Good day, Stephanie! Keep in spinning that stash!
Thank you for explaining ratios....I never knew what that meant. I will get a wheel....someday.....
Does it help if a longtime lurker/non-spinner is compelled to post for the first time to tell you your tencel yarn still looks very pretty? Cause it is.
I'm afraid I can't help you with the plying thing . . . but I'll bet Amy King, of the Spunky Eclectic Blog, can. She knows her spinning stuff.
The sweater pieces look lovely . . . and I'm wondering if you're going to hold a contest for the person who can most closely guess the number of times you're asked for the pattern in the next few days. ;o)
That sweater is going to be SO gorgeous I can't stand it. The stitch patterns and cables are yarny diviness.
Alas and alack,I have no wisdom in the area of twist but its very nice to know you are a human craftster just like the rest of us. ;oP Aaah the great leveller..the learning curve!
Yeah, I don't know either. Glad I'm not the only one. But I look forward to hearing the answers. Your work looks beautiful just the same.
Well, I can't really give you any answers with the plying thing, cuz really, I've never seen a spinning wheel in person in my life. BUT I can say that I think what you underplied is still absolutely beautiful and I'm sure that you can do something great with what you've got-- you'll just have to find the right project.
And if you can't, you can always just send it to me ;)
The drawing is a great help! I understand the 'amount of twist' rule much better now that I see it. I never quite understood what people were talking about before. I love how the sweater is turning out as well.
I guess the best we can all do on the learning curve is enjoy the ride!
Wish I had an answer for you regarding plying difficulties - well, I wish I had an answer you want to hear!
My partial solution is a mini sample skein - a few feet worth, which is enough to give you a heads-up on the characteristics of the fiber you're using (i.e., how will finishing affect the end product).
I wouldn't consider that being a "technical spinner" anymore than knitting a swatch (including a wash & block) would make one a "technical knitter".
Should I duck for cover?
I'm a total hacker at knitting and though I have a Turkish drop spindle, it's a complete joke in my hands so the chances are nil that I'm going to take up spinning. But it does my heart good to hear someone trying to figure out how to beat a learning curve. Thank you Stephanie, I shall hack on...
I think the yarn still looks gorgeous...and since I don't know how to spin...much better than anything I've done :-P. Also...the sweater is AMAZING. I want one that will fit ME
Ask www.theknittingmama.blogspot.com She took a course with Judith and may be able to help you.
You may feel like a beginner spinner, but for those of us really beginning, it give us (or at least me) hope to see how far one can progress and still feel like a beginner. Thanks for showing us progress as you spin!
The sweater is gorgeous! And as a chronic underspinner myself, may I say there's nothing wrong with it: it means you end up with a softer yarn.
Think of how much better of a spinner you'll be after this challenge. I'm not a spinner, but it's fun seeing you fiddle with it.
I don't know how you touch wool in this weather, let alone spin it. I've resorted to knitting cotton.
Well, the yarn is beautiful, whatever it's twist (or whatever, not a spinner)- personally I am impressed with how much you are doing (as opposed to being concerned that you won't get it all done) and it doesn't seem like you should be worried, but you know more about this than I do! I say - keep it up! You can do it! I can't wait to see what you do next! (will it be the green/red/blue fleece that was in the upper right corner of the photo showing the stash?!) Go for it!
i should just shut the heck up, since if you looked at my last spinning you would see it's a nightmare... but do you think you have a little too much tension?
I am by no means an advanced spinner...First of all, I have never heard about under spun singles and over spun plies for knitting! Yikes am I doing it wrong? I tend to be a over twister...so when I ply, I ply slower and it seems to take care of it for both my weaving and knitting. Haven't had it bias on me. And by the way...yummmy yarn Steph!
Even looking at the roving you spun, it is obvious it wants to be something soft and drapey. I am not a spinner, in any way shape or form, and do not plan on even trying it until my childrens are out of the house...I don't need another hobby on which to spend money and have read enough to know I can not make my own yarn cheaper.
I don't know how many yards/meters you have there, but it will be lovely as part of something with drape. The underplying just will aide the drape.
Thanks for teaching us more about spinning. The yarn you created and the baby sweater are beautiful. I like all of the different colors in the freshly spun yarn.
Hi, Stephanie- There are a few ways to measure twist and ply, but perhaps the most straight-forward is to have a sample piece of the yarn you want to make for reference while you're spinning. This method is for making a traditional, balanced ply yarn.
Make the sample by spinning and letting the yarn ply back on itself. Do that again until you like it. Set the twist to see if it still looks right--if not, back to sampling. If you are a chronic under-spinner-plyer, make it extra tight to compensate for your known habits, or vice versa.
Keep a loop of the un-set (important--you want to compare to what it looks like before twist is set)) sample with you at the wheel. Periodically stop spinning, pull out a section, let it ply back on itself, and compare to the sample. If the ply isn't the same, adjust the spinning. The correct plying twist begins with the correct spinning twist in the single, and this little sample helps you keep on track.
There are other ways to do this, like comparing your yarn to a twist gauge, looking at it through a linen-tester, etc. But the sample method is really easy and doesn't require any additional tools. But, you must stop and check your spinning to make sure you're being consistent. Hey, anyone who could knit the Vintage socks can do this!
The yarn you have is still lovely, and would be fine in a soft drapey scarf. People spin all sorts of ways--under, over, unbalanced--and they must find something to make out of all that yarn! Good luck-- Gretcheng
Isn't a statement like: "All the pieces of the "Baby Yours" sweater are done. At least I know when I'm doing that right." just tempting the fates? I really don't want to read tomorrow that you just discovered you did two left fronts or something like that.
Not that you would...
JUST out of curiosity, how is it that you have the money for not one, but two spinning wheels, but do not have the money for an air conditioner? I choke when I look at the cost of spinning wheels and have, therefore, put off purchasing ONE. Of course, today it is 111 degrees farenheit outside, so going without a/c is really not an option. But still . . .
No comment on the twist - I don't spin. But, if you don't like the yarn, I run a home for beautiful, yet undesired skeins. I'd be happy to give your poor little guy a home. I have some merino/tencel blend yarn, so he would have a friend to frolic with.
I ply until the fibers are all straight in the ply, meaning that I have cancelled out the twist from the single and the fibers (no matter which little plied bump they reside in) are aligned straight in the yarn.
Well, you could also always try the "beat the crap out of it" finishing approach. You'll probably find it'll integrate your plies more but not be all nasty to the merino/tencel.
But, okay, so: with tencel in the blend, overspinning it can make it annoyingly brittle if it's fine. So you should pat yourself on the back anyway.
