How can I finish a single spun yarn for a more balanced single?

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on May 25, 2010 9:51 AM

I have been a spindler for almost 2 years and I just purchased my first wheel. All is going well, but now that I am spinning on  a wheel I want to try my hand at finishing single spun yarns. I am able to ply for a nice balanced yarn when making a 2 or more ply, but my singles on their own are slightly overspun, not drastically so, and I have weighted my few skeins slightly after finishing allowing them to dry under some tension and thus relaxing a bit, but i was told they may return to a state of wild abandon once knit during the blocking process.

I was reading in the new Spin Off about spinning soft,plump singles and the technique stated to run the yarn on the wheel in the opposite direction to release some of the twist. I am assuming this is done after setting the twist and finishing the yarn, otherwise my yarn will just fall apart. 

Has anyone tried this? Or does anyone have any suggestions for spinning and finishing for a balanced single?


Debi :)

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Posts 78
L Tyler wrote
on May 26, 2010 9:56 AM

Hi, Debi - I usually ply my yarns, but I've read that the one sure way to set twist & stabilize singles yarn so it doesn't kink or cause knitting to slant  is steam. Using a tea kettle is a bit risky to your hands, however. A garment steamer might be better. Basically you hold the skein under just enough tension that the yarn is straight, & subject it to a steam bath to make the fibers "set" into a nice relaxed, finished yarn. Just how long you have to steam it, I'm not sure, I'd guess maybe 20-30 seconds? Steaming is supposed to permanently set yarn, as opposed to washing & weighting , which are temporary.

As for "un-spinning" (running the yarn back onto the wheel, in the opposite direction of spinning) to take out some twist from overspun yarn, yes, it works. You don't take all the twist out, just let the yarn go right onto the wheel, barely holding it back. (Check to see how it's doing every so often) Unless you have a low-twist yarn to start with, it should hold together OK. Generally, low-twist yarns don't make knitting slant to the degree that blocking can't fix, anyway. If you feel more comfortable finishing the yarn first, then un-spinning, it should work just fine. Maybe try a sample both ways, knit, block, & see what happens.

Check out some commercial singles yarns to compare degree of twist to your handspun, too. You may be happly surprised at just how well-balanced your yarn is!                           LT

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jclay wrote
on May 26, 2010 11:05 AM

I have felted singles and that makes a nearly balanced yarn. I have also just spun it low twist without any problems.

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JillyB wrote
on May 22, 2011 9:15 PM

I find that running the single yarn back through the wheel "as if to ply" i.e. wheel going in the reverse direction to that used for spinning and working as fast as if you were plying works,  Only the same amount of twist is removed as when the yarn is actually being plied, so all should be well.  Then skein, soak (or wash) and dry as normal,  Good luck.

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