What to do after you have filled up your spindle
Plying: We wont all do this here, but i will tell you all about it, demonstrate it, and perhaps have a few student from the class demonstrate one of the methods of plying (plying from two balls) using sample yarn I have brought.
About Plying: When talk abut plying we are talking abut joining (twisting) together several strands of yarn. You can work with just a single strand (if you don’t want to ply at this point you would just wind your single off into a ball or a skein for finishing) but plying has some advantages. Why ply?
*Strength- When you create something with your fiber the process you use will put it under various amounts tension, stress, or it may abrade the yarn. If one strand should break the other strand(s) will hold your yarn together. This is why I would recommend plying your beginning efforts at spinning. Plied yarn is more forgiving of week spots in the yarn.
*Weight: It can be hard to spin think/bulky yarn when you are used to spinning finer yarn. Plying allows you to create a bulky yarn by joining several strands of yarns together rather than spinning a very think yarn.
*Color: For modern spinning, you can ply to colored yarns together to achieve some fun effects. In period, yarns of the same color were usually plied together.
Notes of the technique of plying: When you ply two strands of yarn you spin them together in the opposite direction that you spun each single. For example. If you spun your singles clockwise, you will ply counterclockwise. Basically, you will spin in the opposite direction of the arrow you drew on your spindle. If you forget which way you were spinning, you can also always hold the spindle up and watch it unwind.You ply in the opposite direction because you want the yarn to lay together nicely. If you ply in the same direction you will be adding even more twist to your singles and your yarn will start to coil in on itself (meaning you have over spun it)
Recommended Method of Plying for New Spinners
*Ply from multiple balls (recommended to start with). Divide your fiber in half. Spin half, wind it into a ball, Spin the other half. Then you spin them together (going the opposite way you spun your single. (demonstrate) To help manage your balls and keep them off the ground or away from cats or small children you can put each ball into a bowl. This method of plying is easy, but it does waste yarn, because you will never get each ball to be exactly even. If you have filled up your spindle completely making each ball, you will not be able to get both balls back on one spindle. Just cut the yarn and start over in this case.
Methods of plying that avoid waste of yarn
*Center pull ball- has both end so the fiber free. Can be problematic towards the end as the yarn has the tendency to tangle.
*Andean plying: wrapping the yarn around your hand to create a bracelet of yarn with each end available. You can then ply directly from the bracelet. Also the risk of turning your fingers blue if you wrap to tightly, so be careful. This method is easy, but learning the pattern to wrap the yarn around your hand can take a bit of time which is why i am not showing you that today. But I am providing instructions.
Finishing your yarn
Setting the Twist. Wetting and drying your yarn under tension will help distribute the twist more evenly along your yarn. Moisture reactivates the twist in the yarn allowing some twist from an over twisted area to travel to an area of the yarn with lest twist. You want to do this before using your yarn for a project. (demonstrate the various parts if this or have someone from the class help me do this)
*Wind your yarn into a skein. A tool called a Niddy Noddy is helpful here (the tool is period), but you can also use your feet, your arm, or someone else’s hands. However the tool does not tie you to yourself or someone else. They also come in regular sized increments so you can judge how much yarn you have. Make the skein by 1. wrapping yarn 2. tie ends together the yarn in 4 places with figure eight knot (these are more secure/less likely to slip, than if you just just wrap a piece of string around the whole skein)
*Soak the skein in water: Warm water is best. Soak for 15 minutes.
*Hang the skein to dry under tension. Coffee mug trick! However, be careful not to leave it hang for a long time or to use too heavy a weight. There should be just enough tension on the yarn to hold it straight.