Thursday, November 7, 2013

Strengthening and Straightening a Soft, Single Ply Yarn

I remember as a kid I had a cream sweater that my Grandmother brought me back from Ireland. Looking back, the sweater was beautiful, it had the traditional, intricate cabling and diamond pattern across the front. I still have it in my cedar chest. But at the time I HATED it! It was the hottest, pickiest sweater there ever was and my mom stuffed me into it every family event for the few years that it fit. I remember feeling like I was wearing a Brillo Pad and my skin crawled even through the undershirt that I wore underneath.

Now that I work with Mohair, I have a different appreciation for "picky" wool. Picky fibers have more of what's called a "tooth" which are microscopic barbs on the individual wool strands that help it stick together during spinning. It's what grabs the neighboring strands and crates a thickness of yarn.

Really soft fibers like Mohair or Angora are slightly more difficult to spin because they are slippery and don't hold together as well. There are a few things that can be done to give the fiber strength. You can over-spin it slightly. This gives the yarn more twist which lends strength, but if you over do it, your yarn will coil which doesn't make as pretty of a display.

I am over sensitive to this technique because when most people start spinning the tendency is to over spin the yarn. In the process of coordinating your hands with the wheel, the yarn can be spun and spun until you get things straightened out. In my spinning journey, I have made myself aware of this and have practiced not over-spinning. But now that I'm working with single ply soft yarns, I can see where this can be a useful technique if used with control. Don't stress if you over spin, there's lots of things that can be done to make yours a useful and workable yarn in the end.

You can also ply it, which lends strength in additional twisting. Plying uses twice the fiber and creates twice the thickness, but it straightens out uneven spinning, over-spinning and balances color variations.

Or you can wash/felt the yarn. Which I will demonstrate in this post.

After I'm done spinning the single ply. I remove it from the bobbin and turn it onto the skeiner.

Then I tie it off in four even sections.

Once tied I remove it from the skeiner and wash it in room temperature water and a mild dish soap.

I agitate it slightly, pulling it out of the water, squeezing the fibers and submerging it again. You don't want dread locks here, just a slight felting of the fibers to give some hold.

Then I rinse.

Squeeze the extra water for a final time working from top to bottom, and press it between a dry towel.

Hang to dry completely. If the fiber is still coiling you can hang a weight from it as it dries.

This will also help to distribute any uneven twists throughout the strands of yarn.   

1 comment:

Online Catalogs said...

Here, I would like to add more information on above post with reference to yarn, cotton yarn, synthetic yarn along with their producers - yarn distributors

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