spindle spinning

Direction of Twist

brindle

This is a repost and written from the perspective of a spindle spinner. The same concept applies with wheel spinning, but the language refers to my spindling habits.

Every time you spin a yarn, you are adding twist into a series of parallel fibers.

The direction that twist is applied changes the angle of those fibers.  Your yarn will either twist to the left or to the right- either a s or z twist. How compactly those twists are stacked on top of each other (the amount of twists per inch) indicates twist angle, and how much twist has entered the yarn. Measuring the twist angle throughout the spinning or plying process can help ensure a more consistent yarn (that being said, I don’t measure twist angle as a general rule since I like my yarns to be more ‘organic’ than machine or even wheel spun yarns). Basically, the more twist that is in the yarn, the tighter the angle between the twists (5 degrees versus 10 degrees, and so on).

How to tell direction

The easiest way to tell the direction of twist is to compare which way the twists are leaning.

If they are leaning to the left then they are a S twist.

If they are leaning to the right then they are a Z twist.

Why is direction important?

Theoretically speaking, the direction of twist can make a difference for spinning technique (worsted v. woolen) and the intended usage of the yarn (crocheting v. knitting v. weaving). PERSONALLY i haven’t found this to be the case, with the exception of worsted versus woolen (but more on that later, and that has more to do with my tendency to smoosh air out of the fiber when i highly twist a single).

However, where direction is extremely important is in plying. When plying you’re trying to balance out a yarn so it hangs straight. One of the easiest ways of checking energy in a skein is to see if it twists on itself. If it doesn’t, it’s well balanced. When plying you want to spin in the opposite direction from the initial spinning- so in other words, S singles are spun into a Z yarn.

How to tell twist direction

The easiest way to tell twist direction other than examining a single is to keep in mind which direction you normally spin.

I spin counterclockwise as a general rule- I’m self-taught and it’s what felt comfortable at the time, and I haven’t had any reason to change it. So I initially spin S and then ply Z.

Yarn spun counterclockwise will produce a S ply.

Yarn spun clockwise will produce a Z ply.

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memories by the mile

this is meant to be. i’m telling you.

picture from toplyfiberarts

*i haven’t been posting food waste friday entries because i haven’t been cleaning out the fridge. i wish that meant that i had no food waste…no, i just haven’t been cleaning out the fridge. i really need to do that. along with getting all the clothes put away, pick up the living room, clean my kitchen counters and sort out yarn.

i would like to say that i was bad and that i feel guilty. except that i don’t think that i am and i don’t. see that glorious ball of fluff? it’s now mine.

mine mine mine.

i started looking at fibers for my inferno shawl. i really want to be able to get as much spun as fast as possible so i’m buying some fiber with each paycheck, if possible.  it’s kettle dyed polworth called phoenix from toplyfiberarts. i was going to get fiber from slimchicken again but i really fell in love with that one, and it was only a couple of dollars more expensive for slightly more fiber.

i was talking about this on cpaag last night, and it turns out the designer of the pattern i want to use is on the group. it also turns out that the pattern is called scrample but that’s neither here nor there. anyway she’s really excited about the thought of this project. i’m getting really pumped up for this.

burning down the house

drool....

monday sucked.

when my days suck a couple of things happen. i retreat into a happy place as fast as possible, and i daydream.

my daydreams center around two things: the never to be published novel that i’m writing, and fiber arts. the first has been described fanfic either gone horribly wrong or horribly right depending on your stance because i’m taking as many tv tropes as i can and just forcing them all to work along with all the bad ideas i can collect from different sources. but that’s for a different entry.

the other, the fiber arts, are what’s important here.

in bullet points:

– i love orange. LOVE orange. well, i tend to be drawn to rich warm toned rovings in general but i really love oranges.

– i love shawls.

– i love fire, fire energy, all of that.

– i will start one major project before i can finish another.

– i read the divine comedy in high school and referring to things as various levels of hell has worked itself into a permanent place in my vocabulary.

i could have sworn that i had come across a dante/inferno themed pattern on ravelry but the only thing i found was a pair of socks.

i did however find malaise’s scrapple shawl, which was designed for small amounts of handspun.

so my next major project, after the clarity shawl is finished, is this: i want to knit a hell-shawl. heh.  but seriously this is the idea: one skein of blazingly warm yarn for each level of hell, knit into this horrible, wonderful mess of a shawl. hopefully in time for rhinebeck.

hopefully.

Spinning Basics- Direction of Twist

Every time you spin a yarn, you are adding twist into a series of parallel fibers.

The direction that twist is applied changes the angle of those fibers.  Your yarn will either twist to the left or to the right- either a s or z twist. How compactly those twists are stacked on top of each other (the amount of twists per inch) indicates twist angle, and how much twist has entered the yarn. Measuring the twist angle throughout the spinning or plying process can help ensure a more consistent yarn (that being said, I don’t measure twist angle as a general rule since I like my yarns to be more ‘organic’ than machine or even wheel spun yarns). Basically, the more twist that is in the yarn, the tighter the angle between the twists (5 degrees versus 10 degrees, and so on).

