Plying on a Spindle

At the end of last year, my lovely friend Keryn invited me to dye with her one morning. I have a lot of undyed fibre and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at it. Honestly, I can’t wait to do some more… just need to find the time!

I am super happy with how it turned out… I love purples and blues!!

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But since then, the braid has sat in my stash, constantly being pushed aside for different projects. This year, I’ve set myself some goals to clear out some of my stash… and this braid finally made it to the top of the list! I decided to spin it on my turkish spindle… and the first half, I spun in one afternoon, because I simply couldn’t stop!

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As I was spinning, I was constantly reminded of cotton candy as I was working. Then, last week, I was spinning at an event at my daughter’s school and all the kids kept asking me what I was doing and if it was cotton candy!! It does kinda look like it, don’t you think?

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And here’s the second turtle complete.

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While I love how the singles turned out, the process to get there was a little challenging. In my newness to dyeing, the fibre ended up a little felted. I was able to mitigate some of it with pre-drafting, but it has made for a more inconsistent yarn than I’ve been used to spinning lately. It’s also a lot thicker than my recent spins, but overall, I’m pleased with it!

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There were a couple of questions on a previous post about my plying process on spindles, so I thought I would share that with you today as well. The turkish spindle is great for making center pull balls, but I also find that sometimes they fall apart or become tangled, especially towards the end. To avoid any frustrations, I make a plying ball.

I start by turning my turtles upside down and finding the ends.

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Then I grab one of my little felted balls. It’s about an inch around and just makes starting the plying ball easier. I’ve made them with little leftover ends from some of my sample spinning, but this one came from my lovely friend Diana, who taught me how to spindle spin and the plying ball process.

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I take the two ends, hold them together and start winding it around the felted ball, changing directions constantly to try and keep it fairly even… and you just keep winding until you’re done!

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And here’s the finished ball.

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From there, I grab my Steampunk spindle. It holds a LOT, so it’s my go to spindle for plying. For my wind on process, I start by wrapping the plyed fiber around the shaft parallel to each other. I take it to about the half way point on my shaft.

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After that, I start winding on at a 45 degree angle, going up one way and down the other. It looks like this at the start.

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When I’m working, the plying ball either sits beside me on the chair or in a bowl by my feet. It leaves my hands free to concentrate on making sure the twist is entering at a rate that I’m happy with.

I continue to build my cop in this way until I’m done. I would love to be able to show you the finished yarn today but I’m still plying! If you follow me on instagram, you’ll be able to see the finished skein there!

Happy Friday!!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Greta

    I loved this post as I have been struggling with the plying on spindle and managing the singles, I need to try this!

    • Katrina Stewart

      Thanks Greta, I’m so glad you found it helpful!!

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