Also? Have you ever thought about scoring a faster wheel? I think you might be outdrafting your wheel, causing underspinning. Mwahahahaha... steal Denny's Watson wheel, since she keeps not bringing it over for me to play with.
"hampsteresque in the treadling" *snort* that sounds like me.
that's my problem. i tend to overtwist everything. i think if we merge my super twisty beginner yarns with yours we'll have something really awesome.
hm.. i'll have to get my hands on some of that tencel....
From a non-spinner ... is spinning good exercise? It seems like you'd get a great workout with all the "hamsteresque" moves.
Wow thanks for all the twist info. That was really informative. :) Once you figure out the magic of knowing when enough is enough I hope you share that as well.
LOL @ hamsteresque!
I only know how to spin with a spindle... but the way I learned to tell if it's overspun or underspun when plying is, let a length of the yarn go slack. If it twists counterclockwise it's underspun. If it twists clockwise it's overspun. If it just hangs there it's balanced.
That said, I have no idea if wheels even spin the same direction as most spindlers (singles spun clockwise, plied counterclockwise). And your yarn looks lovely anyway.
I put more twist in the yarn than I think I need, even to the point where it looks overspun before it goes through the orifice and winds on the bobbin. However, once it's wound on the bobbin it looks perfect. So just put way more twist in your singles (or plying) and it'll turn out just like you want it. It's very important to remember that you lose twist between spinning the single and plying, then winding the yarn into a skein and washing it. You have to make up for those losses. The twist you lose isn't really significant, but if your yarn is underspun in the first place, you're going to notice it.
Maybe this could be one of your Tour de Fleece goals: add more twist to your yarn!
I totally agree with Gretcheng about sampling. My spinning improved greatly after I started making a sample. The first sample (as you spin your singles) will keep you making singles with enough twist in the first place so that they will ply pleasingly. After you wet finish the sample, ply to match the sample. Then, you will have a balanced, nicely plied yarn when you wet finish the skein. This will work for Navajo ply as well if you make a second sample by folding the single to get 3 plies and finishing it before plying.
Just adding more twist in plying won't help much because the skein will not be balanced and will skew the knitting unless you block it after every wash.
While your skein isn't perfect, I think it is beautiful.
Watching you in the Tour de Fleece is EXACTLY what I needed to fight the current round of spinning wheel envy. I want to spin because I want a spinning wheel.
Recognizing the depth of knowledge required to spin well reminds me that spinning is just going to take me away from something else. Since I decided this year to problem solve and finish knitting projects instead of hiding them in the closet when I make a mistake, my skill as a knitter is increasing dramatically. And the finished object collection is growing. That's a good trend that I don't want to sacrifice for a pretty tool (the wheel).
I'm totally with those who say you need to put more twist into your singles, first and foremost! You will actually take twist out as you ply, so you need to compensate. Sample, sample, sample (Patsy Z's second video is terrific for ways to do this) and then add a bit more twist than is "balanced" when you ply, too. After wet finishing, wuzzing and whacking, you should have pretty near perfect twist in your yarn!
Well, my last spinning project was also underspun! I made a singles and didn't want to overtwist it, but still... no one knows once it's knit up.
For a two ply laceweight, I tend to go for the spindle, since it is easier for me to get lots of twist that way and I check the way Gretcheng does. I too have both an Ashford Joy and old Traddy. I once bought a lace flyer for the Traditional, but haven't used it. That's what I would try for a high ratio, though - its low is higher than the Joy's highest.
Well, you have convinced me to knit socks and buy yarn for a lace shawl and now, you have reallllly convinced me that I will never, never, never spin. I will continue to support my LYS to the best of my ability to do my part for the knitting world.
I'm an overspinner/underplyer, so I sympathize. My last yarn looks really dorky but it will be really cute when knit up (so will yours!!). Perfect for a hat, anyhow.
The sweater is gorgeous.
I think I'm with Carol (above). But I am thinking about buying a loom.......
Your fibers are very beautiful, though I confess to not knowing the first thing about spinning. What happens if you knit something with an under-spun or under-plied hand spun? Does the resulting fabric pill or wear out faster?
See, now I'm a chronic OVER spinner and plyer. It's ridiculous! I made some sock yarn that was akin to thin rope the other day. Thank goodness after setting the twist, it chilled out a bit.
Have you tried drinking copiously before spinning? For some reason, it helps me not put quite so much twist in, so maybe it'll help you put more in? Or what about you spin your single and then run it through your wheel on a high intake to add more twist (maybe a few times?) Do the same after you're finished plying. That might help, too.
I'm a chronic underspinner/plyer, too, and I'm still struggling to find a way to find a way to tell when there's enough twist in the plying. My current method that is so far working resonably well is to use a lower (slower) ratio for spinning the singles, and then a higher (faster)ratio for the plying. Go Team Harlot!
I think I overspin and underply or something. Usually I know when to stop spinning and start drafting more when it feels like it's getting kind of tight in my left hand. Then I just draft more and let the overtwist enter the drafted roving.
It could be the tencel too. My experience with merino tencel have always been underspun but I'm fine with wool. Who knows?
over twist and ply Holy Smoly and reading the comments sounds like you have to do way more than ONE swatch but they don't call it that do they --(sample) a sneaky word for swatching if you ask me. Thank goodnesss you are exlaining it as I wouldn't know the front froom the back of a spinning wheel. Thatt fleece looks like a dog's braekfast but much nicer colours UNTIL you got it to behave and voila it is fabulous. Is this why spinners get hooked? The baby sweater is going to be a masterpiece when finished can hardly wait to see it completed. GOOD luck keep spinning.
I think that you are doing FINE!!! Yes, you could stand to get more twist in it, and in an effort to do that... This contest may be your chance.
Ok. I have re-written this several times now, trying to make it easy to understand.
You have a lot of spinning to do, so this is a prime opportunity for you to have multiple fibers (fibres?) to play with.
Ply a bit of yarn from your singles, and make two very small skeins (about the size of the emergency skein from BMFA). Block one. Attach both to an index card to that you can see the difference. Then as you spin, you can compare your current plying to the unblocked skein and see how it will look after it is blocked (looking at the blocked mini skein)., and whether or not your current plying needs more twist. If you are very under twisted, do it again until you are happy with the end result.
After a couple of times of doing this with each new fiber, you will start to get the hang of it. It is beautiful, regardless of the twist! Happy Spinning.
Ha! I was going to guess that part of the underspinning problem was due to the Tencel (having never spun it myself, I have no personal experience) so I was really pleased to read Abby's comment! Sampling is fine and works for a lot of people, but whenever I do it, my yarn is *what I consider to be* underspun. I'd run it back through the wheel. You'll be happier with it.
