Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Multi-ply Refined

I came to spinning for better gansey yarn. Gansey yarns were all worsted spun so worsted spun is what I did without thought.  And I loved the resulting multi-ply yarns as compared to various kinds of 2-ply yarns and the commercial gansey yarns spun from fine wool.

And then I find myself spinning a lot of woolen singles for weft, and I ask myself, "What about multi-ply woolen spun yarns?"  After a few trials, I am not impressed.  If you spin woolen, you will likely be happier with 3 or less plies, but you knew that!    If you want to spin multi-ply yarns, spin the singles worsted. 

Spun worsted, yarns with many plies or cabled with many strands are wonderful.  Spun woolen multi-ply yarns are not worth the effort.  This tells us that the old 5-ply "wassit", was worsted spun.

Spinning  inexpensive wassit meant that the professional spinners needed to spin worsted faster than an inch worm.  The way to spin worsted fast is differential rotation speed (DRS).  Without DRS,  the  ubiquitous wassit, was not worth the effort.  DRS was what allowed 5-ply wassit to be a reasonably priced commodity.

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