Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cakes and Twist

Some folks on the Internet are saying that "center pull' cakes of yarn should be unwound from the outside (with the cake rotating) to preserve twist.  This finding is the result of poor lab technique.

My Royal Jumbo winder inserts (or removes) between 1 twist in 8 inches and 1 twist in 24 inches depending on whether it is winding the inside or the out side of a cake.  When I pull the yarn out of the center, the process is reversed and the original twist is restored.

This can be easily checked by taking a low twist yarn (e.g., worsted 2-ply) winding a cake, and then winding cake after cake of the same yarn  in the same direction - each time pulling from the center of the previous cake. After a few dozen rewindings, measure the twist.

Then, repeat the process, only this time rewind from the outside of the cake as a side delivery package where the yarn cake rotates to unwind the yarn.  If you wind the same direction each time, the twist will be noticeably different.  However, the change in twist will vary along the length of the yarn so it will not be possible to restore the twist by just running it though a spinning wheel.  Rather the spinner will have to pay real attention to the twist and insert different amounts of along the length of the yarn.

edited to change:  It has come to my attention that I have a Royal Jumbo Cake winder, which is one of the very few winders designed to produce true center pull cakes.  Most home winders, wind side delivery and unwinding by center pull will change the twist.

However, it is perfectly possible to wind side delivery and knit from that package end delivery.  yes, it does change the twist a bit, but not enough to bother any but the very best craftsmen - and there are not many master knitters around any more!

As demonstration, I am knitting from a side wound pirn in a shuttle - that is an end delivery yarn package. It works just fine!  Yes winding and unwinding the pirn changes twist as much as 1 tpi, but that is not really a problem for a competent knitter.


Anonymous said...

Are you going to attend Stitches? Will you be doing any demonstrations? I'm not going to be there but my sister is and I'm curious to see how it works with the modifications.

I'm trying to get as much information and perspectives as possible before i make a huge investment.

Aaron said...

No, I am not going to stitches - I need to stay home and finish stuff.

the best price that I know of for a jumbo winder the Oregon woodworker -- I think he has them for ~$60 these days.