Dear Yarn Hamster... er, Harlot,
I don't know thing #1 about spinning; in fact, you've just doubled or tripled my total knowledge with this blog. However, I DO know what I like. The yarn looks gorgeous to me, & I love the sheen! Spin on!
As far as the baby sweater goes, it's also coming along beautifully -- if you didn't just jinx it with your last line!
I always over spin. The last handspun I used to make socks was so overspun that the entire sock shifted as the knitting progressed down the leg. Because of this I decided to use commercially spun yarn for my next few projects. I wrote up some sock patterns and I just posted the first one out on my sidebar (free of course). Sorry, I transgress, I believe that underspun yarn would be more agreeable to knit with and lay flat than would the overspun. Your colors are beautiful and the tencel gives the yarn a lovely sheen.
Your handspun is gorgeous-love the colors. I am by no means an experienced spinner, but I can put in my 2 cents-Tencell is a b*tch for me to spin, I hardly even want to talk about it. I had so much trouble spinning up 8 oz of my handdyed stuff into laceweight that I gave it away because I couldn't bear the sight of it. I did have a harder time telling if the twist was appropriate than I do with woolier fibers.
Being someone who has never touched a spinning wheel in their entire life, I have little understanding of the spinning process. Your explanations (and wonderful sketch, haha) made a lot of sense to me.
Now I want to learn how to spin.
YH, you know I say this all the time and I am just waiting for you to spit on me but - we also have this spinning dilemma in common. I used to have a hard time not underplying - though I don't have that problem with singles.
I think it goes against my nature to offer advice as much if not more than it does to ply 'really freaking tight'. But, since you asked for it, here I go: I have finally found that the twists per inch (which have so many different purposes than this) to be a great help in plying. I hold the strands apart in back with my right hand, two fingers (because I used to teach reading and my fingers are perpetually stuck in the 'two finger space' position on that hand) between the two strands. Then, at the orifice, with the left hand, I gently run my finger and thumb back along the two strands for a couple of inches, pinch for a moment to let more twist in the feed, and then let the plied portion feed onto the bobbin. Wash. Rinse, Repeat. If you play some really good music, and reflax, your arms will start to pull toward each other - the left pulling back and folding the twist onto the yarn and the right coming forth to feed the hungry orifice.
I can't help with the spinning (your yarn still looks very pretty!), but your baby sweater looks fabulous! I'm looking forward to seeing it after you sew it up.
Well. I am not a technical spinner but learned to spin at 9. I am now trying to learn to be one.Usually if you let the yarn wind back ( this has been mentioned) with your threader hook holding it down ( I don't do this part) then it is considered good. What kind of spinning technique?
Also I think somewhere on the web might be some illegal instructions how to sup up one of your wheels, I got the Vikki Louet and supered mine up. But My Traditional which was a double works great for tighter twist it might be like knitters tension or something. OR you might want to make a twist card too. Especially if your stopping a bit. thanks for the help on the sock. Lots to you~
I'm learning more about spinning every day. I have a rescued wheel, from Goodwill, but it needs a crank and I don't know where to get one. I'm avoiding selling the thing, and I really don't have a place for it, but darn it, you make spinning seem so desireable!!!! There's a colour thing, and a creative thing, and the feel of fibre in my hands, that I desperately want to be able to do. Your yarn is wonderful, underspun or whatever. I'd knit with it, for sure. :O) Thank you for the lesson today.
If you are looking for balance with the ply, i check mine by stopping the wheel and moving the plied but not yet pulled in yarn so that it makes a loop. if the loop twists I either have too much or not enough ply depending on which way it twists. I have to figure out each time which is which. I try to keep my plying balanced unless I am cabling wherein I need to back twist it way over... I hope that helps.
I try to get consistency with counting pedals per make, and it still sometimes eludes me by a lot. I do this: add twist until it is obviously much over twisted and then do two more treadles. It mostly comes out under twisted in the ply anyway.
The varied textures and tones of that baby sweater combine to equal gawjiss knitting. Lucky baby.
A very skilled spinner/knitter of my acquaintance refers to both as "touch arts" - meaning, there needs to be a pretty big place in the brain to process what the hands and body are experiencing because sheer intellect doesn't get the job done nearly as well. That said, once a spinner has realized the feet and hands work in relationship not always under control of the mind, the tension setting becomes your best friend. Too little twist? Loosen the tension. Too much twist - I bet you know the answer. Sampling every several minutes is a boon to consistency, also.
I work for a conventionally balanced yarn - one that hangs straight once plied and taken off the niddynoddy, before setting the twist by soaking and drying without weighting. This latter step blooms the fiber, also. Important as I spin merino and alpaca virtually exclusively, and only after this last step do I really know what my yarn looks like.
Too little twist can make for a very funky look when the yarn knits up - disguised if used for a lacy-drapey item. Overspun yarn has found new life as "energized" yarn in items that make used of the bias over-spinning creates in the knitted piece.
Hamster on, and best of luck - jdu
I can't help you with spinning technicalities but I can say that the Baby Yours makes me want to have a baby. It looks stunning, there in its un-put-together state. And you'd better hurry to finish the other color before Meghan's little one shows its lovely face. I think you did the blue first because you want a girl so you thought you'd trick the boy gods. Can't wait to see the finished sweater, and then the finished baby wearing the finished sweater.
So far, I am totally a process spinner, because the product is not so good. I also underply and would swear that I completely overplied. Sigh.
Worry not Stephanie, your opposites exist in the world. I am a chronic OVER spinner. My navajo ply-ed yarn tends to feel like rope. Yippie! (Okay, really not).
I'm with Juno. I was going to say "faster wheel," too. It'll change your life.
In the meantime, if you treadle fast enough, maybe you can get a breeze going and cool off the house!
And beautiful, beautiful sweater.
p.s. Your spinning will be better at the end of the Tour de Fleece. Promise.
Just don't motor through it at the expense of learning something from what you're doing.
Congrats on taking on the spinning challenge, but I really want to ask you about the Baby Yours sweater...Will the Baby Mine be the same pattern in pink? (now that you have all the kinks ironed out of the pattern, it should go much faster...maybe :^)
Continued good luck on the Tour de Fleece
Steph, try adjusting the tension a little tighter than you normally would use it when plying. I find that if I feel like I have to 'fight' my wheel a little, it's easier to get a good firm ply because I want to hold onto it longer than I would if I was just plying loosely. Don't crank it up a ton, just enough so that the wheel tugs a bit on your yarn.
Or do what Abby said, and steal Denny's wheel. :D
Thank you for affirming my belief that I do not want to learn how to spin. I applaud your verve, however.
