Jillian’s Spinning: Consistency

I’ve been working on getting my singles more consistent. I’ve been using a sample that I regularly check my spinning against to make sure I’m on the right track.

A lot of spinners use a ply-back sample that they check regularly, but I find that doesn’t work for me.

Lately I’ve been using a wrapped card sample and I like it much better.

For me a ply-back sample works much better when I spin worsted, which is more than before, but not my standard spin.

wrapped card and ply back worsted spin
wrapped card and ply-back worsted spin

For me the wrapped card and ply-back with a worsted spin are similar, but I still use both, like on the card above.

Here’s why I don’t like a ply-back for woolen – the puff.

wrapped card and ply back woolen
wrapped card and ply-back woolen

The twist in the woolen ply-back sample is trying it’s best to crawl right off of the card, making the sample inconsistent. The wrapped singles stay put and consistent.

I use card stock, nothing heavier. I want to know if I’m pulling my single as I’m wrapping instead of just wrapping and card stock will buckle right away if there is extra tension. I cut the card stock into a rectangle-ish shape and cut slits at each end to anchor my yarn.  I anchor one end, wrap 10 or so times and anchor at the other end.

Some times I add a ply-back sample, just as an extra check.

When I check my singles, I hold the wrapped card next to the bobbin and check that the singles are a close enough match. It just works better for me. As a bonus, it saves the little bit of time it takes to pull singles off the bobbin and do a ply-back test and wind the singles back on the bobbin, it’s not much, but I’ll take any time saving measures.

Checking singles. The fiber is Blue Moon BFL Rocktober colorway.
Checking singles. The fiber is Blue Moon BFL Rocktober colorway.

Sometimes I punch a hole in the card to hang it from my wheel. When I’m very organized I write all of the info I’d like to remember about the fiber, wheel settings and spin on the back of the card.

How do you keep consistent?

(540 Posts)

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

5 thoughts on “Jillian’s Spinning: Consistency

  1. Kristen E

    Holy smarts, Batman! I’m so totally doing this. I always get so annoyed when teachers tell me to make plied samples because I’m lazy and I don’t want to. But this! This I can do! Hooray!

  2. Deborah in CA

    I am taking a technical spinning course right now. I use a Spinner’s control card for thickness, and the iSpin Toolkit app on my iPod touch to measure twist angle. Up to now we have been spinning only worsted, so I use the plyback test with the twist angle part of iSpin toolkit to measure my singles. I keep adjusting my wheel until I get the right measurements for my class assignment (i.e. 20 degree twist angle, 26 wpi thickness), then I stop occasionally while spinning to check I am still where I want to be.

    After I finish the single, I write down how I spun it on a hang-tag which I attach to the storage bobbin (for singles) and the skein (for finished yarn). That way I can duplicate it at a later time. I write down which wheel, what ratio, and then the WPI and twist angle measurements on the hang-tag.

    1. Egrace

      Whoa! This is such great information! I’m so glad you decided to talk about this particular topic and do it right now; really a help for me!

  3. Maureen J

    I recently bought a package of card stock and a filing box, I think for photos, to keep everything in order. I intend to write everything as I go, including fiber, fiber source, dyed by me or other, date. I could even attach a swatch to the card, except I usually unravel swatches to use the yarn in the project.

    Maybe now I won’t run into sample cards at the bottom of my spinning bag and not remember what it went to.

    That’s the plan, anyway. First I have to take the card stock and box out of the bag.

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