family, knitting, living

Picture of my first plied handspun

I have finally gotten around to taking decent pictures of my first plied hand-spun.  Here’s the scoop.  My first hand-spun was a little iffy…if you know what I mean.  I don’t remember if I even posted a picture or not.  It was a merino tencil blend (50/50) that I had fell in love with at the Fiber Festival in Murfreesboro a few months ago.  My friend, Jan of Daily Fibers, had dyed it and I had to have it.  She was a little hesitant when I told her that I was just starting to spindle spin yarn, but finally let me have it. I will say…this… it was not the right fiber for me to start spinning with.  I did not use my spindlelyn, but started on my wheel.  It was a little slicky and the fibers are pretty short, so it would get thin and I would compensate with too much fiber.  This went on back and forth until I took it off the bobbin and tried again. The second time was more successful, but still really not what I was hoping for.  I feel like I wasted some gorgeous fiber. 

Anyway, I backed up and spun some shetland.  This was some pretty rawish fiber I got at the festival also.  The farm is in White Plein, TN, I think.  Anyway, it was cleaned and combed but minimally processed.  It was a beautiful full, dark chocolate.  There was no dye, it was completely natural.  This was so easy to spin that I thought I was some sort of spinning savant.  I got a really nice fingering to light fingering weight yarn.  Here’s a picture of what is left after I used most of it to ply. 

Then I spun some Louet Blue Faced Leicester.  This was a little tougher and while I wound up with a respectable single, it was a little thicker than the Shetland.  I did not get a photo of that alone.  Anyway, I was itching to try my hand at plying.  I haven’t had a class and am relying on a couple of you-tube videos, so I hope I did it right.  I am actually pretty happy with it.  The nice thing is that I plied the dark brown Shetland with the ivory BFL so I could really see what was happening wile I plied.  The yarn is balanced and does not twist back on itself now that it is plied.  Here’s a shot of it after it was wound.  Wendy hand wound it for me because I made my PVC Niddy Noddy so big that the hank was too big for the swift. 


This leads me to the PVC Niddy Noddy.  I found a diy on  .  I used her directions to make myself and Wendy a NiddyNoddy.  The total cost of the two together was about 3-4 dollars.  I decided to make the PVC one rather than getting a wood niddy noddy because I wanted to wet set the twist in may yarn as I had been reading.  The PVC can get wet without it deflecting or eventually rotting.  The brown and ivory yarn above was wet set on the noddy and it worked like a charm.  The only problem as the above mentioned trouble with the size of the hank.  I originally made the main portion of the noddy 18 inches long as suggested, but that proved to be too big.  So, I went back down to the basement and used Henry’s chop saw to cut it down to 12 inches.  This makes one full wrap around the noddy equal to one yard, which is handy and makes the hank manageable for my swift. 


The next set of photos is 4 ounces of BFL hand painted by Jan of Daily Fibers.  I plied it with itself and am not as happy with it as I would have like.  My singles were a it over-spun and then the plying is a bit under-spun.  I think it will be fine once the twist is set and I knit something with it.  It is just not as good as I thought it would be after I felt like a super genius on the first plying adventure!  I have wound it onto the niddy noddy for its bath.


I sat this morning and pun 4 ounces of Daily Fiber’s Wensleydale top.  It was tougher to spin, but easier to spin than the BFL (I know I contradict myself).  What I mean is that the fibers truly want to be together, so they grab onto each other with ease.  The hard part is that they are so grabby that I have to be sure to do some heavy pre-drafting to make sure I get the weight of yarn I want.  It took more time, but I really like my single. I am thinking of plying it with a commercial yarn.  I have some black lace weight that might be nice.  I have seen people ply with thread, but I think yarn will be more my speed. 

Oh…here’s a photo of my little spinning space.  I spin in the living room in the front of the house.  It is usually pretty full of light and just cozy.  I love it. 


One other thing….does anyone have any idea what these things are?  Henry claims his mother used them to wind yarn.  I’m not really sure about that. I would love an expert opinion….anyone…anyone?


3 responses

  1. Lori

    The yarn looks great! I am jealous. Hope you guys are having a wonderful new year, so far! BTW, I’m thinking that Henry is just confused…those things are definitely barbells 🙂

    January 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm

  2. Lori

    Hey, for real, I think that your mystery tools might be darning balls.

    January 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm

  3. Diane,

    I don’t think those wooden things are darning eggs. I’ve never seen a two sided one and they are too round I think. I agree with wooden barbells. Look at this…

    January 2, 2009 at 11:10 am