Uhh, my first thought was that you need a faster wheel with a higher ratio...or a whorl with a higher ratio for either of those wheels you've got. Abby is right, you are just going to hampster away there on those wheels if you want to get enough twist in there. So, yes, twists per inch work, samples work, running the already plied yarn through a second time to introduce more twist...all that works. What helps the most? Having a tool (a wheel) with enough speed to it so you don't have to treadle like a crazy person to make lighter weight yarns work. That's my best summary. All the details? Wow you have a lot of comments to help with that! In any case, your yarn is pretty--and your goal? admirable indeed!
I just want to thank you for how clear and simple your spinning information is! I've always glazed over in the second sentence of spinning instruction, and this time I actually understood what you were saying. (And the technical drawing is perfect, too.) I'm sure my family is hoping I don't get bitten by this bug, too; the knitting occupies 'too much' of my time as it is (at least from their perspective)! Keep at it, my friend, and keep enjoying it.
from experience I can say that the slightly underplied fingering weight I'm knitting lace with right now looks awesome.
For a piece that will not receive heavy wear, the loose ply gives great drape. Also, it blooms in the lace pattern, giving a softness to the visual ines without dimishing the imapct of the yarn overs.
Also, would not one want an over-spun single that is then plied to get the desired twist? Plying removes singles twist while adding ply twist.
You could get a lace flyer kit.
And frankly, I spin it until I like it. Ha!
Hmmm, and yet I find it very comforting to know that THE Yarn Harlot is having trouble in the spinning world. Makes my less-superior self feel a little better about my meager efforts. :)
If you think yours is underplied, you should see mine. If you do figure out how to get the perfect ply, for pity's sake let us know.
Well, I can't help, as I am a newbie spinner myself. I also suffered from the chronic underplying- and went so far into twist that I have one ball of the curliest, most kinky overplied yarn ever. (Seriously, it probably would have been better as one of those curly-cue slinky-type yarns instead!) So, I see your underplying woes and warn you that twist has a dark side, too!
I'm sitting here giggling like a loon at the thought of hampsteresque treadling. It has the traditional plate spinning music in my head http://www.kickassclassical.com/khachaturian_sabre.mp3
I've just started up a spinning group, we meet next Monday. To my chagrin, they all liked the name that I felt sure wasn't going to stick - Sit and Spin. I don't have a wheel, but I do have a drop spindle and some roving. Sadly I'm also a serious klutz, so this should be interesting.
I'm very, very interested in this post, as I am about to have my very first spinning experience next week. I'm going to visit my very bestest bloggy friend (a dyer/spinner extraordinaire) and she has some nefarious plan to chain me to a wheel and crack the whip until yarn comes out of it (or me, I am unsure exactly what is going through her mind at the moment).
Either way, your merino/tencel yarn is a lovely, lovely thing, and I would gladly give it an Antipodean home if you need to get it far away from you... :)
Even under-plied, it looks lovely. And kudos to you for spinning at all! (I have one homemade drop spindle and some really lumpy wool hidden behind the rest of the stash. It wasn't pretty.) Also, won't the way you knit it up help? Maybe?
Thank you for broadening my understanding of all things wool and more! You are meeting my vicarious yearn to spin.
Little sweater looking really sweet!
I saw a spinning wheel once in a museum, but I had to "touch with my eyes". Someday, I'll get to see more.
Well, now I know what ratio means! Thank you!!! I want to spin so very badly and really suck at spindle spinning. Wheels seem to be way out of my price range so I'll just watch you. But it's nice to know what some of that techy stuff means. I can understand this yarn is not what you were trying for, but I'd be ecstatic if I had managed to produce it!
I knew there was a reason I don't spin.
I'll pay for others to do it for me, so I don't have to go through all that nonsense.
But it is very pretty!
I'm also inclined to underspin and underply. But I'm also quite good at overspinning and overplying. It's that middle range I can't seem to master!
The only spinning advice I can offer is the same spinning advice I -always- offer, no matter what the problem - ask Maggie (Casey.) I'll be taking her Spinning 2 class at the end of July...I can ask her then.
Not the most helpful thing, I know, but there you go.
You might as well be speaking in Italian to me when it comes to spinning. I get the concept, but just barely.
The sweater, however, is wonderful. The color of the yarn and its variations are simply gorgeous.
I'm also a pretty new spinner, and I had underspinning/plying problems for a while. Making samples is a good idea, but I'm about as likely to do it as I am to swatch (so...not very). I've found that two things really help get my plying nice and snug (if I'm going for that).
1. Let your plying twist run into the singles a little bit at a time, like you're drafting. I pinch the singles as I ply and run my fingers back to control the length of the area being plied. It took me a long time to get this because I was so entranced by watching the singles twist - but it helped a lot.
2. Use a smaller ratio to ply than the one you use to spin singles. This helped me enormously. I have a Kromski Minstrel, and if I spin my singles, say, at a ratio of 12:1, I ply at 16:1. It helps get the twist you need in the plying without having to think about it so much, or treadle so fast.
You'll lose plying twist in the finishing, too. I like my plying to be a bit unbalanced and twist on itself a little before it gets on the bobbin - after it relaxes in the finishing process, it balances. For me, anyway. Hope this helps! (The yarn, by the way, is lovely.)
I have nothing of value to offer on the spinning front... I'm usually satisfied if most of the yarn in the skein is sort of the same weight. My only consolation is that knitting hides a lot of sins. However, I do feel compelled to add that anyone who can work "hamsteresque" into a conversation is AOK in my book, regardless of their spinning/plying prowess!
Everything you knit is fantastic. Love the spinning. Even if you do get behind, at least you have some fantastic stuff to show for it. I'm in Michigan now, with my somewhat psyco relatives, so this blog, my yarn and harry potter are the only things keeping me alive.
love the fleece(ces?)
YH, First, your yarn is beautiful. Second, I think I would have to agree with Judy DuMonde. I have a tendency to use the same ratio setting for worsted and lace weight. For the most part, I rely on adjusting the tension. Periodically I check the twist by allowing a section to twist on itself before it is drawn onto the bobbin. Some overtwist in the single will help with the pyling.
I really hated hearing this myself, but "it really does just take practice". And under-plyed is better than twisty-gnarly yarn.
Keep spinning, with all the practice you are going to get during the Tour de Fleece, I'm sure it will all balance out in the end ;)
Absolutely no spinning advise from me. I just stared spinning last week. Since I usually use any knitting pattern as merely a guideline or a suggested way to do things, I'm approaching my spinning that way as well. The knitting police haven't hauled me away yet, and doubt the spinning cops will either.
Dang, can I make really great funky yarns or what!!!! ;-)
Your yarn is lovely. One day it will jump up and proclaim itself just right for a project.
