Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things 23 and 24 --- Ply, ply again

Most of my family is down with the flu right now, myself included, so I'm going to just copy my TAD blog posts about this yarn experiment tonight.

Thing-a-Day 23:
A couple of days ago, I started experimenting with plying yarn from old acrylic sweaters. Here’s the pic of my first blue-green yarn attempt. I did it all wrong, and someone over on the TAD blog explained to me what I did wrong. Thanks, Pat! I read your comment before I made too much more wildly unbalanced yarn.
In the first yarn, I did not put twist into the two frogged sweater yarns before plying them. This yarn is not useable. I wound it onto a pencil for now, till I decide its fate.

Here, I have two more balls of the sweater yarn, and I twisted them each individually on the spindle. I have been doing a little research, and I found out that if you don’t have a tensioned lazy kate, you can keep your yarn balls under upside-down, heavy terracotta flowerpots and have the yarn come up through the hole. This is a great idea, but I had two problems with it. Number one, there are no such flowerpots in the house, and my kids are sick, so I can not leave the house. Number two, I get interrupted a lot, so I have to leave my work often. I could not just pick up two flowerpots with yarn balls underneath each one, While holding a spindle, and put them up out of the reach of kids or pets withouth making a tangled mess. Since we have our own business, and I am in charge of dealing with emergencies, I might need to leave my work at any time.
What I ended up doing is taking two semi-disposable containers from the cupboard and making my own weighted yarn-holders from them. To make a hole in the lids, I gently folded the lid in half so I could fit it into a hole punch’s jaws. There are two holes; I just used the smoother one to feed my yarn through. To wieght them, I grabbed some glass marbles and dumped them into the containers until I was satisfied that the containers were heavy enough not to move around, leaving enough room for a smallish ball of yarn. I imagine that you could use anything heavy that would not snag or dirty your yarn for this purpose. Now I’m plying again, and if I have to stop, I scoop up my containers, stack them, and put them out of harm’s way.
I am twisting the plyed yarn in the opposite direction of the two single plys this time…

…and the yarn is not twisting up on itself much, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

There is very little info out there about plying recycled yarn, and I am an absolute beginner at spinning, so your input and ideas are warmly welcomed.
Thing-a-Day 24:
Kinda boring today. I have the flu, but there’s no way I’m missing a day of TAD if I can help it.
I did manage to ply the practice skein (purple and blue) today. It is commercial variegated acrylic yarn spun up with the leftover blue from the first skein. Pretty soon I’ll be ready to do this with wool.

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