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I have a few questions on spinning on the wheel and other fibery stuff.  I would appreciate any help you all can offer.


1. How do you keep your yarn tensioned when you are in the middle of spinning your singles?  Like last night for example.  I'm done spinning for the evenig and I wanted to go to sleep.  Right now I'm kinda wrapping my roving around my flyer.  But the wheel still wants to move and it comes unraveled sometimes and I'll loose the twist in the fiber and it falls apart.  It's very frustrating.

2. Which way am I supposed to place the bobbins when I go to ply my singles together?  I'm having a very hard time trying to figure this out.  I have to place my bobbins in one direction when I'm spinning my singles because of the way my wheel is made, and I always turn my wheel to the right.  Do I place the 2 bobbins in the opposite direction on the lazy kate and turn my wheel to the left when plying?  Does that even make since?

3. Do you all let your singles "rest" before plying?  If so, for how long?  What if one bobbin has rested for a few days before you get the second one done?  Does it make a difference in how your yarn looks?  Should you let the second one rest before plying?

4. How long am I supposed to let my yarn soak after I'm finished with it?  I've seen everything from a few seconds to several minutes in my reading.  Is there a rule of thumb?

5. Do you all weigh your finished yarn down when you hang it to dry after soaking it?  What do you use?


Sorry it's so many questions but I can't seem to find the answers in my reading material or on the internet.  I appreciate your help!

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Replies to This Discussion

You have come to the right place to ask your questions :)

I know there are more experienced spinners on here but I'll try to answer what I can with what I do.

1)  I use a binder clip that I have tied to my wheel.  I just clip where my fingers hold the twist from the drafting zone and let it hang close to the Orifice.  It usually does a good job of keeping the twist.

2)  I don't know if it matters which way you place your bobbins when plying (it may though).  What I do know - it is important to spin in the opposite direction you made the singles.  E.g. wheel turns Right for singles, then it should turn Left when plying.

3)  I don't know the answer to this - mine are usually always sitting for a few days just cuz I tend to get distracted and do other things like knitting :) in between each bobbin (singles & plying alike).

4)  I usually let mine soak about 10-15 mins to make sure all of the fiber/yarn has soaked up the water and there are no dry patches (if that makes sense).

5)  I haven't weighed down my finished yarn yet.  I hear mixed talk about this. 

I hope this helps you some.  At least till other more experienced spinners can respond. :)

Here is a pic of the binder clip I use :)

Okay, I'll throw in a couple things that I know or have heard or seen, although I'm also kind of new and don't have a wheel.

1. I have seen most of the wheel spinners I know add a little extra twist before they stop and then wrap it several times around the tension knob.

2. I believe that as long as all of your singles are coming off of the bobbins from the same side (left or right) that it doesn't matter which.  Hmm, kinda confusing answer. . . okay the best way I can describe this is with toilet paper.  You have it over the top or coming from the bottom, right?  So you want all of your singles coming off either over the top or from the bottom.  Not a combination of top and bottom.  :0P

3. I was told that the rest time can depend on the fiber, but for the most part if you have any singles that have rested for a while you should over spin the plied yarn.  I know one person who will take her rested singles and turn them into hanks, wash them, let them dry and then wind them back onto her bobbins for plying.  Seemed kind crazy, but it works for her.  Another woman I know will ply a bit, then dip it in hot water and then let that dry so she can get the correct twists per inch and then go by the ratios on her wheel.

4. I usually let mine soak 10 to 20 minutes depending on the fiber content and thickness of the yarn, but 15 minutes is a good even number.

5. I have weighed my yarn and not weighed my yarn and haven't noticed any difference, but I think this is a personal preference thing.  You can always experiment and determine if you notice a difference.  I used a large can of beans when I weighed it down.

We are always happy to answer questions.  And sometimes when one person asks the right question, we all learn something new (especially with the phenoms that we have in our community)!

1.  I usually wind my yarn end around the tension knob or the handle of the orifice hook, but in the Rita Buchanan DVD she has a little plastic clip, which I intend to get as soon as I can find one.

2.  Not sure if it makes any difference, but I make sure mine are unwinding in the same direction. 

3.  I've done it both ways, and really do not notice the difference.  And I've heard experienced spinners say to let them rest at least over night, and other experienced spinners say to ply away... so again, I do not know if it really makes a difference.

4.  I always let mine soak about 15 minutes or so... I also rough them up a bit (per Abby Franquemont) to allow the plies to cling to one another a bit better. 

5.  I always wrap mine in a towel first to get as much of the water out... then weight them with an old spray bottle... some fibers will shrink a bit, so the weight discourages this IMHO.


Thank you all so much for the input.  I had my bobbins going in two different directions when I plyed the yarn I just got done with and I had a really hard time getting it started.  Now I see why.  One side kept coming unraveled and one wasn't.  Duh. 

I love the clip idea.  I'll have to see what I can find for that.

I have been letting my soak for about 10 minutes and I run it through the spin cycle in my washing machine to get as much moisture out as possible.

I wasn't sure about weighing it down though.  Sometimes I have and sometimes I haven't.

One time when I did not weigh mine down, it shrunk a LOT... it was a blend of CVM and Targhee... very stretchy yarn, but it will shrink.

I haven't worked with a lot of different fibers and I've been getting about the same weight of yarn so that may be why I didn't notice a difference.  I'll have to work on some of my new purchases and try to spin thicker to see what happens.  See, I learned something.  Thanks Susan!

NP Dawn, This was the FIRST time I had shrinkage this noticeable.  Something to be aware of.

1) Bren, a very experienced spinner put a dot of velcro on the wheel she loaned me a year ago last fall.  It works quite well.  3) I've done both, plied right away, and let them rest. And I've also let one rest for a long time (too busy) and then plied right away just after finishing spinning the 2nd single.  I noticed no difference.  I was recently reading in Anne Fields book if spinning a fine single if you let it rest overnight it will be easier to ply, and prevents pigtails and curly-ques from forming in the plied yarn. 

4) I let mine soak anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  Just depends on what I'm doing. 

5) Weighting it down does remove the stretch or elasticity in the final yarn.  I do believe this is what weavers do to their yarns.  I do not do it to mine.  I just spun some Targhee and measured it before washing it.  When it was all done drying, I measusred it again and had lost 2 1/2 inches, but it stretches almost 3 inches when I pull on it.  I'd rather have the elasticity in the yarn. 

All good questions. 

Wendy, I almost always weight my yarn, and that process does not remove the stretch from the yarn, IMHO.  Of course, I weight it lightly... spray bottle with only a bit of water in it. 

Hmmm, I remember wondering about this very thing a year ago October when I finished my first handspun.  I was told to weight it, and then I was told not to weight it.  It definitely stretched the one I had weighted, and that was done in a matter of about 30 minutes.  Why do you weight yours? Now you've got me thinking about somethings... ... ... hope I see my spinning guru some time very soon - lol. 

Mostly I weight mine because most of the people I learned from suggested it... I think it relaxes any overplying, too... not sure about that.


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