difficulty with it when I tried to chain-ply the first time. My chain plying on the wheel still isn’t very good, but it’s improving.

456 yards of chain-plied handspun

At one point, I decided to make a 2-ply yarn with these singles, just to compare it to the chain-plied yarn. The 2-ply was okay but a little underplied, so I got this brilliant idea to run it though the wheel again in the same direction, but to add another single. I was just curious about what would happen if I did this. I ended up with a yarn that is very, um, interesting.

108 yards of a 2-ply yarn plied with a single, an experimental yarn

The yarn is very textured, but rather messy, too, definitely in the “art yarn” category. I’ll have to make a swatch to see how it knits up. It seemed like a good idea at the time. 😀

 

 

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