Skein #40: Spinner's Choice, Demonstrating an Understanding of Plying

135 m 28 g 4800 m/kg
12 w/cm 30 w/in
Size Determination: Medium

Romney fleece

Reason for choice of this sample:
This yarn requires a fiber strong enough to withstand the weaving process and still spin a fine yarn. This fleece has a long staple length and sound fiber.

Spring Hill Farm — Port Ludlow, Washington.

Preparation for spinning
Scoured, sorted for length and color and combed.

Equipment Used
Two row wool combs, flyer spinning wheel

Type of spinning
Short forward draft

Direction of Twist

Number of plies

Washed and blocked

Suggested uses
This yarn is designed for Andean style weaving, the high twist makes a warp yarn that can withstand the Peruvian backstrap loom. It can also be used for other warp-faced high tension techniques such as tablet weaving. Traditional Andean ponchos and bags commonly survive decades of everyday use.


Maximum 54 points

Examiner 1: 54
Examiner 2: 44

Here it is, at the very end. This one is my "protest" yarn. It is a dead-on duplication of Andean weaving yarn and comes with the Peruvian Seal of Approval from somebody who knows. Yes, it's overtwisted in the ply. That's the idea. I even twisted it a second time because I didn't get enough on the first go. As a warp on the backstrap loom, it doesn't break or snag in the heddles and stretches to handle less-than-perfect tension. The finished fabric wears forever. It is exactly made for the intended purpose. But how do you reconcile a living textile tradition with an arbitrary requirement for balanced plying? I think that knowing when and how and why to make a balanced yarn and, more importantly, why not, is clearly "demonstrating an understanding of plying."

From the comments and scores, I assume that Examiner 1 is familiar with Andean weaving. "I'm glad you chose this for the swatch." There really wasn't much of a choice, if I was going to use this yarn at all. Examiner 2 notes "If the final twist needs to be as hard twist as indicated then there must be enough twist in the single to support the hard twist in the plied yarn." That's only if you want a balanced yarn, which has nothing to do with whether or not it is a functional yarn. My Peruvian friend considers the COE to be excessively eurocentric, I'm convinced this requirement is a big part of it.