Sunday, May 15, 2011

Plying Yarn

What's this?
Boomer thinks they're good cat toys.  A friend saves up her oddball acrylic yarns for me.  No landfill for these yarns.  If you have old yarns, give them away, even the smallest amounts, some crafter somewhere is happily scrounging goodwill stores for these oddball treasures.
The smallest balls get grouped together into similar colours.  Blues & greens & greys.  Reds & yellows & oranges & pinks.  I'm not too fussy but I try to keep warm & cool colours separate so they don't visually fight.  
The runt balls get knotted together to be wound into one continuous ball.  Boomer really wants to go take one for  a test run around the house.  When a cat gets ahold of yarn in our home its called kitty knitting.
3-4 balls of acrylic yarn get plied together on the spinning wheel to become a thicker yarn.  Yes I have a spinning wheel & know what to do with it.  No I'm not a crazy old lady.  No I'm not cracked, well, maybe slightly at times, LOL!  Trust me, its relaxing, functional, & perfectly sane.  Y'know the trendy knitting yarns that are really expensive & exclusive in the stores?  Spinners are the ones who know how to make it themselves, without a big pricetag either.
 This is my Ashford spinning wheel.  I know its slightly twisted, poor thing needs some TLC.  If you really want to learn to make your own yarns, support your local Spinning & Weaving Guild.  They are enthusiastic, intelligent welcoming people, there is a wealth of information to tap into.  Support a guild & you get a whole new network of creative people to share with.
 I've looped onto the bobbin leader & twisted it in.  Learning to ply is one of the first things taught to beginning spinners.  It lets you get the feel of how the wheel operates without getting too fuddled up.  Kinda like learning to drive in an automatic car before learning to drive standard.  Learning to spin is like that, its a physical & mental learning.  There are plenty of youtube videos & blogs devoted to spinning & weaving so I'm not going to max this post out with a spinning tutorial.
 See, here's some kitty knitting.  Boomer really does like to help!
 Uh oh, one of those oddball yarns ran out.  No biggie, tie a knot with another colour & keep going.

Here on the bobbin you can sorta see 2 colour transitions.  There's 3 for sure.
 My bobbin is full, time to unload.
See that ball?  Thats what I rolled off the bobbin.  Each ball can make a mat about as big as what Boomer is sitting on.  We have a family friend who is legally blind.  He learned to do bulky spool knitting before his sight got too bad.  My family plies the acrylic yarns thick, and he spool knits them.  It takes about 30-45 minutes to make a plied ball of yarn.  It takes him about 8 hours to spool-knit & stitch them into mats.  Thats indomitable spirit in action!


  1. Wow, a spinning wheel that is so cool and it's great that you can help your friend continue to knit and make the mats.

    I have a blog award for you (I posted it earlier, but I think it was lost when Blogger went down).Please come to my blog to claim it!

  2. Wow, that's very impressive! My great-grandmother use to do something similar with cotton rags and then made rag rugs. I wish I was old enough to pay attention as it is a lost art.

    I have a little something for you on my blog. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  3. Thank you! I tried to pick up the award but I have no idea how to "apply it" to show that someone gave it to me. I did go & look & am thankful for the kindness of bloggers encouraging bloggers:) I promise, when I get some time scrounged up I will try again to figure it out!


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