Plying: take a length of your singles, and put it in a bowl or glass of water. Magic will happen. The singles will ply back on itself, telling you how many twists per inch you need. Let the now plied yarn dry. Hang it where you can reach it while plying, and use it to measure the ply you're getting. Easy peasy.
I haven't learned how to spin, but I love the tencel you have spun.
I have been knitting for years, but have never entered the world or "real" fiber and yarn. Have only used store bought acrylics. (Please read on before you throw me out).
How does one get started with real fiber yarns, knowing nothing more than that they are really pretty? I don't have a clue what or how much of it to buy....etc.,etc.
Is there a web-site for people like me who need to start in pre-school.....and don't really fit in here with all you college grads?
I can only admire you and your achievments.
I have just recently discovered Stephanie's books, and they are wonderful. They make me laugh...even though I am not the professional she is, I can identify with her knitting experiences....so refreshing!
Whether or not its underspun or underplyed, its beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. I'm not normally a big fan of the "this is what I've spun" blogging, but I'm really enjoying your progress so far. Keep it up...only ????g to go.
You could try navajo plying, a little more difficult than normal plying, but I have tried it and it looks great when done, I too was a chronic underplyer, when plying normally now I hold on to the yarn for a couple of seconds longer than I normally would when spinning singles, this has helped immensely when plying hope this helps
faster wheel dude.
did you put on the lace flyer Ken gave you?
Oh and Abby, quit talking like your just over in another end of town. You are far and Martha (the Watson) is not going on a road trip.
Beautiful fibers, beautiful yarn! And as ever, when you're the most bumfuzzled, you come up with the most wonderful wording of things - "hamsteresque" indeed. Ha!
As for the plying, here's a thought (sort of a quickie version of "Wanna try this?" concept).
Anyway, d'you see how in your sketch, the angle of the twist is just about exactly 45 degrees? But in the photo of the finished skein, the twist is definitely less than 45 degrees? And in the finished, washed skein, it's even less than that?
So here's the thought: When you spin your singles, make sure that the twist is right around 45 degrees, then nudge it just a teensy little bit more (that extra nudge will be just fine as soon as you ply - honest).
Then when you ply, do pretty much the same thing: Ply it to that same 45 degree angle, see what you think, then decide if you want to nudge that twist or not (probably the time for sample skeins, dangit)
Yes, do the little sample skein thing (I hate doing those danged sample skeins, it's even worse than doing a knitted gauge swatch - it's never enough to actually *do* anything with!) But give it a shot, see what you think...
Oh! Use as little tension as you possibly can for the really fine stuff - it can make a real difference
On the underplying ... one thing to remember is that you are likely "drafting" the singles muuuch faster than you were drafting the fiber, so even if you are treadling at the same pace, you're putting less twist in for each length. So try slowing down on the drafting during plying, or hamstering-up the treadling (there's a great YouTube video, "Carding and Spinning" of a 1938 spinner (Mrs Helen Maddrell of the Isle of Man)doing the hamster thing, so you wouldn't be the first!!)
And a commenter above suggested Navajo ply -- a 3-ply takes less twist to get the same twist angle as a two ply (whew, that sounds complicated) -- so your 3-ply, be it Navajo or 3 separate bobbins, will get more twists per inch at the same treadle rate as 2 strands being plied together.
Glad to see you're in the Tour :-) I didn't get my act together enough to do it -- the fiber I'd ordered to have it safely "in the stash" didn't arrive (oh woe is me, like there isn't enough here already...)
love the baby sweater and can't wait to see it all put together. has the actual baby arrived yet?
Underspun or not...that is an absolutely beautiful yarn.
Adage: Enough is not enough.
Are you changing to a smaller whorl to ply? I have a tendency to under ply as well and I find that just going a little farther than looks right does the trick. When I think that I've definitely over-plied, it's perfect. Letting the twist into the plied yarn slowly seems to help too.
Happy spinning! I'm enjoying my first tour :D
That yarn sure is enticing and yummy looking. Looks so soft!
Here's how I determine how much twist:
1. Spin your single.
2. Add more twist.
3. Add twist until you can feel the twist trying to get past your pinched-off drafting...er....shape (some people have triangles. Some, not so much).
4. Add a little bit more.
5. See how twisted your singles have gotten and curse to yourself that you've just spun a perfect poodle replica, and how the aych ee double hockey sticks (yay, Canada - hockey!) you managed to get so much twist into the danged singles.
Pause for the beer or wine of your choice.
6. Begin plying by adding twist.
7. Doh - in the OPPOSITE direction!
8. Treadle along to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall until you think you have enough twist.
9. Treadle a little bit more.
Toss the whole kinky mess into a sinkfull of soapy water, and go finish that beer/wine.
Whilst (see, I speak Canadian!) you are enjoying your beverage, the Twist Faeries will snatch your kinky mess of yarn from the sink and replace it with wet, but nicely plied, balanced yarn.
Hang the yarn to dry, and toast the Twist Faeries.
By then, you won't care.
Such pretty yarn! Such a pretty baby sweater (some assembly required)!
You're doing great.
In other news, my hands are stained dark blue from knitting with a hand-dyed yarn that, on second thought, I should have washed before winding.
It may not look perfect to you, but I think it's wondrously pretty stuff (and I'd be thrilled if it were mine).
The yarn you spun looks beautiful. Mabel Ross covers counting to get the right twist in singles and plied yarns. I have "The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners", but haven't actually put it into use. It kind of reminds me of eavesdropping at a dancing lesson in a German hotel once; "Eins, zwei, drei, eins, zwei, drei..." kind of wooden and no musicality! In defense of the dancing instructor, everybody smiled often and broadly!
Stephenie Gaustad teaches the best comprehensive spinning class that covers everything from why to use this or that wheel to spin a particular yarn, how to spin in a more relaxed yet more productive manner, the whole twist and ratio thang, and she makes it hilarious and interesting. I recently took her two-day version along with a bunch of other spinners, many also expert, and we LEARNED heaps and laughed the whole time. Highly recommended.
I actually prefer a higher twist in my singles and plied yarn. Better durability, doesn't split when knitting, better stitch definition. Are you rushing instead of letting the wheel do its twisting job?
You can soup up an old Ashford Trady by buying an additional whorl and changing the ratios with some sandpaper. Do you have a dd or Scotch tension? If you have a dd have you rigged it out for Scotch (easy)?
Does this mean that you can't use the yarn without re-spinning it? Or is it just going to be a very splitty yarn?
