Oh, It’s Spinning Time Again

~Conspicuous in our absence? Since August 11 I’ve been “run ragged”! Vacation, new grand baby, out-of-town daughters home again, and wonderful grandkids here to visit. To quote the opening line of Charles Dicken’s  A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The excitement of a vacation, a new grandchild, and seeing my girls and grandkids was exhilarating. At the same time, I’m totally exhausted and just need to sit quietly for awhile. The Introverted Knitter said it best in today’s blog, “I sometimes joke that I have an introvert battery and after prolonged exposure to people it gets drained. It seems to be a fairly accurate description, and also helps others understand what I mean when I say I need alone time.”

Because of the all of the “excitement” in my life, I missed the first two spinning classes. Got all caught up on Wednesday. LOVE those women. It was so nice to see everyone again, forget about spinning let’s get caught up about who did what over the summer. Our teacher, Margaret, rings a bell when she needs to have us quiet down so the newbies in the circle around her can hear. That bell went off a heck of a lot during yesterday’s class.

This session we have a recommended text book – first time ever – The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson

The Spinner's Book of Yarn Design

The Spinner’s Book Of Yarn Designs

Included are 64 help cards. From the titles of some of the cards you can see the topics covered. I have not torn the cards apart yet.

For those of us who do a lot of Andean Plying, Margaret pointed out an errata on page 79. If you do Andean Plying you’ll see the problem right away. As shown, the ply around the middle finger will bend the finger backwards which will hurt. The yarn needs to be looped around the front towards the palm. That way the tension on the finger will slightly bend it in the direction your finger normally bends, towards the palm.

Our lesson for the week is Hawser Plying, p. 92 which is used to make elastic yarn perfect for cuffs or hat brims. Method: 1. Ply two Z-spun singles together with a Z-twist. (This method uses groups of two). Be forewarned that this makes an extremely twisty yarn. 2. Ply two of the Step 1 Z-plyed together using a S-ply. This will nicely balance out the super twist giving a wonderfully elastic yarn.

Caroline (sp. I can’t remember the correct, but odd, spelling of her name, sorry) had just knit cuffs onto her sweater which were all stretched out. She spun and plyed more of the yarn using the Hawser Plying method, tore out and reknitted the cuffs. Showed us in class how wonderful the new cuffs are, nice and bounce-back stretchy. I don’t make sweaters, but I do make hats. Besides making a sample, I’ll have to spin and Haswer Ply my next hat brim.


17 thoughts on “Oh, It’s Spinning Time Again

  1. That is brilliant timing, as I was just wondering what non-itchy fiber to use for the rib portion of the hat I want to knit, and which method. And I have the book! Not enough time to go through it yet, though.

    Fwiw, I have those crummy batteries too. The funny thing is, I rather enjoy being like that, while mostly it’s encouraged to try to train some of it away. It’s not a habit in my opinion, it’s much deeper.


  2. Q – Perfect! Let me know how the rib turns out. I haven’t tried it yet since yesterday was the first day for me. 😎

    It is not a habit, people are born introverts or extroverts. I’ve always been an introvert, I’ve worked hard at being more outgoing and some days it’s just too much. My husband is the same way, so now that our extroverted kids are gone, we have a quite home. 😎 Thanks for your comments! Much appreciated.


    • Q – I love my spinning class. There are quite a few good spinning classes on Craftsy. I tried to leave a comment on your blog about the fiber you featured, but for some reason your page would not load for me. I have a few suggestions for spinning to maintain color: 1. If you spin the entire roving then Navajo (chain) ply the yarn, the like colors will stay together, 2. Split the roving in half as lengthwise and spin each half onto different bobbins, making sure you start with the same end both times. Then ply together and the colors should match up pretty well, or 3. Break the roving down into its individual colors. Divide the colors in to two individual piles. Keep track of the color order spun on the first half, then spin the second half in the same order. Ply. Fractal spinning always gives a very interesting color pattern.


  3. Yes, all I need are Knitting needles so I can use up your yarns. I let Sarah know wbout the ittle 1st grader who was the leader of the girls at recess-kissing the boys__YOu ae still flirting with danger. Doesn’t Allen know that?????


