May Day, Spinning May Day

From AKQGuy

Yep, that's the "Tye-Dye" fiber that I started the other day. I decided to finish it up, but alas had more troubles plying. Mainly I am having issues with the pre-spun fiber shredding. While working with this fiber and having my continued troubles I found myself out of stress treadling the wheel faster. This actually helped my fiber a bit as seen in the upper right of this picture.

With that thought in mind, I decided to try again. I brought out the last of my bare roving, and worked hard on spinning it firmly and as consistently thick as possible. I was actually pretty happy with the result of those two bobbins.

From AKQGuy
From AKQGuy

I was so happy with these two bobbins in fact that I put away the spinning for the night out of fear of ruining the best spinning I had done to date. This morning though I bucked up and got to the task at hand.

From AKQGuy

I know part of today's success was due to the higher quality spinning that the plying started with, but I'm sure there are other things I need to know about this whole skill. This finished skein even after plying is still the best quality I've managed, even if not the quality I hope to get to.

From AKQGuy

Please, if anyone has tips or tricks, can you share them with me? Today I did ply very quickly. I tightened my brake so that it would drop my fiber to the bobbin as soon as possible in addition to treadling quickly. Is that normal? I've looked it up on You Tube but the spinning videos I've found have either just touched on the process, or were of a quality that I didn't get much info from them.

Thanks in advance for any help...

As for other news, Sullivan's feeling a bit better today, though not 100% yet. And the other kids, well, they are what they are. Gotta love the little $&!#$

From AKQGuy
From AKQGuy
From AKQGuy

And dinner was as wonderful as I had hoped for.

From AKQGuy


Kerry's picture

I don't know anything about spinning but those pies look great.

AKQGuy's picture

Oh, and they were.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

The pies do look good...and I'm not fond of pot pies. And the photos of the kids and Bob are priceless.
As for the spinning - The faster treadle helps with more twist and take up speed. My problem is treadling too fast. I've been told that it is a question of learning how to adjust the brake band tension properly, along with the drive band, for both problems. Only problem is that I spin on a wheel so seldom that I never get the hang of it.
Still, a lot of the control and such comes with practice. Even the concentrated bit of spinning you've done this past week shows great improvement from one skein to the next. Better quality rovings and/or tops will also make a huge difference.
Once you find the rhythm and method that suits your spinning style, you'll do just fine and continue to improve.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

AKQGuy's picture

Thanks Joe. Glad the little bit of improvement isn't just in my eyes.

superi's picture

The problem you have with your singles shredding or falling apart when plying is that they're under spun. I don't know if this is possible on your wheel or not, but you could try moving the drive band to a higher drive ratio. That way the you can treadle the same, but the bobbin, or flyer will spin faster putting more twist into your yarn. Also I think easing up on the break to where it's not drawing the singles in as quick will allow more twist to build up before being placed on the bobbin. If all else fails, and you still can't get enough twist in your single, you can try spinning the singles twice before plying. Once to get the general shape of the yarn you want, and the second time to add the extra twist in it before plying it back on it's self.


AKQGuy's picture

Thanks! I think this will improve as I get better at getting that consistency in my singles, and why it improved with the last skein because they were much more consistent and I didn't have in big whorls that were fairly un-spun. And yes, my Kiwi has a little bit of options and I did change the ratio on the ply so I wouldn't have to treadle as quickly and tightened the break to allow a quicker draw onto the bobbin. In my single spinning I have the brake on so the springs are barely extended to slow the uptake and assist me in getting a bit more twist in.

Again, thank you for the tips and I hope to hang out with some other spinners to see their technique and maybe apply some to my own spinning. I appreciate your feed back.

Crafty Andy's picture

I count the revolutions as I spin. It takes daily practice, it also takes getting to know yout fiber. I took spinning daily for a month and I can tell you I learned a lot about spinning. I learned about how I spin. Energizing your singles should get balanced when you ply and then when you set the twist. Keep at it, practice daily for a while and don't be in a hurry. Enjoy your mistakes, because you learn from them .

AKQGuy's picture

Well, I have enough fiber on order to probably spin a bit daily. I wonder if work would let me bring my wheel in like I do my knitting for quiet times? You sound like me with knitting students, too bad mistakes in spinning aren't as easy to go back and fix like my knitting. Although last night I did see a glitch, pulled it back, tore the fiber and let it unspin before redrafting and spinning it back in. Thanks for the advice and I will work on finding some daily spin time.

Bill's picture

Spinning at work...If you had a Hansen could spin at work.
It's the size of a shoe box, electric...and very quiet...
( grin)

AKQGuy's picture

Thanks for the enabling Bill... just what I need.

Bill's picture


Tallguy's picture

I also would agree that you should spin a little every day. Even if you only get no more than 10 min, you really should set yourself the goal of sitting at your wheel and spinning each and every day. I always find spinning before bed always helps me to "unwind" and get relaxed enough to sleep soundly.

To count revolutions, you need to know your ratio. Then all you do is count your treadles. You get into a rythym -- treadle 3-4 with your drafting reaching to here, then you treadle 1-2 to add more twist, and then treadle 1-2 to wind on. It all is like a dance, and you will find that you get very consistent yarns this way.

You will find that you need to put in a lot of twist, and I mean A LOT of twist. Far more than you think is good. Remember that you will lose fully HALF of the twist when you ply. (This is a law of physics; just accept it) It may seem like far too much twist in the single, but you will find you get a better yarn this way. I like a fully plied yarn for knitting, so there is a lot of twist in my singles, and a lot of twists per inch in the plying to give me a round, soft yarn that that I like. Keep practicing!!

While you can "set the twist" by washing the yarn after, it won't stay. When you knit something, and wash the garment, the over- or under-twist will manifest itself again, and cause distrotion in your knitting. My skeins may look over twisted when plied, but when I wash my skeins, and never hang any weights on them -- they hang perfectly balanced! Just spin a little every day, and it will come.

Great looking yarn!