While I love spinning large batches of consistent yarn for specific projects, I also really love pushing my skills and trying different yarn constructions and textures. So, for this project, I wanted to experiment with creating a fun, structured, and technical yarn.
I started this project by creating a chain ply, which became a crepe yarn, then a cable ply, and finally it ended up as an 8-ply handspun yarn made from a merino and yak blend. It was quite a journey, so let’s get spinning!
Watch the full video of this project on YouTube or keep reading below to learn more.
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The yarn for this project
For inspiration for this project, I flipped through one of my favorite books: Sarah Anderson’s Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs. The crepe yarn design from this book always catches my attention because it is so colorful. The basic structure of it is to chain ply and over spin the chain ply, (which I know a lot of us do anyway), and then take that overspun chain ply and ply it back with a single. What fun!
The fiber for this project
The structure of the yarn has color repeats that are kept intact, so I looked for a hand-dyed roving or combed top in my stash that had color repeats. I did a little stash diving for this project and ended up with this beautiful 100% Merino wool braid from Three Waters Farm. The colorway is called “Tank Tops.”
The colors in this are so much fun, but you have to be careful not to blend these colors up too much and get them muddy. However, I thought this was the perfect combed top to spin up for a chain ply because we will keep those colors in their sections.
This pattern is a 3-ply yarn, so I wanted to pick something different for the other ply. I put up a vote on my Patreon, and this soft yak top fiber from Paradise Fibers won the vote so that’s what I’ll be plying the chain ply with.
Spinning the first yarn
Spinning this took me quite a few hours, but it came out so lovely! All the colors in the Merino wool combed top were so pretty and kept the long spin interesting. The single spun up at about 45 wraps per inch, so it was a nice, fine, and very consistent single. I had the dial on my Ashford E-spinner 3 set to about 1 o’clock, and I spun it with a short, forward draw.
Plying the chain ply
The next step was to chain ply the yarn. I put the spool on my lazy Kate and then used the e-spinner again to do the chain plying. This yarn spun up beautifully!
Spinning the single
Next, I headed back to the e-spinner to spin the yak fiber.
Now, for this construction to work the three-ply and the single need to have the same diameter. I used my yarn gauge to make sure the yak had the same gauge as the Merino. For my yarn gauge, I use the EsZee twist tool from Paradise Fibers (it is currently out of stock, but there are many similar alternatives available on Etsy).
If a tool is not in your budget, you can use a ruler. To find your wraps per inch, you can wrap your yarn around a ruler and see how many times it goes around in the space of an inch. The gauge is just quicker and easier!
When I put the 3-ply up against the yarn gauge it was about 30 wraps per inch. As I was spinning the yak fiber, I made sure to match it at 30 wraps per inch too.
Plying the two yarns together
I was ready to ply the two yarns together and started with a ply-back test to see how much energy was in the yarn. But when I looked at the ply-back, it had created a really cool cabled yarn, so I decided to keep going with it! Or maybe it is a crepe?
I had to see what it would create! If I plied it back on itself, I would be creating an 8-ply yarn, and I couldn’t get that idea out of my head!
Once I was done spinning, I created a center pull ball to ply from again.
Here are the final results! The colors and texture came out beautifully and would be perfect for projects like a hat.
This yarn turned out to be an unexpected, but really fun adventure! I have always really liked the idea of creating a textured yarn that is a standard weight and not super bulky. The final yarn came out to about nine wraps per inch, which makes it an 8-ply worsted weight yarn. I decided to call it a cabled crepe yarn
I loved learning from this experimental exploration, and I think everyone should play around from time to time! I think it is worth the adventure, and you might discover some really cool things along the way.
Have you had any fun, experimental spinning adventures lately? Let me know in the comments!
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