2ply or not 2ply

This is what’s on the loom right now; it is an absolute joy to weave for many reasons including because the warp is Egyptian cotton, so beautifully soft and it flowed through my fingers when I wound it; the weft is handspun rose fibre – it’s the first time I’ve spun a weft for a whole wrap and there is a special feeling in using yarn I’ve made. But the main reason it is a joyful warp is because this is for a friend I have made because of weaving; the other wrap is for another friend and the last part will become a shawl for me.

I have thought a lot about the ways in which crafts like knitting and spinning join people together through a shared love of fibre and respect for our different skills. Weaving has carried me into a community of some wonderful women and in congruence with the woven cloth, our lives have become interlaced. It’s a blessing.

OK, so this clearly isn’t what the title refers to and I’ve wandered down a bit of a side road…but there is a bridge to the main topic via the handspun weft. As baby wraps need to be functional as well as good to look at, I had to put some consideration into what would work as a weft if it were to be handspun. Part of this led me to think about whether it needed to be plied or not, as you may be able to tell, I chose to ply the spun singles, for lots of reasons.

Firstly, plied yarn is stronger. A single of spun fibre is stronger than unspun fibre and two singles plied together increases this strength exponentially (I am rather blatantly plagiarising Judith Mackenzie here).

Also, there is no getting away from the fact that, no matter how good a spinner you are, handspun is inconsistent. Indeed that is part of it’s charm and some commercially spun yarn tries to replicate this quality (although failing imho!). By plying it, the inconsistencies are reduced as well as ensuring the fibre is more ‘protected’; all yarn will experience wear and tear, plying ensures that less of each individual fibre is left exposed, reducing the chance of pills and breakage.

OK, that’s the end of today’s uninvited spinning tutorial; you may have noticed the Saori style accents in the weaving, I added some core spun banana and angelina on the tails of the wrap. The banana was very flyaway and of course the angelina (sparkle fibre) got everywhere so after spinning my jeans looked like they had encountered a suicide bombing angora bunny blowing up a glitter factory. Thank heavens for lint removers. 


3 thoughts on “2ply or not 2ply

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