Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sampling Cable plied yarn

This post is so important to me that I am going to Shout!

If you are spinning fine singles, it is worth doing a  series of exercises in plying/cabling.  If you have the singles on hand, it is easy to run up samples of  6, 8, 9, and 12-ply cabled yarns, and knit them into fabric to find the fabrics that you like.

I like my 2.38 mm needles.  These days, I make the yarns that I like to knit on that size needles. Knit on them, 6-ply cabled from 10,000 ypp singles makes a nice, skin-soft fabric.  It is warm, and elastic.  8-ply (1,200 ypp) makes a nice outer wear sweater. It is a thin yarn, it knits into a thin fabric - that is remarkably warm, and has wonderful drape.  This is not for sweaters that hang like bags.  It is for sweater designs that are worth all the work.

You are going to say, "Nothing is worth that much work to knit".  Look at your favorite knit wear (tee shirts, underwear, polo shirts, rugby shirts, and even sweat shirts), they are all knit from yarns with very fine plies.  If people wanted  fabrics from yarns with coarser plies, then  textile makers would use coarser yarns, (it would be much cheaper for them!) But no!, as a rule, for actually wearing, people like fabrics made from yarns with fine plies.  

I like quick and easy as much as the next fellow.  However, I find fine plies for the clothes I wear, worth the effort.

It is not very impressive, but here is  a photo of the first swatch that I did from 6-ply fingering Rambouillet (1,300 ypp):

 #1 needles on a swatch from hand spun 6-ply, 1,500 ypp yarn.

That bit of "nothing" was the confirmation of year's work. It was a proof of concept; fine plies work.  On the other hand it was the beginning of more work.  Fine plies ARE more work. Fine plies make good worsted worthwhile - that means I do enough worsted combing to get good (and fast) at the combing process.  However, the fabrics are wonderful.

When I started all this it took forever to comb a pound of wool.  However, I made some combs that help me  comb faster, and now, it takes me an hour to comb a pound of wool.  Anybody that cannot comb a pound of wool in an hour, is not trying.

I have said that it is not worth while for me to have fancy socks because I wear them out, and it is not worth while for me to have nice mittens because I lose them.  Well, it is worth while for me to have socks and mittens knit from yarns with fine plies because such fabrics are worth the extra effort.

Such fine ply yarns have become my standard yarn construction.  Here you see 2-ply Cotswold, Rambouillet, and Jacob waiting their turn to be cabled up into 6 and 8-ply knitting yarns. The needle is 2.38 mm.

1 comment:

Georgia said...

Happy New Year!!

I saw this and thought of you... did some googling and lo and behold, I found your blog!!

Tons of love to you and the MRS from me and the Max!! <3 georgia