What happens next?

I finished spinning my first bit of fiber. What do you call that thing, anyway? It was in a pretty braid. My spinning isn’t very consistent yet; sometimes there’s a clump of almost roving, but mostly it’s a nice single. I’m getting to the point where I can feel if it’s doing what I want. I love it when the twist jumps up between my fingers and the fiber is nicely drafted and takes up the twist with a little zing.

Here’s Day 1.

first spin

And here’s where I ended; I think it was 4 sessions in all.

first spin done

This is the sum total of it, on a small Turkish Delight. It’s a center pull ball, if I can screw up the courage to take it apart. Will it explode? There’s a lot of twisty energy in that little ball of yarn! It’s all new to me.

I’ve read that you should ply your singles to balance the yarn. There’s not a lot of yarn here, so it won’t amount to much. I think I can take the end from the inside and the end from the outside, and ply them with the spindle in the opposite direction that I spun it. How do I hold the ball, on a knitting needle maybe? And I’m guessing that I somehow need to keep it under tension so the twistiness doesn’t curlicue everything up? Any and all hints welcome!

10 responses to “What happens next?

  1. A knitting needle can work well. Find a unused shoebox – you have one right? Poke a hole in the center of the top of the box. The knitting needle or a sharp knife works well for this. Make sure there are no rough edges that can fray your yarn.

    Then again with the knitting needle – aluminum ones really work well for this, poke a hole from the outside of the box on the side about half way up from the bottom. Go across to the other side of the box. Don’t worry if its not perfect.

    Your knitting needle ideally should be able to go across the box from side to side. If you have a couple of rubber bands handy find those.

    Slipping your center pull ball off your spindle, or if you’re worried about it collapsing, slide your needle up along the spindle so the ball is also on it, then pull out spindle.

    It will be easier if the ball isn’t on the needle first. Slip needle through one side of the box in the hole you created. Then slip center pull ball on to needle. This should place center pull ball in the middle of the open shoebox. Then slide needle through second hole on other side.

    Your center pull ball should now be hanging from needle inside the shoebox – is it? 😉 You can then take both ends of your center pull ball and feed through the hole in the lid of the box. Close box.

    If you were able to find those rubber bands, slip over outside ends of knitting needle to keep the needle from sliding out of the box while you’re working.

    Take your two ends and start plying your yarn. Remember to spin the single (that’s what its currently called now) you spun clockwise. Since you want to ply it into a 2-ply yarn you need to spin counter-clockwise.

    I find it easiest to control the two singles from the center pull ball by having my forefinger slipped between the two and hold them with middle finger and thumb.

    A picture of my shoebox Lazy Kate using two drop spindles and plying to a third (the top one):

  2. I have also tried plying my singles using a homemade Lazy Kate, and although it gave me some trouble at first, I eventually got the hang of it. My advice would be to keep an eye on the tension in your singles as you’re plying them, so they don’t start unwinding from the ball too fast and tangling before you can get them plied.

    Another method that’s worked well for me is to take both of the single balls, hold the singles together like when you knit with two strands of yarn held together, and wind them together into a new ball. You don’t ply them at that point, just hold them together and keep them smooth (no kinks). Then, when you have them rolled up into one ball, you just start plying from the end. I tried to remember where I read about this method to give you more detail, but I couldn’t find it. 😦 It has worked very well for me when I’ve been plying on the fly, without any of my tools.

  3. work it woman, work it. Looks wonderful!

  4. You are doing great!

  5. Since it seems that you only have one set of singles you can either ply from the outside and the inside of the center pull ball, which I would think may end up in a tangly mess, or you can andean ply. This involves wrapping the singles around your hand and then you ply from there, it ends up being like a bracelet around your wrist.

    This website:


    It Shows you how to wrap the yarn around your hand. Just make sure you don’t lose the starting end! All you need to do is attach the two ends to the spindle and remember to ply in the opposite direction that you spun the singles. Also to make a balanced yarn, remember that after you ply it, it shouldn’t want to spin back up on itself (If you hold it together and it spins around itself you either need to ply it a little more or a little less).

    If you don’t want to sacrifice the yardage you could leave it as singles, as long as you haven’t over spun them. You’d just need to skein it up, soak it, and let it hang to dry. If it tries to go all twisty you can put a can of something (You know, beans or whatever you have laying around the pantry) in the bottom of the loop or you can hang a clothes hanger from the bottom of it.

    Good luck! It’s not as scary as you think, I promise.

  6. oh god it all sounds too hard!!! My brain might explode. But i did plying of singles on a wheel in my class and it made sense when I did it so I say go for it, even if it’s only a small amount, just so you can learn.

  7. I’ve been plying from a center pull ball and dealing with the tangles. I read a tip somewhere and tried it – pull from the ball as if plying and wind the double strand into a ball. Ply the double strand from the ball. That way I was only dealing with one challenge at a time, pulling from the outside and inside of the ball or plying.

  8. Thanks for all the hints! It’s done. Will post in the morning.

  9. Very pretty – you are doing great!

  10. It looks really good & I’ll second (or third) winding them into a ball. The tangles can be very frustrating!