Saturday, October 9, 2010

More spindle WIP progress

I switched gears from my mixed greens yarn project to my gossamer yarn project.  Here's a summary of this yarn project to date... Detta gave me a sample of English Garden merino wool and I wanted to make the most of it, and I also wanted to try making a cabled yarn for the first time.  Cabled yarn is the result of plying two or more plied yarns together.  If you took four singles yarn and plied them together at the same time, the result is called a 4-ply yarn.  But if you take those same singles and ply two of them together at a time, and then ply the two 2-ply yarns together, your result is called a 4-strand cabled yarn.

While this may seem like a small difference in making the final yarn, the structure of the yarns is very different.  The 4-ply yarn is very smooth, with the individual strands lying next to each other and the surface reflects more light.  A 4-strand cabled yarn is bumpier and has a pixelated effect.  The colors of the yarn become dots throughout the yarn, and the reflective quality of the yarn is broken up.  Here is a close-up of the yarn texture between 4-ply and 4-strand cable in a knitted sample:

Since I knew I wanted to make a 4-strand cable, I divided my sample into four sections and spun them separately.  I spun the first section on my smallest spindle and decided that it would be a waste of time to wind that small amount of yarn on a bobbin and repeat that four times, so I then spun a short section of white wool to act as a divider between the first and second sections of the colored singles.  Then I wound that single on a bobbin and spun the third and fourth singles with white wool in the middle to divide them.  So I ended up with two bobbins that would allow me to easily ply two singles together:

So if I divided my sections evenly and spun them consistently, I will be able to ply the yarn from the two bobbins together and the white wool in the centers will match up to mark the division between the two 2-ply yarns.  I've spun the first of the singles together and was very happy to see that my approach worked very well:

There was very little overlap of colored yarn to white yarn, and now I'll keep going until the bobbins are empty.  When I wind the 2-ply yarn back on a bobbin, I'll fill the first bobbin until I reach the white wool.  Then I'll break the yarn and wind the next section of colored 2-ply on the second bobbin.  Finally, I'll be able to easily ply those two 2-ply yarns together to create the final 4-strand cabled yarn.

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