SCS+BCS: Carded Cables

Yeah, so I’m kind of dipping from a lot of studies right now. I realized when trying to come up with a concise title for this post that this is ticking a lot of boxes! I’m studying spinning for socks, color handling, and the current Wool n’ Spinning color study. This is totally fine, but it makes for overburdened post titles. Oh well. Anyway, here’s my first pair of sock skeins!

For my first study spin, I decided I wanted to just spin the carded fiber as is.

I pulled off half of each batt, and spun my usual sock singles without much of a plan. I kept them pretty fine, but my drive band was giving out. It wasn’t a very good drive band to begin with, and despite continuing to tighten it, I was not getting a full 30:1 ratio with any consistency. So my singles were fine, but less tightly twisted than I had hoped.

I axed any plan to do a two-ply with these singles. (A) they were too fine, (B) Rachel informed me that her experiments with 2-ply sock yarns were not very satisfying long-term. Add in that (C) this was a woolen prep, so if anything, I should choose a structure with more durability, not less.

There are several articles in Ply Magazine and elsewhere about durability. They disagree on different points, but all agree that cabled yarn is the strongest. So I pivoted and turned these singles into a cabled yarn.

I swapped the drive band, made center-pull balls, and plied S with the same amount of twist that I had attempted to put into my Z-spun singles.

These highly-energized 2-plies were not going to play well as center-pull balls. So, with the help of an empty bobbin and my postal scale, I wound off about half of each into cakes, and without cutting the yarn, plied Z from the middle of the bobbin. A different take on the center-pull ball.

The final step of a cable-ply always makes me nervous. Will I be able to pull off that exact right amount of twist to let the two-plies lock together and give that cabled look? I wasn’t sure. The two-ply was so tight that it just looked like singles, and the cabled yarn looked like a thicker two-ply before finishing. But oooooh after finishing, it got that perfect pop.

It’s hard to see the cabled structure in the semi-solid carded yarn unless you zoom really close-up. But it’s there, showing up most clearly in the highest-contrast sections. In that high-contrast strand in the middle, you can see how the lightest blue single wiggles back and forth right through the middle of the finished yarn. The way the singles lock together and cover each other is what makes this yarn so durable.

From afar, the skeins just look beautifully heathered.


My yardage was not enormous; there’s about 100 yards of each, at 16 WPI by my measure. Definitely a fingering weight, but dense – around 1000 ypp. Density also means durability, so I’ll take it. Hopefully it’s still enough for a short pair of socks for me. I’m thinking to stripe them together.

Next I’m going to take on the rest of the carded prep, but with a very different take on the color. Look for much tighter singles coming to this space soon!

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