Episode 117 Live: Shetland, Lava Love, Carlotta’s Stones & Crepe Yarn

Thank you for joining me this week. Welcome to new and returning viewers. I appreciate your time spent with me. Welcome to new and old patrons of the show – you guys keep us on the air month-after-month! This week, I share some spinning and fibre preparation that people have been working on for the most recent Breed & Colour Studies – Carlotta’s Stones. I’m so pleased to see these new spins from our community. I share an ongoing, large project that I’ve been working on for a while. I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before but I’ve been sampling the yarn on my Zoom Loom. I share a new spin that I’m working on for socks. And lastly, we get into the nitty-gritty of crepe yarn in our Spinning Growth section. Enjoy!


Unbraided – EBOOKS available here & book orders can be made here.

Breed & Colour Studies

  • Loopcare (Caroline) – took kit and carded up rolags with white
  • Bridgetflynn (Bridget) – spun singles on her Thimble – total ~500 yards!
  • Rebbiejaye (Rebecca) – playing along but shopping from her stash and carded up rolags on her handcards; rather than Dorset – she’s using the Targhee kit we did at this time last year!
  • Lykkemeg (Megan) – took all the colours from the kit and carded them together to make a crazy art batt!

Works in Progress

CraftyJaks Panda – Lava Love

  • Majacraft Suzie, 27:1
  • High twist; spinning off the top, smooth worsted
  • Socks – will be a 3-ply of some kind; haven’t made any final decisions

Finished Objects

Disdero Ranch Shetland – bump

  • Lendrum DT, spinning in evenings & will complete whenever I complete project
  • Plied a sample 2-ply – high twist; 17:1
  • Woven samples very similar – one from finished yarn; both washed and dryer dried; no difference

Spinning Growth

Ianelay says:

I tend to spin by feel: Does it feel twisted enough? Does it look plied enough? then I count off treadles/drafts for consistency. It does mean I tend to underply, as yarns relax after bathing.

I was aiming for high-twist yarn, for increased durability. Rachel had described her high-twist 2-ply sock yarn in the Down issue of Ply, so I tried to follow those numbers and spun the singles at 11 TPI.

Rachel’s ply twist was 8 TPI. That meant my 2-ply needed to be 16 TPI, to balance out a final crepe ply of 8 TPI. But this felt super super twisted, and the ply-back test was also over-twisted. The treadling was so much more than I’d done for other yarns, even when taking the doubled twist into consideration. I ended up distrusting the math and going by feel, lowering the twist to 12 TPI. The ply-back made a nicer cabled structure at that twist. The final crepe ply was around 6 TPI.

The singles do look very twisted and distinct in the structure, and there must still be a lot of twist energy causing those little kinks and curls here and there. The 2-ply strands are almost parallel with each other, and the crepe ply looks like it could be a touch tighter. I think I should have trusted the math.


Are there tricks to figuring out a crepe yarn?

In general, is there a good formula for figuring out twist in the singles vs. the plied yarn, so that the final yarn is balanced? For example, Rachel’s ply twist was about 2/3 of her singles twist. This high twist isn’t tolerated by some fibres, so it would be handy to know what to aim for.

Would that final twist also be influenced by whether the yarn is 2-ply vs 3-ply, or the actual ply structure of the yarn?


Spinning each colour separately, will ply all 3 together.

Staple length: looks like about 3.5”

Try a crepe yarn as it’s supposed to be more durable than opposing ply or traditional 3-ply: http://knitty.com/ISSUEss16/KSFEATss16KS.php

Singles: 3-4 treadles per 2” draft on 2nd smallest (12.7:1) whorl for 11 TPI. (OR 2-3 treadles per 2” draft on 17.5:1 whorl)

Burgundy: Clockwise

Grey and green: counter-clockwise

2-ply: grey and green, in clockwise direction. 16-18 treadles per 15” plying draft on 17.5:1 whorl. Ply-back makes a nice cable. Grey Suffolk was plied at 7-8 treadles so this should be enough.
I was aiming for final ply twist of 8 TPI, so need 16 TPI. That calculates at 27 treadles per 15” plying draft on 17.5:1 whorl (2 treadles per full turn of wheel). That felt over twisted– even 20 treadles felt over twisted and did not ply back nicely.

Ply CCW with burgundy single. 9-10 treadles per plying draft on 17.5:1 whorl. Plying twist doesn’t seem that high but yarn still seems over-twisted and the 2-ply seems untwisted in areas.

Defining a crepe yarn (from KnittySpin, by Jillian Moreno: http://knitty.com/ISSUEss16/KSFEATss16KS.php):

A basic crepe yarn is a 3-ply yarn made with a 2-ply and a singles. The 2-ply is spun Z in the singles and over plied S. The single is spun S with enough twist to make a regular balanced ply and plied Z with the original 2-ply. The yarn looks bubbly when it’s finished. The single traps the 2-ply which pushes out between the singles as it untwists and expands on its second ply.

  • Need to remember that my numbers from that article were for traditional 3- and 2-ply yarns
  • Based on looking at the yarn, I’m wondering if the singles were plied the same direction they were spun – the singles look to be sitting next to one another or it’s under-plied and needs way more ply twist
  • Hard to ply Z when not used to putting so much twist into our plying – the second step makes or breaks the yarn so we need to be sure we are really putting enough ply twist into the second step!


  • April – sponsored by Westcoast Colour (Lynn)
    1. Discuss your favourite patterns for handspun in the episode thread here.
    2. Prairiebirdfire (Sherri) – post no. 48 (blues & greens)
    3. 2nd braid of fibre – purples (Episode 117): tomatl (Kelly) – post no. 8
  • 51 Yarns SAL – working through true worsted & woollen yarns at the moment. Monthly teaching Vlog goes through my experiments for the month & Thoughtful Spinner chronicles my breed choices and yarns.
  • Support the Show for small business owners – information on the blog and/or email me directly for more
  • Newsletter for Wool n’ Spinning
    1. Helps to let everyone know about upcoming dates for the community all in one space
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    3. Published once per month

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