First Single Ply

First Single Ply

IMG_0642Yesterday I spun my first skein of single ply yarn.  When a spinner discusses ply they are referring the number of strands a finished skein of yarn is made up of.  2-ply yarn is very common for hand spun yarn.

I’m writing about my experience here because as I learn to spin I’m realizing that everything is about personal preference.  There seems to be no right or wrong way to do things.  There are many methods to go about each step in the spinning process.  By sharing my method I am not saying it’s the best way to do something, I’m saying it’s the way I do things now at this moment.  Next time I may change something, and if I do, I’ll let you know.  I hope that you can learn from  my mistakes and my successes.

The Fiber

I started with 4oz of hand dyed wool top that was purchased at my favorite yarn shop which is actually called The Yarn Shop.

The Wheel

I started spinning on a wheel in September when my husband surprised me at A Wool Gathering 2012 and bought a used Ashford Kiwi.

The Spin

I wanted to take things slow to begin with, my goal was to make a single strand of yarn a consistent size as long as possible.  Two things I kept in mind were that too much twist would create problems in the future if I wanted to use the yarn for my knitting or crochet.  However, if there is not enough twist in the fiber it will pull apart thus not allowing me to reach my goal of one long strand of yarn.

Setting the Twist

I wound my single strand, which did end up breaking a few times, into a skein.  In places that it broke I tied it in a knot leaving long ends.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the skein, it was kinky and curly, you’ll just have to imagine it.  I then soaked the yarn in a bath of hot water and a very small amount of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Peppermint Soap.

After allowing the yarn to soak for a half an hour I pulled the yarn out of the water, because I use such little soap the yarn does not get rinsed.  I squeezed just lightly with my hands to get most of the water out, then roll in a towel and squeezed gently.

The yarn was still twisted and curly at this point so I hung it in the shower with a light weight hanging from the bottom.  I used a lanyard and a water bottle with a bit of water in it.  I rotated the skein several times over the next several hours so that the weight did not effect any one area than another.  Too much weight and it can make the wool fragile.  You want to pull some curliness out of your yarn without losing it’s spring.

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Overall I’m happy with how it came out.  It turned out to be about a worsted weight thick/thin.  Not sure what I’ll make with, going to let it hang around for awhile until the perfect project comes along.