Spinning Tuesdays: Knitting with Handspun – Ply Twist
So, I’ve finished spinning my Tour de Fleece singles, yay!
Now it’s time to ply. Easy thing right, just ply?
Ply twist is another piece of the knitting with handspun puzzle. It can make a big difference to your finished knitted fabric, both to the look and drape.
Here are the three samples I did for this particular yarn. One is slightly under plied, one is balanced and one is over plied.
The color change in the yarn may make it a little harder to see the difference in the yarn, so lets look closer
I measure my ply twist by measuring bumps per inch. I lay my plied yarn next to a ruler and count the number of bumps. For the three yarns above the under plied yarn has 4 bumps per inch, the balanced 6 and the over plied 10. If you want a much more accurate measurement, measure twist angle.
For me measuring bumps is quick, and most of the time an ish measurement is all I want.
The under plied yarn is pretty floppy, I don’t like how it feels or looks, even as a yarn. The balanced yarn is ok, it would work. I really like the look and feel of the over plied yarn. It’s not crazy over plied, like I’d over ply for socks, I just let it get rounder looking than the balanced ply.
I knit small 15-stitch, stockinette samples of each yarn, using a US #6 needle.
They look a feel very different to me. The gauges for stitches to one inch are: under plied – 3.75, balanced – 4Â and over plied 4.25.
I love how the color is much more blended in the over plied sample, the under plied looks much more marled.
The feel of the over plied is denser, not really in a stiff way (but if I kept twisting the ply it would get to stiff pretty fast) in more of a durable way, they way I would want a sweater yarn.
Here’s a closer picture:
This is so exciting to me! It makes me think about aÂ design with different ply twist in different spots for drape or color control.
What do you think?Â Does this make you curious enough to experiment with ply twist?
Please, no one point out that my gauge is wrong for the Tappen Zee that I want to knit.Â Ack. I’m going to keep swatching with different needle sizes and may try a tiny bit more ply twist, but I love the yarn as it is. I may monkey with the math of the pattern or I may have to choose a different sweater.
Jillian is the author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts.
She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing.
Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com