Guest Author - Laun Dunn
As a novice spinner, I felt rushed to complete yarn to get on to the knitting part of the project. Yarn structure was not something I gave much thought to. I simply wanted to create a yarn that was thick enough for the project that I wanted to knit from it. It wasn’t until the finished projects did not have the longevity that I had hoped for that I began to rethink the yarn construction. I have since embraced three ply yarn, even though it is not the fastest yarn to make.
Adding more plies to the yarn increases the strength because it greatly reduces the exposure of the individual fibers to wear points. It also provides a “safety net” because if one ply wears through, you still have two more remaining.
Are there any considerations that need to be taken to create a three-ply yarn? The singles are spun the same as they would be for a two ply yarn, but the difference is in the plying. To create a successful yarn, ply from three separate sources. I place one lazy kate to my left, and one to my right. The third bobbin I leave on my wheel that I use for spinning the singles. The result is a nicer angle within the yarn. If this method is not possible, you can ply the yarn by holding one ply between your left thumb and index finger, the second between your right thumb and index finger and the third one between your left ring and pinky fingers.
Also, regardless of your time frame, allow the bobbins to rest for a day or two. This will allow the twist to set a bit in the singles and reduce jumpiness in the singles.
As you ply the yarn, you can check for balance by pulling a few feet of the yarn back off of the bobbin and allowing it to go slack. If the yarn drops straight down without twisting in either direction, there is an appropriate amount of plying twist being added. If the yarn twists clockwise, it is underplied. While counterclockwise twist means it is overplied. Another method to double check the ply twist is to examine the individual fibers within the yarn. If they are running parallel with the yarn direction, the yarn will be balanced. It is important to check the balance of the yarn as you spin to insure that you are creating a yarn that is worthy of your project.