Spinning yarn for a knitting project

Are you new to spinning yarn with a specific project in mind? Here are some things to consider when you embark on your journey to spin with purpose!

 

 

1. Find a yarn in your stash that suits the pattern you want to make. Take about 15cm of this and tie it to your wheel or keep it somewhere handy. Use this as a "control" so you know the size of the yarn you're aiming for.

2. Decide if you want to knit with singles, 2-ply, or chain-ply. Or if you want it a bit arty, how about a thick & thin? Each yarn type has pros and cons (more on this below)

3. Spin 10 or 20g of fluff in the style your finished yarn will be. Give it a quick dunk in hot & cold water to set the twist, dry it (speed up with a hair dryer!), and compare it to your control yarn. Based on this sample, you can continue your spin, adjusting the fineness of your spinning if you need to. Or if you were way off, try another sample!

 

    Some other things to consider

    Spinning style

    Singles

    Pros: Keeps soft fibre deliciously soft. Great for luxury blends. Full control over the length of colour changes throughout. You don't need to spin as fine as you do for a plied yarn.

    Cons: Not suitable for hard-wearing items like socks. If your twist too loose, the yarn may break while knitting; too tight and it may tangle easily.

    2-ply

    Pros: You can spin a mighty fine amount at once! Fill up two standard bobbins, ply onto a jumbo bobbin, and you've got yourself a sweet 150g or more of yarn to play with. Good for every-day items.

    Cons: If you are spinning a yarn with colour changes, it's harder to control a consistent colour change unless your two singles are exactly the same. This isn't necessarily a con though, I quite like it that way!

    Chain-ply

    Pros: Makes a strong yarn, suited to items that will get a lot of wear. Full control over colour changes (remembering the length of the colour in your single will shrink by two thirds!)

    Cons: If you are not used to spinning fine, the resulting yarn will come out thicker than you may have intended.

     

     

    Different fibre types and preparations

    Some fibres and preparations have a bigger *puff* factor. It can be deceiving - I've spun what I thought at the time was a nice fine Sportsweight yarn, but after a wash & dry, it revealed its final form as DK weight! Crazy, right?!

    A little know-how will help! Here's a quick run-down:

    • Batts, rolags and roving preparations will trap more air in the yarn you spin. It expands when you wash it, even more so if you spin in a woollen style.
    • Combed tops are very suited to worsted style spinning, as the fibres are all aligned. This traps less air in the yarn, and the finished yarn won't puff out as much as a woollen preparation.
    • Silks, longwool breeds like blue-faced leicester and wensleydale, cotton and man-made fibres like rayon or tencel don't puff up very much.
    • Fine wool breeds like merino, corriedale and castledale will puff up when you wash them.
    • Downy style fleeces such as cheviot and hampshire down puff up heaps, and you will lose a bit of yardage after washing.

    Do you have any tips to help knitters along their way to spinning with intent? Share in the comments!

     

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