26 October, 2010

Plying Methods

I was asked the other day whether I am able to get skeins of a reasonable size when using Andean plying, where I wrap the singles around my hand in a certain way, slide them down to my wrist, and ply from either end.  The person asking the question was getting very small skeins.

I am able to get skeins of a reasonable size with the Andean method.  My Andean-plied skeins are normally 1 ounce for thin yarn and 2 ounces for thick yarn.  I weigh out the fiber beforehand.  The weights are based on the amount I can load onto a spindle before it stops spinning well and begins to get sluggish.  Whatever the yardage, I make sure it can be wrapped on my hand by running a chopstick straight up the back of my hand to take the brunt of the yarn's force.  Not exactly comfortable, but effective.

I'm sure it would be very tedious to do with cobweb-weight singles, but I don't spin nearly that fine.

I do sometimes spin my two ounces and transfer it to a bobbin, and repeat until I have three loaded bobbins for making three ply.  (Andean plying only gives you two ply.)  I really need to fill my bobbins with a total of two ounces, the amount that comfortably fits on a spindle, that is, 2/3 of an ounce each bobbin, plus a little extra in case one bobbin's singles are a bit thicker and come up a bit short.

When I have fully loaded bobbins to get through, I have a harder time removing one skein's worth from the spindle and starting another.  For an example of the nuttiness that can happen, see this picture of my poor overloaded spindle.

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