Fiberlog

Adventures in Twist, Pt. 3

Posted in FO, made with handspun, spinning by tchemgrrl on April 15, 2010

Actual results!

swatches

Normally, I am not organized enough to do things like tie things to little pieces of paper with text on them, but these were getting passed around at my spinning guild, so I wanted as much info on the swatches as possible.

Again, there are six swatches, all two-ply, consisting of a low-twist, medium-twist, and high-twist singles which has been either plied to the point of being balanced (where “balanced” is defined as “all the fibers are laying parallel to the axis of the yarn”) or over-plied.

Swatch A
Yarn: On the singles: 20 degree angle of twist (2-3 tpi), about 20 wpi. On the plied yarn: 2-3 tpi, 20 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric: Kind of soft and squishy, not so surprising really. The ribbing drew in but does not have much spring to it. After going through a bunch of hands at the guild meeting, there’s no pilling on the surface but the surface is already lightly fuzzed. The cabling definition was fine before this fuzzing happened but I don’t think you’d see a stitch pattern for long. It’d be good for something soft, where a bit of a halo is okay. A scarf, a soft toy, or felted slippers (I think it would felt beautifully although I didn’t test that here).

Swatch B
Yarn: On the singles: 20 degree angle of twist (2-3 tpi), about 20 wpi. On the plied yarn: 4tpi, 40 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric: Soft and squishy but still with some body to it, not as mushy as the balanced yarn. Moderate elasticity, good stitch definition but without calling attention to the yarn. Significantly less fuzzing than in sample A. I was surprised at how much I liked this one. It’d be great for hats or gently-used mittens. I’m definitely adding this one to my arsenal, it’s a very cool yarn.

Swatch C
Yarn: On the singles: 25 degree angle of twist (3-4 tpi), about 22 wpi (the medium singles were a little thinner than the others, I think because I went on autopilot). On the plied yarn: 3-4tpi, 30 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric:My usual yarn. So much my usual yarn, in fact, that it’s kind of hard to analyze it. For the most part it falls in the middle here. A reasonable balance between durability, elasticity, and softness. Good stitch definition for cables or knit-purl patterns.

Swatch D
Yarn: On the singles: 25 degree angle of twist (3-4 tpi), about 22 wpi (the medium singles were a little thinner than the others, I think because I went on autopilot). On the plied yarn: 5tpi, 40 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric: Elastic but slightly harsher feeling than the balanced yarn. I actually liked this one least of all the swatches, it just didn’t feel soft or springy or interesting, just kind of harsh and flat. It’d be good for the ribbing of a sweater, if the balanced medium-twist yarn composed the body of the sweater, since it would have improved wear and elasticity. But overall it didn’t do much for me.

Swatch E
Yarn: On the singles: 40 degree angle of twist (4-5 tpi), about 20 wpi. On the plied yarn: 4tpi, 45 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric:Very elastic and bouncy, and not just the ribbing. Honestly without knowing what I know if it, I would have guessed it to contain a bit of elastic! Not especially soft and cuddly, but not at all prickly or harsh. Should be good for socks or items that will see a lot of abrasion that you don’t want to felt, or a close-knit ribbed sweater that you don’t want to sag during the day.

Swatch F
Yarn: On the singles: 40 degree angle of twist (4-5 tpi), about 20 wpi. On the plied yarn: 6tpi, 55 degree angle of twist.
Knitted fabric: Another pleasant surprise, especially considering how odd it was right off the spindle. The yarn feels somewhat harsh but stockinette stitch makes a very well defined, interesting looking fabric. Interestingly, I didn’t think that the cables here were especially well-defined, and I think that has to do with the somewhat pebbly texture that the yarn gives to even stockinette stitch fabric. Here, it’s the yarn that takes away from the visibility of the patterns, not fuzzing. Odd. I’d put this around the cuffs of a kid sweater I know is going to get beat half to death, or for something somewhat decorative like a tea cozy because of the cool-looking texture.

One last note: Weight. This is not at all scientifically rigorous because the swatches are different sizes, but I’m quite sure that the samples with tightly-spun singles are 10-20% heavier than those with loosely-spun singles. Considering all the other factors like thickness, etc., were as close as I could get them, I think this is a real effect and not just my mind.

So that’s been my last few weeks! A few people at my guild mentioned that they might try a similar thing, which I think is cool. Part of the reason I tried to be so rigorous was so that it’d be relatively easy to copy, or use as a jumping off point.

Some directions I might like to go in at some point: 3-ply yarns. Underplied yarns (do they have more in common with overplied yarns than balanced ones, because of the active twist left in the singles?). Trying for a more worsted vs. woolen spinning style–I’d call this combination of prep and spinning semiworsted, but even brief experiments with more woolen spinning have shown me that it might behave very differently. And lastly I’d like to take one of these yarns through to a complete knitted object, and see if what I learned from the little swatches is really applicable to a larger piece of work.

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