Well, I've only got one wheel (don't know if I'll ever be able to afford a second one), and it's only got one whorl with two ratios, but I have no idea what the ratios are (I only use the faster one anyway). I'm also a non-technical spinner, and when people start getting really technical with spinning terms at me, my brain just clamps up. So. I usually put a lot of twist into it while I'm spinning and while I'm plying. I count treadles and don't let the yarn feed onto the bobbin too soon. With my wheel, at the beginning of the bobbin it's 4 treadles for each draft and feed, then once the bobbin's a little fuller I change it to 5, and then when it's close to full I change it to 6. I use the same numbers when I'm plying. Obviously with a different wheel and/or someone feeding on a different amount of yarn at a time, the numbers would need to be different, but that's what works for me.
I don't actually count the entire time. Once I've got the rhythm down, I just keep going until it's time to change the number. And yep, I treadle like a hamster. Fast music helps.
So my "big sister" from my sorority sent me this:
It's knitting graffiti!
I'm really curious about this bit where you have "underspun" singles and "overplied" plies because (here in the USA and Canada) we've all been brought up on the idea of "balanced yarns", where the twist in the single and the opposing twist in the plying "balance" out, so that a finished yarn hangs without twisting in either direction.
It seems to me that if you have an underspun single and an overplied plied yarn (hope that made sense), you won't have a balanced yarn. Unbalanced yarns can do interesting things to the fabrics that they're used in, which may be something you want, or not.
But when I'm reading stuff about underspun/overplied yarns, I don't see the matter of the consequences of working with an unbalanced yarn discussed. Maybe the gurus who advocate these inherently unbalanced yarns have approaches for obviating the effects of the imbalance, but I don't see that presented either.
I'd appreciate learning more about this. Hope you find out and report back.
The woman who (attempted to) teach me me wheel spinning said that yep, absolutely there's a ratio. Unfortunately I can't remember what it was - but two-thirds sounds sort of vaguely familiar. Of course, this requires you to count treadles while you're spinning the singles, and for every arms length of yarn (or whatever other measure you use before winding on), you use two thirds (or whatever it is) of that number of treadles to do the plying.
The idea of counting treadles and being anal about plying math actually sort of appeals to me, but I have a feeling that most people don't do it this way...
I'm still trying to make bits of thread that stick together on my spindle, so plying math isn't currently a priority for me, but if no one else remembers the ratio, you can always count what you're doing on the next one, and if it comes out just right, figure out the golden ratio from there, and if it's too loose/too tight, then adjust accordingly till you get it.
When you're knitting sweaters for newborns, what size do you make? They grow so doggoned fast when they're new!
I haven't ever heard of underspinning singles. I always overspin my singles a little, just enough so that the yarn naturally plies back on itself. Then I ply the yarn together until it looks like yarn.
I can totally see you doing the hampster. But the yarn is so pretty! I love the sheen! What can you do? Make sure you knit it to a firm gauge?
Also, you've got me totally trained. I'm sitting here on the night shift and got *really close* to the screen to make sure all your cables were crossed properly. Well, after the international mitten thumb incident, you never know...
I don't even know what my ratios are... (bad spinner)
Boggled. Completely boggled. Does it help that the tencel/merino I see in the LYS looks a lot like that? Probably not.
But it's lovely stuff--so pretty!
And I CAN'T wait to see the baby sweater!
Oh, and I gave my Louet spindle and some fibre (my washed/carded Jacob and some Romney) to my co-worker who wants to learn to spin. Mwahaha! We've hooked another one!
I would consider loaning you my Watson for the duration of the Tour de Fleece (mine fits in my car) ... a double drive double treadle 24 inch Kirsten (but I call her Aurora). Or would that be considered the equivalent of performance-enhancing drugs? I'll be downtown on Friday afternoon...
Why don't you COUNT YOUR TREADLES before you wind on? Sorry for the yelling, but it needed the only emphasis I can give without nice little icons like bold and italics. Also, you might want to check out some books if you really care - authors Alden Amos, Bette Hochberg, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.
What a gorgeous sweater and your yarn is really lovely even if it's underplied. I used to have the same problem all the time. The yarn would look and act like it was perfectly plied until I washed it to set the twist. Then, all of a sudden, instead of beautiful, lovely, perfectly plied yarn, I'd have something that resembled Medusa's head of snake hair LOL! I was fortunate enough to have a class with Rita Buchanan and ask her about it. She told me that even though according to all the pre-setting of the twist tests my yarn looked perfectly plied, that it had actually set some on the bobbin. She said that in the hot and humid air of summer, a singles could partially set in as little as an hour, so that would skew the letting it wrap back on itself test. She advised me to take a sample and wash it before I plied the whole thing to test the twist. I also had a class with Rudy Amann and he said the same thing. Here's what I do. When I ply yarn I always have my chair about the same distance from my wheel and hold about the same amount of yarn to ply each time to make it easier for me to be consistent. I ply a regular length and count the treadles and then wind it on. I pull a about a 8" sample off my bobbin, taking care to hold on tightly to both ends so I don't lose any twist, and then tie it into a continuous loop. I throw the loop into a bowl of hot water with a few drops of dish soap (to help wet the fibers)for a minute or two, then take it out, blot it on paper towels and check the twist by seeing how it hangs. If it's underplied then I know that I need to add a treadle or two. If it's overplied I treadle less. For me, the great thing about checking my plying this way is that over time I have learned about how many treadles it takes to spin the type of yarn I usually spin. I'm really fond of spinning a fine yarn with fine fibers such as merino tencel and if I'm not spinning for any particular purpose, this is what I'll usually spin. Because I usually hold the same length of singles to ply every time, I know how much twist to put in each type of yarn I usually like to spin. I don't always have to check it this way each time, but I usually still do. Happy spinning. For the record you're not the only one falling behind in the Tour de Fleece LOL!
you've made my day with the term hampsteresque, I immediately started thinking about where I could use it
My last batch was a bit overspun, so I'm coming at this from a different angle. However, when my singles were underplied to the point of falling apart, my spinning mentors told me that the twist you put in is lessened by hitting the orifice and hook and doesn't really anchor until the yarn is wound around the bobbin. So it's best to check the twist on the bobbin yarn, not the yarn between your hand and the orifice. I hope that helps.
I also find it very helpful to practice on yarn that barpoles, because then it's much easier to see the twist.
OK I can't claim to be an experienced spinner, but I thought it was OVERSPIN the single a little, and then OVERPLY to relax a little of that single back. Because when you ply, you are going the opposite direction of the single twist, and the twist opens up a wee tad - that's why if you take a full bobbin of singles, make a center pull ball out of it, then ply it, you have to work to cram it onto the bobbin that it just happily filled as a singles.
As to 'how much'? - if I can pull the single back out of the orifice without the single coming apart, it is enough.
