Friday, January 31, 2014

plying and cabling

I was using some commercial, 2-ply warp thread to cable up some gansey yarn.  It was so easy!! It made me forget everything I had said about using a tension box to ply. And, that is one argument for cable construction yarns - you are plying 2 or 3-ply yarns that are balanced and  are easy to work with.  On the other hand, plying balanced yarns means that they must be well blocked (again) with steam prior to knitting.

For straight plying high twist singles, I like a tension box device, and a plying comb.  Most most modern Lazy Kates are sold on the basis of attaching to the wheel so they are handy, or having an attractive design, or storing compactly, and they are not sold based on how well the Kate actually works.

Blocking high twist singles prior to plying is like ironing the fabric before a sewing project - it makes everything come out smoother and neater. Then, twist has to be calculated, measured, and inserted.  When the singles have been blocked, ply twist cannot be done by feel. And, if you are working fast, then the flow of the yarn over your hand will burn or cut your hand - hence the plying comb. To say that you always control the the tension of the plies with your bare hands is to say that you like to work slowly. There is  nothing wrong with enjoying the process, and there is nothing wrong with working fast enough to produce a useful amount of yarn in a reasonable amount of time.

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