Jillian’s Spinning: Saranac Yarn – The Part Where It All Goes Wrong

I had a long drive ahead of me, from Michigan to Florida. I thought it would be perfect to get lots of knitting on my Saranac shawl done. I at least could do the first lace bit and still get to work on the other 16 projects I brought. Really, I brought, 2 kniting, 1 spinning, 2 crochet and 3 embroidery – 8 projects. It’s a long drive and I like to flit.

First, I admired my Saranac yarn:

I love the colors of my Saranac yarn.
I love the colors of my Saranac yarn.

I love working on fiber projects in the car, no where else is the light so perfect. It’s my favorite place to seam a sweater, because of the light and because I am trapped.

I didn’t get the yardage I wanted out of my fiber. That set off low-intensity alarm bells, but I have plenty of other fiber that I can spin that works with this. My yarn felt kind of heavy for lacy knitting too. Did you hear those alarm bells get louder? I did and just kept on, sure it would work out.

Now looking at the picture of the yarn up there I can see that there is too much ply twist. It’s my standard, a little over twisted for roundness and springiness that I like. To make matters worse with the over ply twist – I did my plying while I was watching the Scandal season ender. I must have been treadling fast and not noticed.

The yarn just did not work out for lace.

Too much twist
Too much twist

At least not the look I was going for. What looks like a bit too much twist in the yarn cake, looks like energy unleashed in knitting. To me it looks coiled and ready to spring apart like a crazy exploding clockwork. The YOs aren’t very open and just this little bit weighs too much. I wanted light and soft, relaxed looking and feeling. This swatch looks like it would rather kick your butt instead of cozy-ing up to you.


First I’m going to try to fix this yarn, then I’ll probably respin. I’ll do a bit each week so we can all learn from my not right yarn. But, I promise it won’t be the only thing I talk about each week!

Have you had a yarn fail lately?



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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

One thought on “Jillian’s Spinning: Saranac Yarn – The Part Where It All Goes Wrong

  1. Leigh W

    Yes. I started making a cowl out of some handspun and it turned out much the same. I’m pulling it out and plan to use it as weft instead. I LOVE the colors, the squishyness, everything, but it isn’t going to be a cowl.

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