How to tell direction

The easiest way to tell the direction of twist is to compare which way the twists are leaning.

If they are leaning to the left then they are a S twist.

If they are leaning to the right then they are a Z twist.

Why is direction important?

Theoretically speaking, the direction of twist can make a difference for spinning technique (worsted v. woolen) and the intended usage of the yarn (crocheting v. knitting v. weaving). PERSONALLY i haven’t found this to be the case, with the exception of worsted versus woolen (but more on that later, and that has more to do with my tendency to smoosh air out of the fiber when i highly twist a single).

However, where direction is extremely important is in plying. When plying you’re trying to balance out a yarn so it hangs straight. One of the easiest ways of checking energy in a skein is to see if it twists on itself. If it doesn’t, it’s well balanced. When plying you want to spin in the opposite direction from the initial spinning- so in other words, S singles are spun into a Z yarn.

How to tell twist direction

The easiest way to tell twist direction other than examining a single is to keep in mind which direction you normally spin.

I spin counterclockwise as a general rule- I’m self-taught and it’s what felt comfortable at the time, and I haven’t had any reason to change it. So I initially spin S and then ply Z.

Yarn spun counterclockwise will produce a S ply.

Yarn spun clockwise will produce a Z ply.


The great frappe experiment…

(against all appearances, i AM actually doing fiber related things at this point in time…i just keep forgetting to grab my camera when i go pick up another load to bring to the apartment. i’m working on a 3 ply with my hi-low in the most glorious noxious shades of yellow and orange that you’ve ever seen. i believe it’s 100% alpaca and i have no idea what i’m going to be doing with it when i’m done but it’s wonderful).

have you seen the prices at chain coffee shops lately?! i get that coffee is a luxury (except for me. i have been known to blog that i would rather give up produce than coffee, and only be half joking) and that there’s a pile of ethical concerns connected to drinking it, but it’s starting to border on the insane. especially since while i live and die by iced coffee, i don’t actually like most places’ frappe style drinks. they’re way too sweet, don’t taste like strongly enough of coffee, and if i have the audacity to ask for soy they want to charge me extra (and sometimes close to a dollar extra).

i’ve wanted a blender for several years. it’s just a toy that i’ve kept my mouth shut about but there’s now enough things that i want to make at home that need blending that i used some birthday money and picked up a tomato red oster blender at target. i got thinking about the homemade creamer in my fridge that needed to be finished off and my ever present supply of coffee concentrate*.

mid was impressed, i was satisfied with the results, and we both agreed it needs to be slightly sweeter. so we’ll probably be doing a lot more frappes at home as soon as the weather warms up. besides, i need my fives to do laundry now.

This post needed a photo. Once I make frappes again, it won't be a stock photo.

frappes

coffee concentrate*

ice

homemade creamer**

milk (any fat content, or soy, almond, or coconut- i had organic skim in the house. i imagine evaporated or sweetened condensed would work just fine, and condensed would probably make an awesome thai coffee inspired frappe).

this is dependent on amount desired and honestly i just eyeballed it. i used about a tray’s worth of ice, about 2 1/2 cups worth of concentrate, probably about half a cup of creamer, and a splash of milk. it made about 2 servings worth of frappe.

my oster has an ice crush setting, and i blended for 30 seconds to a minute. i blended slightly longer than was necessary because i had flashbacks to my barista days of people asking for highly blended drinks for mouth feel.

* coffe concentrate

i like my frappes to be strong on the coffee, but a dark roast that’s normally brewed and cooled would probably be fine.

using a 2:1 ratio of water to coffee (i generally do a heaping cup of coffee to about 2 cups of water or more) place in a french press and let sit at room temperture or refridge for at least 4 hours. plunge and refridgerate up to 2 weeks.

** i used my creamer because i had it. i imagine store bought creamer would work, or substitute more milk and add flavorings like essences, chocolate, or spices. soy or other non dairy creamers could be substituted, but my instinct is that they need to be there for mouth feel.

the second of the 3 spirits

you would have thought that with this whole long, drawn-out fiber diet thing, i would have at least blogged for the end of it. but i missed it.

in my own defense, this weekend i was out of state. i had to make an appearance in rhode island for our family christmas gathering. i have gone in something like four years, i really had to go this year. it was the normal too much food, too many loud family members in too small a space, and too many awkward moments of not knowing what to say. but with my past history, this means i have another 4 years before i have to reappear…

so how did i actually do?

well.

-i used something like 7 balls of yarn over the course of the month, including holiday wishes and 3 1/2 pairs of socks.

-i spun roughly 4 skeins of wool before my spinning mojo left me and i got sucked into the epic sock challenge.

-i didn’t finish any rolags, bumps, or braids, and i received 2 bags of alpaca fiber. my mom replaced my broken spindle.

-i bought several balls of yarn for socks and christmas presents. i didn’t buy any yarn for myself, or at least, any yarn that was intended for myself on the outset.

-mid’s mom dropped off a massive box of yarn while i was gone. while it was very nice and it will get used it does defeat the purpose of a fiber diet? BUT. the rules did state that gifts don’t count!