The method by which I learned to spin can't be called all that scientific, but I will say that I used to be all mathy with it. I would put x treadles into it, and then treadle x times to ply. I found I was chronically underplying, so I adjusted the ratio. Added more twist to the singles, took more out treadling. Getting the higher speed flyer helped. It felt at first like I was overplying, but then when I abused and set the yarn, it looked gorgeous.
Oh, and you don't need a whole new wheel, you can get by with just getting a new flyer for your traddie. It's $33 at The Woolery for the "updated" flyer for the traditional or traveller wheel, which will get you 3 ratios (6.5:1, 12.5:1 and 17.5:1), so faster even than your Joy.
$33 is a lot cheaper than a whole new wheel, and it'll get you up to 17.5:1!
I have an old Traditional, too, and got really tired of having to basically run a mini-marathon to spin or ply thin yarn, so I (finally) got a new flyer for it. It made a huge difference: all of a sudden, I can treadle at a relatively normal speed, instead of tiring out my legs going a million miles an hour!
I find that when I'm plying and I want to check the amount of twist I'm putting in, it's more reliable to pull some of the yarn from the bobbin, instead of relying on the yarn between my hand and the flyer hooks. I try to get it to a point where it's almost (but not quite) trying to twist back on itself. But I like firmly-plied yarn (at least, in theory. Looking at some of the stuff I've done, especially before I had the new flyer, you'd never guess...)
Funny. I am non-technical, perpetually overspun, underplied. I pull off a bit out now and then and see what it's doing and try to loosen up a little. My kid is a nontechnical underspinner and underplier (who's trying to determine the advisability of packing her wheel for college). I tell her to pull some out and check it, let it lay back on itself. If it doesn't even attempt to twist back on itself, the least she can do is hold it a little longer and let it twist before she sends it into the flyer. She totally ignores me. But then she's also got that weird boyfriend, and wears flip-flops in the winter, and does not own a single pair of jeans that are not categorized as "ratty".
I don't know anything about spinning so I don't have any wisdom to pass on there, but I thought it might be like kneading bread dough, you just do it until you learn what feel right.
I'm soooo in the same boat as you. I either under spin or over spin to where it feel like wire. sigh. What you produced looks quite lovely though;)
Here's how I do it, learned in the Master spinner program in Olds AB
(this is a watered down version of what i think of as technical spinning)
When you are spinning your single, let it ply back on itself by drawing up a bit from the bobbin (not in front of the orifice...remember twist goes into the single as it goes past the orifice) If it is just perfect looking, add a bit more (as stated above, it untwists a little as it is plyed)
Now that you know how much twist to put in, at some point in your spinning....count your treadles. (for precision, you count them all the time, but that would make me berserk) This means...you have a spinning rythym. You generally treadle the same number of times in between feeding the orifice with the single. So you draft, draft, draft....feed and you've treadled say 6 times.
When you ply, treadle 2/3 as many times. So you would treadle about 4 times for every feed of the orifice in this case.
I know, it's math. And we hate math. But it is easy math. And you only need to do it once. And you will see that your spinning rythym makes it that you don't have to count steadily.
Just check that the length of plyed yarn you are feeding is around about the same as the length of single you were feeding.
Also, I find that using the highly precise method of dunking the skein in water to get it wet, and squishing out the extra, and giving the skein a snap and hanging on the shower head gives me a better result than steaming.
Hope this was clearer than mud!
Come to Olds for Fibre Week and we'll show ya! in person.
Sorry for a second comment but I have a question. Do you or any knitters know of any yarn shops in Latvia where my niece can buy yarn when she goes at the end of this month ? I just love this girl for even wanting to bring home yarn for special treat for herself IF she knows where to go and get it. thank you in advance I'll keep popping in and see if there is an answer.
Awh. Can't help you there Stephanie. I'm a chronic over-twister. I only know how to tell if I have too much twist. I too have a Traditional, but it is a double drive and double treadle, so I can kick it's butt when I need to. I still love the "hamsteresque" approach though, otherwise, how would I ever get any exercise? Beautiful fiber in any event. Can't wait to see the baby sweater too!!
1) How awesome are you for taking the time to explain all that spinning stuff for us non-spinners? And create a visual aid? Pretty darn awesome, in my opinion.
2) That baby sweater is beautiful. Really & truly gorgeous. Good job, you.
You know you've spun the yarn just right when you hear people, like me, say "I want it! I want it!"
You did good, as my dad would say.
I'm another chronic under-plyer. All I can say is that it looks just fine in the finished item!
As another chronic under spinner/under plyer I agree with the previous comment--hey it may pill a bit, or not wear too well (don't make socks), but it isn't going to fall apart if it has at least a little wool in it.
Along those lines, I have 2 words for you to meet your goal of 15OO Grams: CHUBBY SINGLES. You spin Fat and Loose, then full the skeined yarn in some warm water and whack it on your picnic table (fun in the heat). Hang unweighted to dry and knit up the fastest, softest ever, totally funky striped or log cabin blankey. Not the most elegant thing you could make with all those lovely rovings, but it uses up the stash! At least try it with one of your lesser favorite batts, because it is really fun.
I think the yarn looks beautiful and wonderfully drapy. Did not know that it was underspun or under plyed. I'm still a beginner working on singles before I ply them. Like you I spin till it looks right, because I don't want this yarn to poof too much after it is plyed I'm spinning my singles tight, not sure how it will turn out but I like it so far.
That is all that matters, if you like the result it is right.
We need to get together, I have a bad habit of overspinning! I am trying to learn restraint... Maybe I need to have a drink befoe I spin??
I learned spinning with Mabel Ross years ago & would use her Angle Guide to get the correct
twist that I was looking for. First you have
to know the twist ration of your wheel or how many twists your wheel is going to give you
with each treadle. Test spin and measure your yarn against the Angle Guide you want. You
will have to count the number of times you treadle and approximately at what speed in
order to be consistent. Another way I would
test my twist was to choose a point of landing (my hip, a long draw to a certain point) & a
set rhythm that would repeat itself to create that consistent twist in the yarn. Then, start drafting out your fibers to that point on your body and count the number of times you treadle
to achieve the twist ratio you're looking for. If you can get a copy of The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners by Mabel Ross, there is
a cardboard Angle Guide in the back of the book and can be removed from the book. Good luck! Toni
Such a lovely yarn! I also have the same underspinning/plying problem. And my wheels are also an Ashford Joy and a Traditional.
You inspired me to do the TdF this year. I haven't committed to spinning as much as you are (good for you!), but I'm spinning from the stash.
Thanks for your blog, your humor and the photos of your beautiful yarn!
Take some tension off the scotch tension. That will keep the yarn from winding on and give it more twist. The other thing I do sometimes is ply on the same ratio as I spun the yarn in.
