I learned a very valuable lesson the other day. It was so valuable, I have to share!
I was about to knit with some yarn and discovered that it was was too loosely plied for my taste and therefore split annoyingly when I knit with it. Having purchased a large amount of this yarn, I was not happy to just forge ahead. I stewed over this for several days, then a memory tried to surface in the back of my quick-sand brain. I remembered something about ball winders and twist.
Google to the rescue! Two Blogs popped up that were a huge amount of help. Ask The Bellwether actually tested it with some ribbon and gave me the hints and clues that lead to my yarn’s salvation. True Blue Fiber Friends gave me the technical information that saved me from the trial-and-error method.
In a nutshell; my yarn was a loosely plied yarn that I wound off of a cone, onto a ball winder. Winding yarn onto a ball winder actually effects the twist in the yarn very little… But pulling it off of the cone effects the twist in the yarn a lot. Likewise, so does pulling it out of a center-pull ball.
So I examined my yarn to determine whether it was a “Z” or “S” twist – as a plied yarn it should most likely have been an “S” and it was (drum roll please) an “S”! When I hold a strand of yarn vertically, the strands in the ply slant from upper left to lower right like the letter “S”. A “Z” twist (usually a singles) would obviously go the other way.
Following the True Blue Friends post I knew that to add more twist to my “S” ply I had to pull it from the center pull balls I made so that when looking down on the ball from the top, the yarn pulling from the center would unwind in a counter-clockwise direction. By turning the handle on my ball-winder in a counter-clockwise direction, I could guarantee it would do just that (your brand may differ). BTW – if the yarn unwinds in the opposite direction from which you want it too, simply flip the cake (ball) over and feed the center pull yarn through the middle – it will now unwind in the other direction – cool, huh?
Happy yarn! After feeding the yarn balls (cakes) through my ball winder a couple of times (and setting the twist with a niddy-noddy and a steaming tea kettle) I have a happy (nicely twisted) yarn and I’m a happy knitter. Yes, it took time, but the smooth knitting experience is worth the effort and saving the yarn was too.
Life is good!
My heartfelt thanks to the Bloggers who shared so I could learn, aren’t fiber-freaks a great bunch? 🙂