The Second Blendling: Up-tight Teal

The Blendlings are a series of small skeins of handspun I am making, in order to study color, learn combination drafting, and improve my spinning by studying and adjusting my practices in small amounts. For a fuller project description, click here.

As second children sometimes do, the second Blendling is doing everything it can to distinguish itself from its older sibling.

I know my tendency is to underspin.* I do plyback tests, I try to pay attention, but I often end up with a yarn that looks lazy and messy. So this time I intentionally overdid it. I wanted to see how far is too far.

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I was super-controlled with my drafting, carefully pinching off 2″ of drafting zone at a time (by which I mean the width of three fingers; I didn’t use a ruler) so that all that twist couldn’t go nuts on my fiber supply. Kind of an “airlock draft” – draft forward with left hand, clamp down with right hand, let go. It was really too tense, but I had to do something drastic to get out of my default mode.

As to how much I was drafting, I was still in a default mode of just seeing what the fiber wanted to be. I am cognizant that I just don’t have a feel for what a single should be like if I want to make a worsted-weight 2-ply, but I had to start somewhere, so I started with this.

It quickly became evident that there is such a thing as too much twist! The yarn was becoming unmanageable. So I gave up  on making a second ply and just plied this back on itself.

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With the singles so twisted as to be nearly unmanageable, and so tight and dense, that actually made it harder to put enough ply into it. The above is a funny picture of the first two Blendlings drying – they were spun and plied the same directions, but you can see that their unbalance twists the skeins in opposite directions. Blendling the first was underspun and overplied; Blendling the second was overspun and underplied, so the residual energy twists them in opposite directions. Cool, huh? Mistakes are fun!

The finished yarn is ropey and decidedly too thin. A good, brief, jumping-off point for the next trial.

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Color notes: The color, though! All I did was put one light teal with two medium teals – a slight variation in tint – and there’s so much more depth to the color than either of them have alone. That smaller amount of light just makes it seem to shimmer.

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The Nerd Numbers:

ply #1: 2 light teal, 1 medium teal
ply #2: same (plied from center pull ball)
Spun worsted: both hands moving “airlock” style; left hand pinching off the twist to draft 2″; right hand firmly holding end of drafting zone when twist enters.
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
3 treadles : 2″ drafting zone (9 TPI)
Plied from center-pull ball
Plying Ratio: 6:1
8 treadles : ~12″
Z twist, S plied

Yardage (before finishing): 13 yds
Weight: .3 oz
TPI: 3.7
WPI: 9 before finishing, 8 after finishing
Angle of ply twist (before finishing): 32 degrees

* Since making this yarn  and writing this posr I have realized that, actually, my tendancy is to underply. This is me trying to compensate for that by overspinning instead! More on this as I continue to progress…

One thought on “The Second Blendling: Up-tight Teal

  1. […] red, 1 dark purple, 1 green Spun worsted: both hands moving “airlock style,” as described previously Spinning Ratio: 6:1 2 treadles : 2-3″ drafting zone Plied from two bobbins Plying Ratio: […]

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