Very pretty yarn. My way of deciding if the plied yarn has enough twist is to stop and see if it doubles up any when I let it loose. There is a fine line between doubling up and not at all. I see how many twists per inch it needs to just barely not double up. Then I try to memorize how that looks and go with it. I am not an anal spinner so close enough is good enough for me.
And since there is no spinning police in your neck of the woods, however your yarn comes out that pleases you is perfect!
About the underplying, if you're plying freshly spun (within the last two days) singles, there's a very simple, non-technical way to check how much plying twist there needs to be. Put in how much twist you think will be right, then stop the wheel and hold the end of the yarn about six inches from the orifice, so that the plied yarn hangs in front of itself. If it just hangs in a nice “U” shape, it’s balanced. If it wants to twist toward the wheel, you need to add more twist. If it wants to twist away from the wheel, draw your hand back and let the twist travel up the yarn a little. Then test it again. (If you spun the singles clockwise and are plying counterclockwise, if you hang the yarn down and it twists on itself in a clockwise direction, add twist. If it twists on itself counterclockwise, let twist out.)
Credit: Merike Saarniit, excellent spinning teacher
I can't wait for my spinning product looks as beautiful as that.
I recently took a spinning class with JMM, and here's the most valuable thing I took away about plying, you generally will lose about 20% of the twist in the washing, so overply to anticipate that you will lose that much twist when washing.
I'm a very non-technical spinner, and my orifice hook has been my best friend. I periodically use it to guage my singles as I'm spinning. I hang it in the center of my single (between my hand and the orifice) and then bring my hand to the orifice and let my single spin back on itself with the hook weighting it down (the weight of the hook also keeps the single from getting tangled up on itself in this process). When I do this, it shows me what my two-ply will look like (more accurately then just giving a single slack with no weight on it- afterall, when we ply there's tension on the singles), and from there I can adjust my spinning. I can add more or less twist, spin finer or thicker, and it gives me (generally) the right visual image of what my yarn should look like as I'm plying it. As I said it's not technical, it might not help (who knows, maybe you already do this), but it works for me.
I liked Barb B's comments- she took the master spinners course at Olds. She said to treadle 2/3 as many times while plying as while spinning. I also agree with her in the method of setting the yarn- dunking it in water and then hanging it to dry after giving it a 'snap'.
How I cured underspinning? I loosened the brake of my Joy more and slowed down the treadling and my hands. Yes- I make a sample by plying a bit on itself from the bobbin,- and I keep it handy to refer to regularly. Using tencel- merino - it will be a bit more "slippery" so remember that if you knit continental, you will add to the twist and if you knit the English way, you will take out twist. (applies to all yarn -not just tencel- merino)
Well, Steph, the yarn looks beautiful from here. If it doesn't kink or twist up it should be fine. You are a glutton for punishment, though, aren't you? Lace weight? When you're doing a marathon? I admire your dedication. Wish I could participate in the Tour but I'm stilllll knitting on the Oregon shawl and the deadline for the fair is fast approaching.
Hey, your yarn might be underspun and underplied, but it still looks freakin' magnificent.
Maybe I'll be able to afford a wheel on a layaway plan. Gotta find me a place...
Sample! Spin a sample. Ply a sample. Wash a sample. Repeat until you get what you want. Then spin the rest to match the sample. (Make sure you kept a bit of the yarn from each step.)
Stop every so often to compare what you're spinning to your sample.
Remember that when you want to look at what you're spinning, you should pull it off the bobbin. Don't look at the part that's right there in front of you -- it's not done yet.
It's also helpful to do a ply-back test of the bit that you pulled off the bobbin -- just remember that things like winding the yarn and washing the yarn will tend to decrease twist.
I'm usually just a lurker but I wanted to thank you for that diagram! I never really got what "twist per inch" really meant and how it is used until I saw that - I'm an architect so things like scale I can totally understand. Thanks!
I am definitely sticking my neck out here, as I just took my first spinning class 3 weeks ago (w/Maggie Casey). But, I learned that if you are not getting the amount of twist you want, the first thing you should do is adjust the tension knob. Loosen it so the wheel doesn't suck in the yarn so fast to get more twist, and tighten it to have the yarn sucked in faster to get less twist. This must be too obvious, and I must be too new. I'm sure you have already addressed this!!!
I don't spin. But my aunt did, if that counts, LOL. Recently, I had a tour of Wellington Fibers. I was fascintated at how much complex math went into the spinning and twisting and plying. I heard 'pi' a few times and got really hungry. The heat in there sure didn't help me understand it any easier. But, I'm sure there must be math things for the same things on a smaller scale. He had the "Spinner's Companion" (I think, looks just like a knitter's version; spiral bound at the top....) hanging right on the big machines. That surprised me cause it looks so vastly different from spinning wheels!!
Beautiful colors on that roving!
Hi Stephanie - did you ply your yarn on the highest/fastest ratio? if not, try that next time - dont ply the yarn on the same ratio that you spun it on - seeing you say you tend to "underspin" your yarn you may find that by plying it on the faster ratio it will help with your "underplying". Also leave your yarn for at least 24 hours on your bobbins before plying - it helps give a better balanced yarn. Hope this helps :)
Your sweater is gorgeous. As a non-but-wanna-be- spinner I think your spinning looks good too! I too have problems with the learning curve thing. If you want to know it enough can't it just pop into your brain without all that practicing thing?
I think it's lovely. Sure it's a bit underspun/plied, but it's still very nice yarn and will knit up something worth having. Just enjoy the artsy fartsy part of spinnning and let your perfectionism rule in your knitting!!!
As for spinning: It's all about sampling. Just like swatches in knitting, right?
I took a wonderful three-hour class at SOAR a long time ago that set me pretty straight. I always try for a balanced yarn, one that hangs straight when it's been washed and dried, without steam.
We learned to take an 18" sample of our singles off the bobbin, no matter how long it had been on there, and keeping the original twist, tie the two ends together, and put this into hot water. When it emerges after a few minutes, it will have plied itself into a balanced yarn. You can tell at this point if it's spun enough for you or not, and can go back and put more spin into the singles you have, or do another batch with more twist, if it's too loosely plied (and therefore too loosely spun as well).
If it's just right like Goldilocks, then you tape that little sample to the front of your wheel, and ply slowly and carefully, counting the number of treadles it takes to get the same number of twists per inch in the plied yarn as the sample. Keeping the length of the draw-back the same as I ply helps a lot to simplify the process. I also have learned to add just a little more twist in the ply because the wheel tends to eat some. Yum.
My plying is always slow; I have to keep stopping and checking that my plies are the same # of twists per inch as the sample. Just visually.
HTH, and your yarn is beautiful anyway, and not so underplied that it would make a messy knit, at all.