I had always kind of wondered if it could be done, but never had a compelling reason to find out – until a few days ago. Before that, it was just musing about the concept of taking two commercial yarns, unplying them and recombining and replying them for a more interesting look. Yeah.

I had a vacation day and a half, so took advantage of some rare time at home alone to move my spinning wheel to the middle of the living room floor and set up shop.

I got out the merino/tencel blend to finish spinning for my Paua Shell Tank, and took out the last two balls of roving, one lighter and one darker. As I was pre-drafting, I thought that I really couldn’t tell much difference between them… oh, well, it had been a while since the last time I’d worked with this fiber, so I just wasn’t seeing the colors the same way. You can tell where this is going, can’t you? Too bad I couldn’t.

After a total of almost three hours of pleasant spinning and plying (and listening to knitting podcasts), I was putting everything away, and guess what rolled out? A bag with two balls of roving. The lighter colored ones. I had just spun and plied the last two dark ones together. ARRGHHH!!

Deep breath. Another one, since the first one didn’t do it. Quick review of my options, which are limited. Slightly longer pause to refine the growing plan, then drag the wheel back out and start before my courage fails me.

And the plan is:

  • Unply the yarn back onto a single bobbin, which should not only untwist them, but put the original amount of twist back in the singles.

  • Put the bobbin of unplied singles in a bowl (so I can twirl it as needed to untwist, which is inevitable).

  • Reel the two singles onto my antique clock reel, which has arms about 4” long; one singles toward the front edge of the arms, one toward the back edge.

  • Fasten the singles on the back edge so it won’t go flying, put an empty bobbin on the wheel, and wind the singles on the front edge back onto the bobbin with as little additional twist as possible… possibly bypassing the orifice and flyer altogether.

  • Replace with another empty bobbin on the wheel and repeat the process with the second singles.

  • Get out the rest of the roving, spin two bobbins’ worth, then ply each with the reclaimed singles.

  • Go reward myself with chocolate… or something from a yarn shop.

D’you think it will work?? The first part went amazingly well. See how it looks like a single ply on the bobbin? The twisted part is, of course, the last end of the plied yarn, which got all loose and puffy, but is a visual reminder of the problem opportunity to learn.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress, which may not happen until I get some quiet time again. At least I won’t forget what I need to do next – I can just come back here and read the plan!

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One Response to Unplying

  1. Pingback: Paua Shell Tank « The Prairie Spinner

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