  4. Thanks for the reminder about the Hawser plying. I saw Karolyn’s cuffs but missed the rest. Could I have possibly been catching up (talking, maybe)?? It sounds interesting – ill try it tomorrow…


    • Q- LOL! After class, I had lunch with Diane. We laughed at how much we missed because all of us were so excited to see each other again. Margaret mentioned the plying in either the first or second class, I missed both but asked when C shared her cuffs.


  5. Came across your blog trying to figure out what hawser plying meant, so thanks for the clear explanation.

    However, I don’t agree with you about the bracelet plying. Bracelet plying isn’t designed for large amounts of yarn, just for leftovers (apparently actual Andean spinners are baffled by the idea that you’d do a whole skein this way), so I don’t find the bending backwards of my finger a big deal at all. In fact, I think trying to keep it straight and resist letting it bend forward would hurt much more! I wind as loosely as I can while still maintaining a little tension, trying to keep the loops up near the tip of my finger by keeping the fingers on either side close. So really it’s more like maintaining tension on your knitting yarn, not painful at all!


    • Q – Thank you for your input. I have never tried it “backwards” I only passed on what others in my class said. It probably depends on how much tension is allowed on the finger and it sounds as if you have it under control. I personally only use Andean plying when I’m have yarn left on one spool when plying. The spindle spinners in class use it to “wind” the yarn off of their spindle and then to ply it. That’s the nice thing about spinning, people do what they find comfortable as long as it produces a wonderful yarn. 😎


      • Andean spinners do it more like you, except they usually wind a plying ball (just holding however many strands are to be plied together and winding straight off the spindles–yes, this means they have many spindles the way most American wheel spinners have multiple bobbins) and then insert plying twist separately, using bracelet plying to finish up the odds and ends into the plying ball. Given that they can produce more and better yarn faster than anyone else I know of, I generally assume their way is the objectively right way if production is the goal. Not that it always IS the goal, of course!


    • Well, “Navajo” plying is also kind of a misnomer in that the traditional Navajo weavers use mostly singles for warp and weft. They do chain-ply leftovers, which are used for the thicker warp along the outside edges of each piece, though. Speed-wise, I don’t know how it would compare, it’s so different–Navajo spinners are making mostly thick rug yarn on supported spindles, Andean ones are making mostly fairly fine, high-twist yarns for woven apparel, bags, and even some knitted things. Of course, the finer the yarn, the more pressure to produce a lot of yardage before you can actually have enough to make something. My sense–as an outsider who just happens to be magpie-like in the collection of shiny bits of facts about things–is that spinning is less omnipresent for the traditional Navajo weavers, I guess partly because of the time factor–spending relatively more time weaving and less time spinning–and partly because supported spindles can’t go with you everywhere quite the way suspended ones do.

      And, of course, in the Andes they’ve been spinning alpaca for…I want to say at least a thousand years? Whereas Navajo textile traditions don’t predate the Spanish colonists, AFAIK, so they are “only” 500 years old. I guess Andean spinners have had longer to amass a “bag of tricks”, or something. 🙂


      • Q – I actually had a student who’s maternal side of the family was Navajo. He said his grandma and aunts were always spinning and weaving. LOL! I was lucky enough to get a huge skein of coarse, single-plyed churro yarn. In the 50’s, when we were kids going on vacation from San Diego to Texas (to see relatives), we’d go through the reservation to watch the spinners. Those long spindles on the ground are fascinating to watch! Mom purchased a small rug from one of the women. This was before they rugs were recognized as the marvelous works of art that they are. We have a lot of weavers in our class and they surely do spend a lot of time spinning to get enough yarn for both the warp and weft. If there is a back-to-back competition the entire class pitches in to spin the warp. LOL! Love trivia! Appreciate your replies.


      • Funnily enough, I am from the Southwest, so I’ve been familiar with Navajo weaving (as a spectator/potential consumer/what have you) for a long time, but I wasn’t into *practising* fiber arts until after I moved away. Too bad, really–I could have gotten such a good education!


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