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.


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.


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.


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.


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…

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