I started working on clearing the spinning backlog today. I have several bobbins of long forgotten orphan singles, a few skeins of yarn needing some remedial attention (I used to badly under ply my yarns)and some singles that were just patiently waiting their turn in the plying queue. And a few bobbins of almost finished singles, just needing the last 20 or 30g of fibre spun.
This is some of it. Note the dust on the bobbins....
So today I got out the skein winder, ball winder, lazy kate and my best plying wheel, my old S10. If I've got a lot of winding to do I like to be able to half watch the telly while I'm doing it, so I set up a sort of winding station in front of the sofa. The various clamps don't fit our coffee table so I use this.
Sharp eyed people will detect that this is one of these wooden stepping stools you can buy for £10 or so from Ikea. Very useful item around the house but I doubt even the Ikea designers thought of doing this with it. Ideal though, perfect height for the sofa, you can re spin straight off the skein into the wheel and you can move the whole assembly round to wherever you want it. The little Lazy Kate is a Haldane one btw. It's untensioned but it can take any of my huge assortment of bobbins and it's very compact and stable.
I decided to start with the under spun skeins, as these don't take long to make good if you can unwind the skein straight to the orifice of the wheel and onto the bobbin, adding that crucial extra bit of twist as you go. ???? Well, here's a really bad photo but it shows what I mean.
On the right is the under plied yarn. You can see the plying is loose but more importantly the fibres of the singles are not in alignment along the length of the yarn. This yarn has been washed btw, so it's not going to get any better than this on its own. On the left is the same yarn after a tiny bit more twist has been added. You can see the fibres now run straight along the length of the yarn. This is what you want. I had four under plied skeins I wanted to add a little more twist to so I did this, but they're still on the bobbins awaiting skeining so not worth photographing just yet.
Then I made a tactical error and started plying some camel/silk singles I had been carefully ignoring for a year or so. You can see them on the ball winder above. They are skinny so there is a lot of yardage in that one centre pull ball and I decided to ply both ends of the ball together. Yes, of course this works....it's a neat trick to know and as long as you put your thumb into the centre of the ball as it comes off the ball winder the ball doesn't collapse and tangle. But of course, you can't take your thumb out while you're plying, nope. You're stuck. You can't go to the loo or answer the door or anything. You've just got to keep plying til you finish. All 1200 yards of it. It takes a loooong time to ply 1200 yards of yarn, did you know?