Monday, 25 February 2013

Plying Cotton

Some handspinners recommend that, when plying yarn, you set your lazy kate holding the bobbins filled with singles as far from your spinning wheel as possible. The resulting long run allows the twist in each single to become more evenly distributed.

Plying set-up for three bobbins:
from bobbins on lazy kate; through eyelet-guide; to wheel in foreground;
sorry about the unmade bed; housework has low priority.
I've been wanting to try this with my handspun cotton, but the long run from lazy kate to wheel worried me as I could imagine the two singles bumping into one another and getting tangled whenever I paused during the plying process. I also worried that the dog, Jerry or me would forget and walk into the path of those almost invisible threads strung across the room for a day or more as I can never seem to finish plying a batch of cotton in one day. Perhaps one day I'll develop calluses necessary for running all that yarn through my fingers in one session.

I decided the best solution to the dog and thoughtless walker worry was to move my spinning wheel and accessories upstairs where there is less traffic. The hot temperatures have eased during recent overcast days and that makes working upstairs possible.

Jerry solved my tangled yarns worry by handing me a strip of smooth wood that held a set of evenly spaced eyelet-screws. I clamped the wood strip to a chair placed midway between the lazy kate and the spinning wheel. I tested this plying set-up with two bobbins of cotton singles, threading each single yarn through an eyelet. The long run to the wheel made it easier for me to coax any remaining twisty areas into plying with surprisingly little effort. The singles did not tangle whenever I released my hold while sitting at the wheel. I feel so delighted with the resulting 2 ply cotton.

Having gained courage by this success, I set up next to ply from three bobbins. I am thrilled that things are going so well with this 3 ply cotton and hope to finish that plying work today.

Toy Creek, February 2013
Meanwhile, the water in the creek looks good though it is not exactly abundant. We usually get 200mm (8 inches) rain in February. We've had ~92mm (~3.7inches) this month which has only three more days until the end of the month. Today the sky is crystal clear. It may get too hot to work upstairs....

Cyclones and flooding are not unusual during the Wet Season in our region, but this year we've had neither... so far. Instead the floods and winds are showing up in southeastern Queensland and into New South Wales, with houses in Sydney losing roofs. Yes, we live in Interesting Times. I find comfort in focusing on areas I can control to some degree, like making things with my hands.

Post by M in JaM
Photos by J in JaM

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