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Making a 2-ply Yarn
Put an empty bobbin on the spindle of the wheel, attach a leader, and thread it through the orifice. Tie the two ends of the spun yarn together, slip them into the loop of leader, and tie a knot. Turn the bobbin and treadle in the opposite direction than what was spun to make the singles (counter-clockwise). Adjust the tension a little tighter than when spinning the singles, so that the yarn will quickly wind on to the bobbin when the yarn is released. Hold the two yarns with the backhand and position the forefinger in between them to keep them separated. Pinch the yarn with the front hand as you treadle, and store up the twist. Release the hold and allow the twist to run down the yarn toward the backhand. Follow the twist with the front hand to smooth the yarn evenly. When the front hand meets the backhand, allow the plied yarn to wind onto the bobbin by moving the back hand toward the orifice. Slide the hand back again, and repeat the process. After plying a couple of yards of yarn, test to see if the correct amount of test is being used.
Pull out a yard of yarn from the bobbin, hold it in your hand and let it fall slack. If the yarn twists back on itself it is being over-twisted. If it hangs loosely and holds the twist, the yarn is well balanced.
The character, softness, and strength of the yarn will be determined by how much twist you put into the yarn.
Handspinning is the art of twisting fiber, fleece, or roving of wool, silk, alpaca, angora, mohair, flax, etc. into a continuous thread by using a spinning wheel or drop spindle. The thread can be spun thick or thin, plyed or unplyed, and can later be dyed or left natural. Handspun yarn can be used for knitting, and weaving projects. You can also use unspun fiber for knitting, weaving and felting.
Like many art forms, handspinning can be done in a variety of ways, which makes it so exciting.
Basic Handpinning Techniques
The methods for drafting fiber will vary depending on the spinning technique being used. Choose one hand to hold the fiber (back hand) and the other hand to draft the fiber (front hand). The front hand drafts out the fiber and pinches it to keep the twist out of the draft zone. The draft zone is the unspun fiber in-between your two hands. Spin at a momentum that will allow you to keep the twist in front of your drafting hand and out of the draft zone.
The size of the yarn is determined by how much fiber is drafted and twisted. Draft a small amount of fiber to spin a thin yarn, and a large amount of fiber to spin a bulky yarn.
The Inch Worm Technique
Then release the yarn and slide the hand back and pull more fiber from the fiber hand and repeat the process. This is a good technique for spinning woollen yarns.
The Long Draw Technique
The Worsted Technique
Spinning From the Fold